Boston Class Trips: Daytime Activities for Mixed Age Groups

When you are in the mood to take a class trip with the kids, why not consider leaving your school and heading to Boston? There are enough activities there to keep the class busy for at least eight hours or more. Here’s a peek at some of the ones other group travel tours enjoy:

Boston Children’s Museum

 

If you are looking for an inexpensive and educational activity, consider heading to the Boston Children’s Museum on a Friday night. That’s when they let people pay $1 each to get into the museum as opposed to the normal $14 fee. The list of not-to-miss exhibits includes the Construction Zone, Art Studio, Investigate, New Balance Climb and Countdown to Kindergarten.

Boston Common Frog Pond

On those days when the kids want to spend most of their time outdoors, try the Boston Common Frog Pond. It has a large scale spray pond that has features similar to the ones found in many major cities and a kiddie carousel. Plus, there are free yoga classes and a café onsite too. To get there, just hop onto the MBTA and take it to Park Street or Downtown Crossing.

Boston Harbor Islands

Feel like island hopping instead? You and your students could always take the MBTA to the Long Wharf North and grab the ferry. It will take you Boston Harbor Islands, where the kids can hike, enjoy the beach, fish, stamp box or try their hand at being junior rangers. Sometimes there are special events taking place at some of the islands as well.

Boston Public Gardens

Lastly, your group may adore visiting the Boston Public Gardens. In addition to all of the plant life, its home to several sculptures and the famous swan boat rides. A few of the sculptures that the kids may love to look at are the Ducklings and the Japanese Lantern.

To learn more about planning your school’s next Boston class trip, please contact us at Peak Performance Tours.

Washington DC Class Trips- Museums

Fossilized remains at the Smithsonian Institute, Washington DCThe nation’s capital can be a great place to visit and makes for a fun and educational class trip. There is a wide variety of museums on just about any subject you want your students to learn. Read below for a sampling of the museums that D.C. has to offer.

Smithsonian Institute

One of the most popular D.C. museums is the Smithsonian. It was founded in 1846 is the world’s largest museum and research institute. There are plenty of exhibitions and events for groups of any age. Admission to most of Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo is free, 7 days a week. In the D.C. area, the Smithsonian boasts an Air and Space Museum, African American History and Culture Museum, National History Museum, American Art Museum, American Indian Museum, Postal Museum, a Sculpture Garden and more!

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

If you want your group to learn a powerful lesson, this may be the place. There are many classes that teach about the Holocaust and this is a trip they will not forget. The museum’s collection of Holocaust-related material is among the largest and most comprehensive in the world, with videos, film, artifacts, oral histories and more.

National Aquarium

The National Aquarium in D.C., Baltimore was the nation’s first aquarium. It is a nonprofit organization with a mission to “inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures”. They have a wide variety of exhibits such as an Amazon River Forest, an Atlantic Coral Reef, a Tropical Rainforest and much more.

Historical Society of Washington, DC

At the Historical Society of Washington, DC, your group will learn about the city’s fascinating history. The museum features a variety of rotating exhibits as well as a permanent exhibit called the Window to Washington, which features facts, figures and historical items that tell the story of the city’s history and its role as the nation’s capital.

International Spy Museum

If your class is interested in covert operations and international espionage, do not miss the International Spy Museum. This museum features the largest collection of international espionage artifacts ever displayed publicly. Your students will have the opportunity to adopt a cover identity which adds a layer of fun to a very educational experience.
If you are planning a D.C. trip and want an experience that your group will remember, contact us.

Seven Things You Should Know About Disney World Trips

It's a Small World ride at Walt Disney World Walt Disney World is one of the most popular vacation spots in the country. It has plenty to offer the whole family – children and adults.  To make your trip enjoyable for everyone, there are some things to keep in mind.

#1 Plan ahead

The average American spends 8-10 months planning a vacation. This includes research, planning and booking. By giving yourself plenty of time to shop around and look for good deals, you will almost certainly save money.

