Student Travel Groups Find American History in Wilmington, Delaware
Wilmington is a great destination for your next student trip; whether your crew consists of history buffs or nature enthusiasts, there is something for everyone in this quaint Delaware town. Greater Wilmington, paired with the local Brandywine region, offers a variety of student travel attractions, from historic homes and lush gardens to renowned museums and spacious parks..
Student Travel Attractions in Greater Wilmington and Brandywine
As the location of the first log cabins ever built in this country, Wilmington has made a name for itself as a prominent historical spot. Steeped in tradition and age-old architecture, Wilmington and the Brandywine region date back to the earliest settlers.
To start off your student trip in Wilmington, visit the Old Swedes Church and the Hendrickson House. Built in 1698 by the children of the Swedish Lutherans who first settled in Wilmington, Old Swedes Church is the nation’s oldest church building still standing and in regular use for worship. The Hendrickson House, which sits on the Church property, is a Swedish stone farmhouse with a visitor center and museum. The historic facility offers school tour groups a chance to experience what life was like back in the 17th and 18th centuries. Themed student tours cover everything from the settlers’ religion and daily practices to famous figures and where they are buried. Afterwards, make your way over to the Kalmar Nyckel, a replica of the tall ship that brought the Swedes over to Wilmington in 1638. Student travelers can hop aboard and prepare for an exciting excursion up and down the coast—but only during the summer months.
Important artifacts that reveal the city’s past can be found in its many famous museums. Student tour groups can venture through the Hagley Museum and Library, where the history of American enterprise is preserved. It was in this house that the du Pont family started their gun powder mill, which evolved into a major corporation. Hagley’s educational student tours and programs focus on economics, history and science. Pre- and post-visit materials are available for some programs. The Delaware Museum of Natural History houses dynamic exhibits that range from a dinosaur gallery and animal adaptations to outdoor nature trails and the theories of Darwin. The museum offers special tours that cater specifically to student tour groups based on grade level and curriculum.
The Delaware History Museum hosts permanent interactive exhibits that focus on the state’s past. One of the most popular school field trips is “Pirates!,” a themed tour that focuses on the swashbucklers of Delaware. For something aesthetically pleasing, make your way over to the Delaware Art Museum, which is praised for its collection of British Pre-Raphaelite art, illustrations by Wilmington native Howard Pyle and John Sloan’s urban landscapes. Student travelers can get a guided tour.
Wilmington is surrounded by a majestic natural environment, and student travelers should revel in the chance to explore it. The DuPont Environmental Education Center, a four-story nature center where the city, river and marsh all meet, offers hands-on programs for student field trips. It also features a boardwalk and botanic garden located in a stunning 212-acre urban wildlife refuge. The Delaware Nature Society also schedules student field trips to nature centers around Wilmington.
Outside of the city, the Brandywine region summons visitors to the banks of the river and edge of the forests. While the Brandywine River Museum is famous for its indoor galleries of art, the surrounding gardens deserve just as much attention with the wildflowers that bathe the grounds in bright colors. Student tour groups can wander down the hallways viewing gorgeous pastel landscapes, or sit in the garden and enjoy a quick afternoon lunch. True beauty can be found at Longwood Gardens, a 1,050-acre stretch of woodlands, gardens, conservatories and fountains. Student tour groups can test out their green thumbs by participating in home gardening lectures and gardener demonstrations.
Fort Delaware, located on Pea Patch Island, was a used as a prison to hold Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. The fort now serves as a living history museum, where student tours may get the chance to see a cannon fired or costumed actors interpreting the lives of soldiers.
Student Sightseeing Tours in Wilmington
Riverfront Wilmington River Taxis shuttle student tour groups up and down the Christina River, letting them view all the restaurants, shops and houses that make up the city’s modern waterfront neighborhood.
Wilmington’s Riverboat Queen carries up to 100 people on its private and public events. The paddlewheel boat features dinner cruises, parties and general sightseeing tours through the waters of Wilmington.
Cornucopia Tours, Inc., offers personalized student tours of Wilmington, where you can pick and choose what sites you want to visit based on your own educational itinerary.
Student Performance Venues in Wilmington
If your student travel group is set to put on a show, Wilmington has some great performance venues. The Riverfront is an especially popular location for student travel groups to perform. The Hare Pavilion holds daily performances during lunch, and your group can be part of the act, playing for locals and tourists.
The local park district has many facilities available for student performance groups to rent. Banning Park and Becks Pond both offer pavilions and gazebos that your group can reserve.
Student Dining in Wilmington
With a rich Swedish and Dutch heritage, Wilmington has many restaurants that serve up delicious dishes that capture the essence of these mother countries as well as the diversity and class of the Brandywine region. Try the student-friendly Chelsea Tavern, a cozy pub that serves burgers, sandwiches and salads.
If your student travel group would prefer an ocean setting, hit Big Fish Grill on the Waterfront, serving up the freshest seafood dishes around. The atmosphere is welcoming for all group sizes, and the reasonably priced menu makes this an ideal spot for student dining. European influence lives on at Riverfront Market. Housed in a historic building in the Riverfront neighborhood, this marketplace features merchants selling everything from seafood, pastas, pizza to cheese, vegetables, soups, pastries and ice cream.
If your student tour group is pressed for time, then a quick lunch at Leo & Jimmy’s Delicatessen is the solution to ease those grumbling stomachs. This local landmark serves sandwiches piled high with fresh meat and cheese, with scrumptious sides of fries.
Student Accommodations in Wilmington
Wilmington has over 6,000 hotel rooms, which means there is plenty of space to house your student tour group. Courtyard by Marriot in downtown is a reasonably priced hotel with a prime location within walking distance of many attractions. However, many hotels downtown and on the Riverfront tend to run a high price tag, so it’s smart to look at accommodations in surrounding neighborhoods and counties. The AmericInn in Bear, Delaware, offers special student travel group rates and lets you block out as many rooms as you need. They offer large suites that sleep up to five people and provide a complimentary hot breakfast.
While it may seem tempting to visit the larger cities a few hours away, you should take a chance on Wilmington and Brandywine County. This small area is surprisingly—and delightfully—packed with tons of activities and attractions perfect for an educational student trip. So venture to Delaware and bask in the culturally rich environment of Wilmington.