The first time I visited Boston, I was fresh out of college and working for a non-profit. I directed a program in conjunction with public school librarians and had the opportunity to travel with them throughout the country. I distinctly remember leading the way through the Boston Public Gardens as a naïve, bright-eyed 22-year old, with 14 librarians trailing behind me. It was oddly representative of the “Make Way for Ducklings” story by Robert McCloskey, with a quirky twist of characters. Even now I vividly remember marching past the bronze duckling statues and trying not to snicker at the irony of it all!
I fell in love with this charming city (even in the middle of the “Big Dig”) and have returned many times over the years. It is a spectacular choice for student travelers and librarians alike, always evolving and always exciting. If you travel with students and are looking for a fresh destination, consider Boston as a unique alternative.
Boston is a stunning city in which the past co-exists beautifully with the present. Rich in history, student groups can walk the Freedom Trail and experience the genesis of the American Revolution. They can stand in the hallowed space of Faneuil Hall and imagine the inspirational oratory of our forefathers. They can browse the market place, explore the shops, or sample of traditional New England “chow-dah.”
The USS Constitution is out of dry dock and ready for visitors after a 2 year, meticulous conservation effort. Students can learn about the Constitution and the War of 1812 through narratives, hands-on experiences and self-guided or facilitated programs. The beauty of this attraction is that the education department will work with your group to meet your curricular needs.
Boston Harbor Cruises offers an incredible historical tour of the inner and outer harbors, highlighting tales of land and sea both past and present. Students will also get a crash course in ecology, focusing on the cleanup of the harbor and learn about the nation’s oldest, continuously manned lighthouse. Very cool!
While your group is hanging around the harbor, they can stop by the New England Aquarium to check out a four-story Caribbean coral reef, the Amazon rainforest, or an adorable colony of Penguins. Follow your indoor adventures with an outdoor ride on a wicked fast catamaran. This sleek, high speed vessel (seating up to 400) will quickly take you to the whale-watching action- an experience not to be missed!
Moving from water to land (and back to water!) is the famous Boston Duck Tours. You’ll hop aboard an amphibious landing vehicle and travel through the streets of Boston right into the Charles River for the best and most unique views of the city. The ConDUCKtors narrate with both wit and skill, highlighting the very best Boston has to offer.
Wide eyes, blue bodies, paint and percussion… your students will LOVE a performance by the Blue Man Group! The silent humor is infectious, the drumming loud and the toilet paper abundant; a perfect recipe for entertaining teenagers. Even those quiet-loving librarians were hooked on the controlled chaos of the show!
Younger students or homeschool groups will appreciate a trip to LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Boston, the ultimate indoor Lego® playground. Build, play and engage in STEM or Language Arts activities with those wonderful brightly colored building blocks! There’s so much to explore and enjoy!
Don’t forget that just a quick drive south is Plimouth Plantation, a completely interactive living history museum detailing America’s founding story and its shared history with the Wampanoag people. It’s an amazing journey through time as students chat with Pilgrims going about their daily business or participate in Wampanoag life in the Native American village.
We’ve just scratched the surface on what Boston offers students- they can tour Harvard, go behind the scenes of Fenway Park, board the Boston Tea Party ships, get lost in the Mapparium, or check out the new Dreamland Wax Museum. Of course, there are tons of great choices for student accommodations, transportation and dining as well.
If you plan your own trips, check out Group Travel Odyssey’s Boston page for everything you need to plan your student group’s trip in one convenient place. It really streamlines the process and saves time! If you prefer a full-service travel planner, Kaleidoscope Adventures is an industry leader in student travel and will handle all the details of your trip with precision and personal attention.
Every time I visit Boston, I think I’ve finally done it all, and every time, Boston surprises me with something new. That’s why Boston is one of the hottest destination trends for student groups and librarians alike. Oh, and when you do visit, check out those bronze ducklings in the Public Gardens and think of my friends trailing behind their 22 year-old “leader”- I guarantee you’ll giggle just a little!