I was lucky enough to be in Washington, D.C. three times this travel season, so I am going to write about my experiences in one blog. The greatest thing about Washiongton, D.C. is that students can get the opportunity to see the places where their government is housed, see amazing museums and hear fantastic music all at a reasonable cost. Two of my groups were music tours who had the opportunity to play at the Navy Memorial on Pennsylvania Ave. This setting is so beautiful and there are always a lot of people around, so they have a nice audience. One of my groups was actually setting up to play at the same time the building was going to be having a fire drill. You might think that would be a problem, but actually the alarm cannot be heard outside the building and we ended up with a huge audience as all the workers form the entire building had to come out. They all agreed it was the best fire drill they have ever had!
Each group, of course, had time to spend at the Smithsonians. It is always nice that the kids can choose the museum(s) that speaks to them the most and then when we regroup they all share their experiences with each other. One of my educational tours took particular interest in both of the sculpture gardens on the Mall. I, personally, love the big typewriter eraser sculpture and wonder how long it will be until no one knows what that thing is. I laugh when the kids say things like- “Oh, yeah, my grandmom has a typewriter, those things are cool…”
Some of my groups took a guided monument tour, I always enjoy these because even though many of the students have seen these monuments before they rarely know the stories behind them. It is nice for them to look at each monument with “new eyes”. We all enjoyed the new Martin Luther King Jr. monument. It is so impressive and the setting across the tidal basin from the Jefferson monument is very effective. We also spent some time at the zoo this year with groups. I just love this zoo, it is laid out in such an interesting manner, and will be even more exciting when the complete the current renovations. The Pandas are a great hit, and certainly did not disappoint on either of my visits this year.
We were able to attend concerts at the Kennedy Center, hearing both the National Symphony and chamber groups. Every concert was top notch and I repeatedly heard students say to their teachers things along the lines of - wow that makes me want to go home and practice! My groups had the opportunity to have wonderful clinics with outstanding musicians - always one of my favorite parts of any trip. To see the kids open their minds, ears and eyes to experiencing the music in a new fashion is exciting. And then there is the other side of that coin, where the clinician validates everything the director had been telling the kids all year by reiterating many of the same points.
I always enjoy my time in DC and this year was lucky to have three great schools choose that as their destination! This has been a busy travel season for me, and I take home a lot of wonderful memories of amazing students making amazing music!
I left the impossibly humid and hot east coast for a dance tour in LA! It was 98 at home and 70 when I arrived - clearly this was going to be a great trip! I was excited to meet a new client, a dance company from San Jose. They turned out to be the greatest group of girls and parents. Everyone was pleasant, excited for the trip and ready to work hard!
Day 1 they arrived at Grauman’s Chinese Theater for a quick lunch and some time checking out the Hollywood Walk of Fame and all those hand and feet prints at Grauman’s. No matter how many times I go there, I always find something new to check out. From there it was off to the Debbie Allen Dance Studio for two private ballet workshops. The prestige of this school was not lost on these girls and they really enjoyed every moment of it! We checked into our hotel in Woodland Hills and then headed to dinner at Buca di Beppo at Universal City Walk. That place was hopping! So after dinner we had a great time shopping and people watching!
Day 2 started with some nice downtime in the morning relaxing at the pool before heading to Millennium Dance Studio - where Britany Spears trained for many years! The girls started in an open hip hop class - where not only did they learn a routine, but they found themselves dancing alongside up and coming professionals. They did great work and learned so much! From there they moved into two separate private jazz class workshops - geared for their different experience levels. Those girls worked as hard as any dancers I have seen! After three hours of work it was time for some PLAY - so off to the Santa Monica Pier we went. It was beautiful day to be on the beach and get in that wonderfully warm water! Then we ate at Bubba Gumps and rode some rides and did some shopping before heading back to get some sleep! A perfect way to spend an evening in Southern California!