#2 Make Dinner Reservations

There is nothing worse after a long day at the park, then arriving at a restaurant only to be met with a long wait. You’re tired, you’re hungry, and the last thing you want to do is stand around in another line! By making a reservation ahead of time, you can make sure to have a table ready, no matter what your group’s size, at your favorite post part restaurant.

#3 Bring Food

While you are not permitted to bring outside food into the park, there is a picnic area just outside the main entrance. To avoid spending a fortune on food and waiting in another long line, bring a cooler and pack a lunch. There are lockers at the picnic area in which you can store your cooler until lunch time.

#4 Be Patient

A trip to Disney requires a good deal of patience.  Most likely, you will wait for your transportation to and from the park, you will wait in line for the rides, the restroom, the snack stands, etc.  Mentally prepare yourself and physically prepare your children.  Carry a Madlibs book in your bag or download a game on your phones.  Find ways to occupy yourself and your children while waiting in lines and you may just avoid a meltdown.

#5 Be Prepared

Make sure everyone has comfortable, broken-in shoes, as most people will walk miles in the parks. Nothing will ruin your day faster than painful shoes.

Most of the time, Florida is sunny. Bring sunscreen, sunglasses and hats. A sunburn is not only dangerous but will ruin your trip fast. Remember to reapply often.

#6 Have a Plan

Disney is huge and there is too much to accomplish in one day. Make a list of the things you do not want to miss, in order of their importance.  Keep their location in mind, as well, to avoid wasting time walking back and forth.

#7 Make a Budget

Disney can get expensive quick. If you do not pack a lunch for the picnic area, you will be buying food, and you will definitely need to purchase drinks throughout the day. If you are bringing children, they will want almost every souvenir they see.  Before arriving at the park, have in mind a set amount of money that you are willing to spend on souvenirs.  If your children are old enough to understand, explain it to them in the beginning of the day and chances are, they will be choosier about what they ask for.

For more information on Disney, contact us. Have a great trip!

Group Travel Tours: See Kissimmee, Florida, in Comfort

Kissimmee FL FlagThe City of Kissimmee, Florida, is a great place for group travel tour members to visit year round. It has an abundance of water parks, amusement parks, restaurants, resorts and more. With Peak Performance Tours, it’s easy to arrive in absolute comfort.

At Peak Performance Tours, we will arrange air and ground transportation customized to meet your group’s diverse needs. We can arrange events such as an onsite hanger party with gourmet food, beverages, live entertainment and personalized decorations. Afterwards, your group can fly to one of three Kissimmee airports: the Kissimmee Gateway Airport, Orlando Sanford International Airport and the Orlando International Airport.

The Kissimmee Gateway Airport is popular among aviation charter groups because it is just a few miles away from the Orlando-Orange County Convention Center and downtown Orange County.

Many of the area resorts have airport shuttle service and large, onsite water parks. A popular destination is the Flamingo Waterpark Resort. It boasts a 48,000-gallon swimming pool, 186-foot long speed slides, 30-foot tall slide towers, a dedicated children’s play area and a 630-foot long manmade river that’s perfect for floating away the day.

If you are looking for fishing or boating, be sure to visit Lake Tohopekaliga, or Lake Toho, as the locals call it.  It is a 19,000 acre lake and is world renowned for its bass fishing. There are RV resorts and marinas on its shores and it is located just minutes from Disney Theme parks.

The area is also home to top-of-the-line attractions like LEGOLAND Florida, SeaWorld, Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Many of them offer special programs for groups and have something to offer just about everyone.

Amusement and waterparks aren’t the only places where group travel tour members can enjoy a bit of entertainment. There are also unique dinner theaters like the Manor Lane, Capone’s, Medieval Times, Caribbean Rhythms, Pirate’s Dinner Adventure and Mickey’s Backyard BBQ.

With winter daytime temperatures of 70-80 degrees, any time of year is a good time to visit Kissimmee.

To learn more about booking group travel tours to Kissimmee, Florida, please contact us. Our group travel tour agents may be reached by calling (800) 220-0165 or sending us an online request for a quote.

