If you only paid attention to TV shows and movies, it would be easy to believe that a trip to New York only involves the Empire State Building, Times Square, the Statue of Liberty and few a good bagels. There’s no denying that your students will enjoy the state’s big-name attractions, but a real trip to New York wouldn’t be complete without adding a few other stops to your itinerary.
Get to Know the Big Apple
Take your students on an interactive tour of New York City’s historic Tenement Neighborhood and learn how cultural growth and discrimination went hand-in-hand for the impoverished minorities who lived there. Step back in time with a knowledgeable tour guide and embark on adventures like “Meet the Residents” and “Foods of the Lower East Side.” Afterwards, swing by the Tenement Museum and further your understanding of what it was like to be an American immigrant.
Located in the heart of Manhattan’s Museum Mile, the Jewish Museum celebrates the art and culture that the Jews have brought to New York and the rest of the world. Utilizing two floors and over 800 works of art, the museum’s permanent exhibit covers 4,000 years of Jewish history and explores how Judaism continues to thrive. Upcoming exhibits include an exploration of Orthodox Judaism, the life of designer Isaac Mizrahi and the photography of Alfred Stieglitz.
No trip to the Big Apple is complete without pausing to pay your respects at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Organized into three separate parts, the museum explores the attack itself, the effect it had on the world and the events leading up to this dark day in American history. The memorial tastefully honors the men, women and children who lost their lives 14 years ago and resonates with visitors of all ages.
Lose yourself in the hallowed halls of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the world’s most frequented museums. Your students will discover art like never before as they marvel over the Egyptian Temple of Dendur or take in the grandeur of Leutze’s wall-to-wall Washington Crossing the Delaware. In addition to classic paintings and sculpture, the Met is also home to costumes, instruments, accessories and weapons, and can entertain even the most diverse groups.
New York City Takes the Stage
Catch a concert or show at the newly renovated King’s Theatre and enjoy a venue that has attracted crowds since the 1920s. The theater’s vintage décor will gently pull your students back in time, while its state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems will allow them to experience shows and concerts like never before. Upcoming performers include famous groups like Of Monsters and Men, renowned speakers such as Neil deGrasse Tyson and beloved musicals like Annie.
Put on your tights, lace up your pointe shoes and discover what life is like behind the curtains for the world-renowned dancers of the New York City Ballet. You and your students can sit down with some of the company’s top-tier artists and learn about what it takes to be successful in the world of professional arts, or you can hone your skills in a workshop that caters to performing groups of all kinds.
Visiting around Christmas? Watch the Radio City Rockettes light up the stage in their famous Christmas Spectacular, or have your students take the stage themselves to perform a short number before the performance begins. If you’re chaperoning a dance team or theater group, take advantage of the Rockettes Experience and learn show choreography from two Rockettes before taking part in a mock audition. The Rockettes also have springtime shows and offer tours of Radio City Music Hall.
Carnegie Hall has inspired some of the world’s greatest artists for over a century, and is sure to capture your students’ attention whether they’re musically inclined or not. Before you sit down to enjoy a show, visit the Rose Museum and see an exhibit that guides visitors through the Hall’s impressive history. Afterwards, be blown away by the musical prowess of groups like the New York Philharmonic.
Wander at Will
Discover the other side of the New York art scene on a Hush Hip Hop Tour of Manhattan, Harlem or the Bronx. Embark on “The Writing’s on the Wall” and get to know the rebellious artists who add color to urban New York. Try the “Dancer’s Delight” tour and discuss the origins of hip hop and what it’s like to perform on the streets for a living. Both tours offer the opportunity to see art being created live.
Pierogi. Banh mi. Bonbons. Cheese. Set out on a delicious two-hour journey with City Food Tours Manhattan and discover how these foods add flavor to the New York dining scene. Perfect for accommodating large student groups, City Food Tours offers three tantalizing adventures: “Flavors of NY in the East Village”, “Eat a Bite of Ethnic NY” and “Lower East Side Artisan Food.” Regardless of which tour you choose, your students are guaranteed to leave with full bellies.
One with Nature
If you’re looking to escape the city, head to Niagara Falls and explore the caves, falls and towers that form New York’s most famous natural phenomenon. Board the Maid of the Mist and sail into the foaming waters of Horseshoe Falls, or venture to Cave of the Winds and explore the Hurricane Deck. Students will love shooting up the 230-foot Observation Tower to see the sights from above and dining at Top of the Falls Restaurant.
No matter if your students are angling experts or novices, scheduling an educational charter trip in Oswego County is great way to give your group a hands-on experience that covers fishing basics, area history and wildlife facts. Continue your journey on the water at the Oswego Canal, an important stop on the Underground Railroad, or return to dry land and visit Fort Ontario, which served as a refuge for Holocaust survivors.
From the magnificent peaks of Silver Lake Mountain to the scenic vistas and tumbling falls of Ausable Chasm, the Adirondack Coast gives you the opportunity to explore the great outdoors on foot, by kayaks, in cable traverses and more. Lounge on the shores of Lake Champlain or the beaches of Plattsburgh City and be sure to stop by Fort Ticonderoga to see where America’s early wars were fought.
Climb aboard an Uncle Sam Tour Boat and enjoy local trivia and a narrated cruise along the St. Lawrence River as you make your way to Heart Island’s Boldt Castle, a beautiful home built in 1900 as a gift from George Boldt to his wife, Louise. You and your students can make your way through gardens of stunning annual flowers, tour the 120-room castle and enjoy views of the St. Lawrence Seaway.
Thanks to its impressive diversity, New York is the perfect destination for groups of all kinds. Whether your students want to be amazed by the power and beauty of thundering waterfalls, wowed by some of the world’s best performing artists or taken back in time with the help of renowned museums, the Empire State is guaranteed to give everyone the adventure of a lifetime.