Day 3 was another beautiful day and after breakfast it was off to Edge Performing Arts Studio. This is one happening place, the number of top notch instructors and dancers that pass through here on a given day is really staggering. The girls started their day with a private Contemporary Jazz workshop with an outstanding instructor. They created a lovely routine and were so energized when they came out 90 minutes later! After a 30 minute break and quick energy snack it was off to Jazz 3 open class for the older girls and Intermediate Ballet for the younger ones. Again they found themselves in classes with other dancers of amazing levels of dedication and it was an enriching experience and a great way to end their trip! They got themselves all packed up, stopped for a quick lunch and then were on their way home - full of smiles and thoughts about a trip for next year! And I geared up for my red-eye flight home where, fortunately, the heat had broken and it was going to be a lovely summer day!
I recently took a a group of students on an educational tour through Maryland. On the first day, we began in Baltimore with a morning visit to the Fort McHenry National Monument for the students to learn how our National Anthem was written. After the tour guide taught them all about Francis Scott Key, we went over to the Star Spangled Banner Flag House so the students could see where the 30’ X 42’ United States flag was sewn. After that we went to the Inner Harbor to have dinner at Dick’s Last Resort, where the waiters and waitresses ‘act’ rude. So the students got a kick out of that! Then they explored all that the Inner Harbor has to offer before checking into the hotel.
On day two, after breakfast we boarded the coach bus to explore the city. The students saw the painted screens and marble Steps in East Baltimore –a traditional and symbolic icon of the city’s culture. Students enjoyed seeing the stadiums of the Ravens and Orioles. The tour then took a turn for a more educational journey, when we went to the Maryland Science Center to learn about dinosaurs and outer space. From the Science Center we went to the National Aquarium to get a glimpse of sea life and then to the B & O Railroad Museum to learn about American railroading. After museum hopping, the group tour went on a narrated speed boat ride on the Seadog through the Inner Harbor. After a full day, the students enjoyed dinner in Little Italy at a restaurant where the waiters were welcoming and taught them phrases like, “Va Bene,” which means “It’s good!” in Italian. That evening after dinner we took a ghost tour at the Harbor’s new, Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum. The students had an intense round of ghost hunting. I look forward to tomorrow; we are going to Medieval Times!
The third day, we spent the day in Annapolis, first visiting the Maryland State House. Students learned that it is the oldest State House still in legislative use, dating back to 1772. They even visited the home of Samuel Chase, one of the signers of the DeEducational Toursclaration of Independence. Next stop was the Naval Academy, where the students saw the Naval Academy Chapel and the Crypt of John Paul Jones. We also toured Bancroft Hall where the Navy midshipmen live. After we had lunch on the grounds of the Academy at the Dry Dock Restaurant; we cruised the Severn River and got a view of the historic Annapolis Harbor. After the cruise we went to Terrapin Adventures for an outdoor adventure. The students soared through the air on the zip lines and climbed 43 ft. high climbing towers. After the workout we went to Medieval Times for a dinner with no utensils and eating chicken with our hands! During our four course meal we watched a two hour long jousting tournament show that emulated 11thcentury culture.
Day four was bittersweet because it was the last day of the group tour, we incorporated art and sports into the tour and visited cool museums. First stop was the American Visionary Arts Museum, where the students saw cool and quirky collections like the 38 ft. wide bird’s nest. Then we were off to The National Great Blacks in Wax museum, where the students came face to face with influential figures in African American history. Last stop was the Sports Legends Museum in Camden Yards, students learned about the history of sports teams in Maryland and how they have evolved over the years.
In four days we experienced a great deal of history, culture, and fun that Maryland has to offer student travel. For additional information on all there is do in Maryland, click here or call a Peak Performance Tours Peak Pro today for a no-obligation proposal.
Regardless of the season, Gatlinburg affords the opportunity to get adventurous, and it’s that promise of fun and memories which bring Student Tours back to Gatlinburg year after year.
Gatlinburg really is the place to be any season. A stroll through downtown or a mad dash to explore the attractions, shops and other unique activities and with a group of friends is an adventure all young people enjoy. For your Lodging choices……Whether you’re looking for a full-service hotel or condo, a roomy cabin, or a quaint mountain inn, Gatlinburg offers it all.