Class Trip to Los Angeles: 5 Great Museum Row Restaurants to Enjoy

If you are planning a class trip to Los Angeles, there is a good chance that your group will want to spend at least some time exploring Museum Row and the Miracle Mile. Of course you’ll also need to eat. So we’ve compiled a list of five great restaurants that are ideal places to enjoy a group meal.

Washington, D.C. 2341.) The Counter Burger (4 LA Locations)

The Counter Burger is one restaurant that welcomes groups of all ages for lunch and dinner. The kids menu features classics like PB&J, mini-cheese burgers, sweet potato fries and grilled cheese. The adult menu has much more than that, including burgers in a bowl. They consist of a salad, burger and side dish.

2.) Baja Fresh (5 LA Locations)

Groups may also find great value and phenomenal food at Baja Fresh. It’s a Mexican restaurant that also sells party packs. The party packs are excellent for groups that want to eat lunch or dinner at a public picnic area. The packs typically contain tacos, cheese quesadillas, taquitos, burritos, salsas, chips and a choice of salad or rice and beans. Plus, they toss in picnic paper supplies like disposable plates and plastic cutlery.

3.) Du-Par’s at the Farmers Market (4 LA Locations)

Prefer classic Americana diner fare? Then consider adding Du-Par’s Restaurant and Bakery to your Los Angeles class trip’s itinerary. They serve amazing comfort food like chicken strips, homemade onion rings, corned beef hash, eggs over easy, country-fried steak and club sandwiches. The venue is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Catered, take-out and sit-down meal options are available for groups.

4.) Cooks Country Restaurant (Beverly Boulevard)

Another fabulous place to take the class for lunch, brunch or dinner is the Cooks Country Restaurant. They run specials on various days of the week (e.g. fried chicken Mondays) and offer catering services. Some of the dishes that you’ll find are faro sauté, fish sandwiches, black kale salads and strawberry ice cream pie.

5.) Andre’s Italian Restaurant (West 3rd Street)

Finally, groups can’t go wrong with adding an Italian restaurant like Andre’s to their class trip’s itinerary either. They serve all of the traditional fare one would expect to find at an Italian restaurant during lunch and dinner. Among the classics are spaghetti, pizza, cheese ravioli, eggplant rollatini and chicken parmesan.

For more information about elements that would help complete a class trip to Los Angeles, please contact us by calling (800) 220-0165. At Peak Performance Tour, we can make your students’ visit to the City of Angels perfect.

How To Save Money On Your Disney Trips

We all love taking trips.  But we don’t like spending too much money on them.  One of the country’s favorite places to visit is Disney World.  It’s easy to spend a fortune at the mouse’s house.  Here are some ways to save on your Disney Trips.

Check out www.mousesavers.com.

800px-Cinderella_CastleIt’s an entire site dedicated to showing Disney visitors how to save money on their trip.

Plan accordingly for time allotted.

For most people it takes about a day to really enjoy one of the parks.  You may save money by rethinking the “park hopper” option.  Chances are by the time you ride all of the rides at one park you won’t have much time to enjoy another one for the same day.

Carry a water bottle.

There are water fountains everywhere inside the park and it’s free to drink from them.  Sodas and other drinks purchased inside the park will cost you upwards of $5 each.

Check for discounts on tickets.

WDWINFO.COM has a list of the currently available discounts.

Bring your own food.

You are allowed to bring your own food into the park.  You aren’t allowed to bring in coolers, but stuff your sandwiches in an insulated bag and you’re good to go.

Stay at a local hotel and not at one of the park’s resorts.

Several chains offer great deals and often Wyndham offers free tickets and deeply discounted stays just for taking a tour and learning about their ownership program. There’s no commitment and the tours usually last about an hour.

Buy your souvenirs outside of the park.

You can usually find the exact same spray fans, tee shirts and toys at Walmart near Disney for a drastically lower price than what you’ll pay inside the park.

Purchase Disney gift cards ahead of time when there’s a special.

A lot of places like Kroger offer special discounts or promotions when you purchase other retailer gift cards from them.  Or you can get 5% off if you purchase them at Target with a Target Red Card.  You will also find special offers and discounts on Mousesavers.com.

Some affordable or free activities at Disney

Play miniature golf.