Student groups will enjoy exploring downtown attractions such as Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies (Educational programs available), the Gatlinburg Sky Lift, Ober Gatlinburg’s Aerial Tramway and Amusement Park, Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre where your groups can participate in workshops on “Improv”, “Clowning Around” or the “History of Theatre” or any of Gatlinburg’s dozens of entertainment options.
All this fun can work up a big appetite! From a steak grilled to perfection, a big stack of pancakes, a cheeseburger and fries, or a big chunk of fudge, there is something to please everyone’s palate and preference.
Gatlinburg is at the gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited National Park in the country, which features more than 800 miles of trails for casual walkers as well as avid hikers to enjoy. The park is home to 66 different species of mammals including the American Black Bear, 240 species of birds, 100 native tree species and 1,600 varieties of flowering plants. The Smoky Mountain Field School and Ranger Led Programs (offered through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park) provide the unique opportunity for a hands-on exploration of the diversity of life within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Through these student educational programs, your students will discover the wonders of the Smokies and learn of ideas to preserve natural and cultural treasures. These programs are available spring, summer and fall.
Along the scenic byways and trails, you never know when you might spot black bears, white-tailed deer, woodchucks, raccoons, turkeys, birds and other animals, and you can take advantage of picnicking near Abrams Falls, a pleasant drive along Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, bicycling around the Cades Cove loop, guided backcountry horseback riding excursions, a short walk on the Gatlinburg Trail to Sugarland Visitor Center. All you have to do is pick the degree of adventure which is right for you.
Whether you are looking for adventure in the great outdoors or some cool fun at our popular attractions….It’s all here in Gatlinburg!
Had a great time visiting the Windy City with my band trip this week. They arrived bright eyed and bushy tailed ready to take in the sights, despite being on the bus overnight! We started at Millenium Park and had perfect spring weather with lots of great photo ops at the “bean” and throughout the park. After a quick lunch near the Willis Tower it was up, up, up to the top! The walk out viewing platform, which is a big plexiglass type cube, was a big hit. The band director even did a head stand in it as the kids cheered her on. It is a funny feeling to step out in that space and be able to look straight down to the street! After a checking in at the hotel and freshening up a bit it was off to dinner. Buca di Beppo is always a nice time with groups - so much to look at and yummy family style food! From there it was off to hear the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, they were as fantastic as expected and the kids really enjoyed the entire concert.
Day two started with breakfast in the hotel and then we headed out to the Museum of Science and Industry. We were there through lunch, and everyone agreed this would be a place they would love to come back to anytime. It is such a big museum, you can never see it all in just one trip. After lunch it was time to head up North for their festival performance. As always, the performance opportunities are the highlight of the trip for me. This particular group is so well prepared and functions as such a strong team, that it was really a pleasure to watch! We were back in to the city for dinner at Rain Forest Cafe and then headed to Blue Man Group at the Briar St Theater. If ever there was a show that band kids will all like, BMG is it! So high energy and all the techno aspects always gets the kids involved and excited!
Day three we started out at the Lincoln Park Zoo where the color guard performed. This is a wonderful city zoo, that has wonderful habitats and a lovely setting. The kids had a great time experiencing the zoo on their own after the performance. From there we headed to Navy Pier for lunch and free time - it was a little windy, but had warmed up nicely so the kids could take in all the Pier has to offer. The festival the band had competed in the day before wrapped up today and the awards dinner and dance were being held out Medieval Times in Schaumburg, IL. We came in and supported our knight, who competed valiantly and then they had a great DJ dance party after the normal festivities were completed. You have never really experienced a dance quite like one held right next to suits of armor and swords! The kids had a lot of fun and got back on the bus excited and exhausted!
Our last day in Chicago started out at the Field Museum of Natural History with a performance by the band. This is a great space, but you have to be very careful about your decibel levels because of the delicate nature of the exhibits. The band did a fabulous job following the conductor and played musically and had a great crowd! After a lunch stop at the Hard Rock Cafe it was time to SHOP! We strolled the Magnificent Mile and shopped till we were ready to drop! Everyone got a bite to eat and then jumped on the buses to head for home! It was a great time in a great city with a great group of kids!
To learn how Peak Performane Tours can create a great trip like the one above for your performance ensemble, contact a PeakPro today!
I was really excited to be heading back to Cleveland for a trip with the Easton Area High School Jazz Band and Orchestra! I love this city, it has so much to offer for student music tours and we were due to have beautiful weather! The group arrived at the hotel for checking in mid afternoon and then we headed out to dinner. They were glad to have had a break from the bus for a couple of hours and the Holiday Inn in Independence has a great pool - so some of them even got a quick dip in before changing for dinner. Buca di Beppo’s family style meal is always a hit and for this group it was a great way to celebrate arriving in Cleveland!
Our second day started out with a fantastic concert by the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra. They play in Severance Hall, which is one of the most beautiful examples of Art Deco architecture you can find. From there we went to celebrate the other great musical experience in Cleveland - the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! Right on the lakefront, and chock full of amazing memorabilia from every era of Rock and Roll. This is a stop that cannot be missed if you find yourself in Cleveland! We left the world of music behind us and headed over to Progressive Field for a Cleveland Indians game - with an all you can eat concession deal for dinner. The game was fun and then there was a terrific fireworks show at the end. It was a great day and we were all ready to head back to the hotel and get some sleep!
Day three was a really busy day for the students. We began with a clinic held at Cleveland State University under the direction of Dr.Kathleen Horvath from Case Western University. She did an outstanding job as did all the members of the Orchestra. From there it was off to the House of Blues for lunch and the jazz band performance. It’s a great experience for the jazz band to play on the House of Blues stage - with professional sound system and technicians to make sure they sound awesome! And the lunch buffet they set out was nothing short of awesome! As soon as the jazz band was done - it was back on the bus and the Orchestra set up to play at the Great Lakes Science Center. No rest for the weary yet - pack everything back up and off we go to the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner. This was the most energetic dinner I have seen in a longtime. After most of the kids were done eating, they broke out into song - and I mean every one of them, at the top of their lungs - and we had a 3 or 4 song concert. Remembering, that this is not the choir, but the orch. and jazz band. It was a lot of fun. Jumped back on the buses and navigate some city traffic just in time to arrive at Come Fly Away at the Palace Theater. This was a great show for this group to see because the “pit orch” is basically a jazz band. It was a great end to a great day!
Our next day we took a break from performances and busy schedules and went out to Cedar Point amusement park. If you like roller coasters, this is the park for you. It is also set out on a small peninsula so the view from the top of the rides is beautiful and you can stroll along the beach or marina. We had perfect weather - not too hot and a nice breeze and the kids enjoyed a much deserved day of fun and frivolity.
The last day in Cleveland had us enjoying our last hotel breakfast, checking out and then heading back to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for one final performance. The jazz band set up and got the museum rocking as they opened for the day. After they were finished it was back on the bus for the trip home. It was a really great trip in a great city with a great group of kids!
Contact a Peak Pro for a free no-obligation proposal to Cleveland today!
Peak Performance Tours plans trips around the world and with travelers now dealing with baggage fees, limited food options on flights and strict airline security requirements, packing properly is more important than ever. Here are just ten suggestions that we’ve learned about and some of these suggestions could be great promotional items to give out prior to or at the program.
#1 - Snacks
Unless you’re flying first class, you can expect marked-up bagged snacks as your food choice on flights that you could buy in the store for a lot less. If you don’t want to pay $3-$5 for a bag of spiced nuts or M&M's, bring your own bagged candy, crackers, health bars, nuts whatever works for you.
#2 - Security Bags, Clothing, and Accessories
If your passport or wallet is stolen while you're overseas, it will not only set your budget back but also impact your trip plans in the time to get it replaced. Always make an extra copy of your passport. Pay attention and always be aware of your surroundings. If you want further back-up protection, you might want to consider purchasing a security bag/wallet or money belt.