Miniature golf is a fun and inexpensive activity. The Fantasia Gardens (near Hollywood Studios) and Winter Summerland (near Blizzard Beach Water Park) are local and affordable. They are both $14 for adults and children over 10 years old.

Rent a boat.

There are plenty of resorts that have marinas and boat rentals. A kayak, canoe or pedal boat will cost about $7 for a half hour, and a 12-foot, 2 person sailboat is about $21.30/hr.

Go fishing.

There are two places to rent cane poles with bait. Port Orleans Resort and Ft. Wilderness both rent poles for “catch and release” fishing. Pole rentals come with bait and are very inexpensive.

By planning ahead and looking for special offers and deals, your Disney trip can be affordable while still being full of fun and adventure.

Contact us for more information.

Student travel to Chicago, Illinois: A World of Possibilities

At Peak Performance Tours, we’ve been arranging student travel programs that include Chicago hot spots for years. We can therefore say with certainty that it is one group travel destination that has a lot of diverse activities on offer. To get a glimpse of what’s available, you may want to check-out this list of more than 20 different Chi-town tour stops that we’ve used in the past.

Millennium Park:  It’s a sprawling 25-acre area that is situated on East Randolph Street, in between Columbus and Michigan Avenues. Included in the outdoor space are large sculptures, gardens, a theater, pavilion, restaurant and more.They are not the only attractions that Chicago has going for it either. So today, we wanted to mention some others. With a rich variety of culture and nature, Chicago has something for any type of student group.

The Art Institute of Chicago: With exceptional exhibitions year round, The Art Institute of Chicago is an ideal destination for any student group, whether on an educational or inspirational trip.

Bird Sanctuaries: Despite being a major metropolitan area, Chicago has a surprising number of bird sanctuaries. Three venues of note are the Bill Jarvis Migratory Bird Sanctuary, Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary and the McComick Bird Sanctuary. Each one offers students a chance to learn about, photograph and sketch Illinois’ diverse flora and fauna.

Museum of Contemporary Art: This is a perfect trip for a student group of artists or musicians.  With a diverse collection ranging from music to performance art to sculpture, there is something for any group looking for new and interesting experience.

Brookfield Zoo: If your group is looking for a fun and educational outing, try the Brookfield Zoo. They have a “Seven Seas” exhibit with an underwater view of the Bottlenose dolphin, a “Fragile Rainforest” exhibit which includes an African Giant Millipede and much, much more.

The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum: This is another museum that would make a fun and educational trip. It’s also perfect for younger groups, as there is plenty for children do. Take a walk on the Nature Trail or visit the butterfly greenhouse.

Theater District:  Student travel groups may want to visit the city’s theater district. Some of the venues, like the Chicago Theatre, allow groups to rent space and enjoy guided tours. The list of additional venues that offer workshops and other services to student groups includes the Court Theatre, the Victory Gardens Theater and The School at Porchlight.

To learn more about these Chicago tour stops and discover others of note, please contact us at (800) 220-0165. Our student tour planners would love to chat. When you have time, you may also want to watch one of our informative webinars. They spotlight a variety of different Student travel destinations and change often.

Caribbean Group Travel Tour & Adventure Vacation

Mountain biking has become a popular feature of a group trip to Costa Ricaaccording to a recent article in the Costa Rica News. It is a wonderful way to experience rural Costa Rica on and off the beaten paths and in an environmentally friendly way as part of a group travel tour. Most mountain biking excursions can range from three hours to two weeks, depending on factors like skill level, travel budget, and the time allotted.

Arenal Volcano The area around the Arenal Volcano is a favorite venue for a mountain bike excursion. Trips, ranging from a seven day journey to a more strenuous, uphill 12 hour trip, features rain forests, waterfalls, wildlife and, of course, the smoldering volcano. The week long trek ends with a relaxing dip in some thermal pools fed by the volcano.

Nicoya Peninsula Another popular trip is the 9 day Nicoya Peninsula excursion. This package starts with whitewater rafting on the Pacuare River, a hike at the Arenal Volcano, and then kayaking on Lake Arenal. The mountain biking portion concludes the trip with a journey to the beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula.