# 3 - Compression Sacks
As long as you stay within airlines' bag-weight limits, you can stuff as much as physically possible into your suitcase. However, the more bags you check or the heavier your bag, the higher those fees climb. One simple way to maximize suitcase space is to use travel compression sacks designed to save space by eliminating air surrounding the contents of the bag
#4 - Empty Water Bottle
Avoid the overpriced newsstand bottled water by packing an empty bottle in your suitcase and filling it up after you've gone through security at a water fountain. To save space, opt for a squishy, foldable flask.
#5 - Travel Laundry Detergent
Pack travel laundry detergent and stain remover to use in case of a spill emergency. Something like the Tide Stain Stick which fits in a pocket or purse and, at less than 3.4 ounces, is carry-on compliant. Laundry soap sheets also work and because they’re not liquid, are OK to bring on the plane.
#6 - Duct Tape
Duct tape has myriad practical uses and can be taken on a plane. Use the tape to put things back together if your suitcase gets ripped by baggage handlers, saving you from having to spend money on a new bag during your trip, especially if you’re at a destination with an unfavorable exchange rate. Purchasing a big-ticket item like a new suitcase could really eat up your budget. Good for a quick fix to damaged clothes or shoes too!!
#7 - E-reader
This is not for the book devotee but if you are an avid reader you can cart a virtual library of reading material in luggage without sustaining overweight-bag charges by using an e-reader. Even a single large hardback book is enough to seize some serious suitcase space.
#8 - Sunscreen Stick
If you're traveling to a place where sunscreen is compulsory, like a beach resort in the Caribbean, any sunblock for sale in local shops will be expensive. The 3.4 ounce maximum bottle size that the TSA permits in carry-on luggage most likely won’t be enough for a good week of heavy-duty equatorial sun rays. The wallet-friendly solution is to buy solid sunscreen at a local drugstore.
#9 - Luggage Scale
Overweight-luggage fees are usually as hefty the bags that incur them. Some airlines charge up to $200 for an overweight suitcase. If you’re a heavy-duty shopper, you might want to consider buying a luggage scale to bring with you. Overweight charges can easily be avoided if you pack a luggage scale and weigh your bag before arriving at the airport.
#10-Empty Carry-On Travel Bottle
Travel-size products, although convenient, are very costly, especially if it’s a product you use often. You are better off purchasing your own carry-on travel bottle and filling it with the product of your choice. For example, a travel-size bottle of a leading brand Moisturizing Lotion could cost up to $13 for 1.7 ounces whereas the full-size version might cost $24.50 for 4.2 ounces. That's a price increase of about 30 percent!
Contact a Peak Pro today to start planning your tour.
We would love to hear about any you have to share!!
We just returned from a Rock The Boat Cruises on Carnival Cruise for our band trip and let me tell you about the experience! As a Director, I was very excited to try something so different!!
When we got onboard, the food started! And it never stopped. You could eat all day and it was all included in the price! The dining room was a wonderful experience and the 24 hour pizza and ice cream was a hit with the students! Our cabins were very comfortable and the Cabin Steward took care of anything we needed!
We went to two ports of call. To see the history, culture and lifestyle of how people live in other countries was an educational experience the student travelers will remember for a long time. We visited a local school classroom and also had time to enjoy the blue waters! We did some shopping at a local bazaar where we purchased local handicrafts. The students had time to interact with some of the locals throughout the day.
Our band performance onboard was fantastic! We were in the main showroom lounge! Many people from the ship attended our performance and commented afterwards what a great job we did! After our performance we attended an educational seminar with Carnival staff about life onboard, the behind-the-scenes of ship life and how to find a career with a major cruise line. The students asked a lot of questions and were intrigued by shipboard life!
Swimming, Table Tennis, Karaoke, scavenger hunt, and a Club designed especially for students are just a small sample of the activities onboard the ship. The Youth Programs for all ages are supervised by Camp Carnival Staff and each student group has their own dedicated area on board. So no matter the age, there is something for everyone!
All in all, this was a relaxing way to travel, the students had all the food they could eat included in the price and we got to visit different cultures and countries. We will be taking home a lifetime of memories! And we got plenty of photos to show our family and friends back home.
For more information on a performance cruise for your band, choir, orchestra or dance ensemble, contact Peak Performance Tours.
When most people think of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, they think of fun in the sun, warm beaches, outstanding live entertainment choices, a magnitude of restaurants, shopping galore and of course, golf! What most people don’t often realize is the expansive opportunities available for student travel.
Scores of performance music festivals and competitions, from band and chorus to cheerleading and dance, are held here each year, and it's easy to see why. Gorgeous sandy beaches, exciting amusement parks and awesome theme restaurants make teens clamor to come. And that's just for starters
Many of the live entertainment theaters allow groups to perform either on stage or in the lobby as a pre-show performance. Alabama Theatre, Legends in Concert and The Palace Theater offer backstage educational tours and a chance to meet with some of the cast.
Broadway at the Beach welcomes bands, choirs and dancers to perform in one of many outdoor locations throughout the complex. Also located on site are Ripley’s Aquarium and WonderWorks who offer indoor and outdoor opportunities for band and choral groups to showcase their talents.
It’s easy to see why many competitions and festivals take place in the Myrtle Beach area with all it has to offer, great attractions, scrumptious restaurants, amusement parks and more all waiting to accommodate your groups!
Whatever the age, whatever the talent, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina offers it all!
Visit www.MyrtleBeachGroups.com and view our official student planning guide. Contact Peak Performance Tours fort a tour proposal to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
One of the great west coast destination for student travel is Orange County: the original home of Mickey Mouse, 42 miles of sparkling sand and perpetual sunshine. With an average temperature of 70 degrees year-round, sunglasses and flip-flops are always in season.
In Anaheim and Orange County, activities range from a day at some of the worlds best theme parks or shopping at one of our fashionable malls, to exploring cultural neighborhoods or whale watching off the coast. There are many student friendly activities to fill your days in Anaheim and Orange County with fun and sun.
If you are looking for a day of thrills, head to one of the many theme parks in the Anaheim/OC area. With its five-year renovation coming to completion with the opening of Cars Land this June, Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park have plenty of new excitement to keep your engine running! While at Disneyland have your band, choir, orchestra or dance ensemble perform in the one of the parks or work with a clinician with a Disney workshop. Senior Class Groups can particiate in Disneyland's Grad Nite program.
Need more adrenaline? Knott’s Berry Farm’s newest ride, WindSeeker, takes you more than 300 ft above OC! Or head to SeaWorld San Diego to soar, dive and twist like a ray on Manta, their first multi-media double launch coaster! Universal Studios Hollywood takes thrill-seekers on Transformers™: The Ride 3D, an immersive, next generation thrill ride that blurs the line between fiction and reality. Both Knott's Berry Farms and Universal Studios Hollywood cater to student performing groups, as well as Senior Class Trip events.
Want to sink your toes in the sand or try to catch a wave? OC’s beaches are the perfect spot to spend a day. Take surfing lessons in Huntington Beach a.k.a. Surf City USA, kayak in the Newport Harbor, stand-up paddleboard in Dana Point or just take it all in from the warm sand.
If you love to shop, you’ve come to the right place. Whatever your budget, Anaheim/OC has the perfect spot for you. Right down the street from the Anaheim Resort is OC’s only outlet shopping center, the Outlets at Orange, featuring 120 outlet and discount stores. Check out South Coast Plaza and Fashion Island for the latest designer fashion and best boutique shopping. Anaheim GardenWalk, Irvine Spectrum and Downtown Disney provide beautiful outdoor shopping and entertainment.
If arts and culture are your thing, don’t worry because Orange County offers some great museums and cultural attractions like Bower’s Museum, MUZEO, San Juan Capistrano Mission, Discovery Science Center and more!
Whatever your pleasure, you’ll find it here in Anaheim and Orange County, with plenty of sunshine, of course! Call Peak Performance Tour for a proposal to Anaheim and Orange County, CA.