Irazu Volcano If you are looking for a trip through a more populated region try mountain biking in the shadow of the Irazu Volcano. This is a 22 kilometer journey, beginning at the top of the volcano, which passes by coffee plantations and cattle ranches and ends at the city of Turrialba. There is also a 32 kilometer trip available that passes by the National Monument of Guayabo and ends at the central park of Turrialba.

There are also day trips through some of the coffee plantations and a coast to coast trek for the more physically fit and adventurous.

Turrialba This is considered one of the country’s best areas for mountain biking. From the city of Turrialba one can ride on a route that passes by a number of archeological sites as well as some wilderness pools for a refreshing swim break. The route reaches the Caribbean in about 16 hours.

Poas Volcano National Park Finally, a mountain bike trip in and around the Poas Volcano National Park. The route starts in the parking lot, to the town of Poasito, then to the town of Sabana Redonda. After a brief rest there, one visits the La Hilda coffee farms. The trek continues past the Poas River and ends at the Doka Estate farm.

No matter which trip you choose, you are sure to experience the natural beauty of Costa Rica.

For more information contact us.

 

Give a Magical Performance at Disney Performing Arts

Ask the next guy you meet on the street where to find the best performance opportunities for young people, and it’s unlikely that Disneyland and Walt Disney World will be at the top of the list. Take another look—If you’re a teacher or parent and aren’t familiar with Disney’s programs in instrumental music, vocal music, dance, and theatre, you’re missing something spectacular. Traveling to Disney Performing Arts competitions, festivals, and workshops can be a memorable and educational experience for students, both on and off the stage.

The Stage: Inspiring Excellence. You and your group will have the chance to watch performances by (and perhaps even compete against) ensembles from around the country. Even if you’re not participating in a competition, you’ll receive constructive comments on the performance to help you in your teaching. In addition to these opportunities to perform, Disney also offers workshops taught by professionals in the arts and infused with fresh ideas to inspire your students to excel.

The Parks: An Educational Exploration. Today’s Disney parks are about far more than talking mice and charming princes: take, for example Disney World’s Epcot Center, where attractions focus on geography, history, science and technology. Students will be thrilled by the freedom to explore with their classmates, and parents can rest assured that they’re doing so within a safe and educational setting.

For help in planning your group’s Disney performance adventure, contact us. We’ll figure out the logistics of your travel experience, allowing you to focus on what’s most important: your students!

Baltimore – A Perfect Day Performance Tour…

Traveling with Peak Performance offers the added support of an on-site Tour Escort! The following is written by one of the fabulous Tour Escorts after a Performance Tour to Baltimore!

Assuming, of course, that you live within 3 hours of Baltimore!  But let’s roll with that assumption and embrace all that Baltimore has to offer.  Picture a perfect spring morning – clear skies, bright sunshine – the beginning to a warm and breezy day.  Now think about starting that day at Ft McHenry.  Taking a trip back in time to the War of 1812 and the battle that would rage through the night inspiring Francis Scott Key to pen The Star Spangled Banner.  On a morning like this, it’s hard to imagine the conditions the soldiers had to endure, but it is easy to let your imagination take over as a Park Ranger explains the events that took place here and then to explore the nooks and crannies of this fort with your classmates that yield some interesting discoveries. Not the least among them being, if you stand straight up in the storage spaces you will bang your head!

From there it is just a 15 minute drive to Inner Harbor and one of my favorite outdoor performance venues.  Lunch time concerts here always draw and audience, especially on a day like this one.  These young people got themselves unpacked, set up and ready to share their joy in performing with passers-by and as a result many of those people became seated audience members.  Always fun to witness!  After the concert, a well deserved break – lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe!  Everyone always seems hungrier after they have finished performing – maybe it’s the adrenaline.

After a yummy lunch and relaxation it’s over to the National Aquarium for a few hours of communing with the sea creatures!  This aquarium has so many different things to see and do, the kids are never at a loss for how to fill their time. Then it’s back on the bus and head for home.  Short and sweet, but oh so affordable and a perfect combo of education, performance and fun all in one day!