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4 Reasons Maryland is Absolutely Awesome for Student Groups

by Rhoda Venture
Education Trip

Growing up in Pittsburgh, a school trip to Washington, DC was practically a rite of passage.  It was close, inexpensive, and checked all the curricular boxes.  However, with recent closures and new requirements for visiting  (like timed-entry tickets for the Smithsonian Museums), it might be time to refresh the standard DC itinerary.  Here are 4 reasons Maryland is absolutely awesome for student groups!

Maryland surrounds DC on its southeast, northeast, and northwest sides, so it’s always easily accessible.  It’s also a treasure trove of history, STEM, outdoor adventure, culture, and entertainment tailored to student groups.  Let’s take a closer look at some of the things you can do in this beautiful state.

Maryland is Awesome for Student Groups

History

Maryland’s museums, attractions, and experiences are “anything but textbook.”  As the landscape for Harriet Tubman’s Underground Railroad, the birthplace of the national anthem, and site of the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, Maryland easily meets your curricular needs.

Harriet Tubman’s Underground Railroad

Explore the secret network of trails, waterways, and safe houses used to help enslaved people find freedom in the north.  An abundance of free curricular resources and ranger-led programs are available at this National Historical Park.

 

Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum

Students can hop on the B&O for a short-line ride as they learn about American railroading history.  The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad is the oldest in the U.S. and the museum itself is an historical landmark.  Engaging student tours and workshops are available.

Fort McHenry National Monument and Shrine

Pay homage to our National Anthem in the place that inspired Francis Scott Key to write it!  Learn what role the fort played in the War of 1812 and throughout Maryland’s history.  Guided tours and helpful classroom resources are available when you plan a student trip.

Fort McHenry

Antietam National Battlefield

Tour the grounds where the bloodiest day in American history happened on September 17, 1862.  Learn about the Confederate Army’s first invasion into the North that left 23,000 dead, wounded, or missing after only 12 hours.

Rural Heritage Museum

Step back in time and experience life as it was in the early 1800s.  Museum grounds, homestead, village, and authentic buildings welcome students.

Historic London Town and Gardens

Visit a “lost” colonial town and garden sanctuary on the South River.  Explore the c. 1760 William Brown House as well as the history and nature programs that align with national standards.

 

STEM

There are countless opportunities to explore STEM through programs and workshops designed for students.  Check out these world-class attractions…

The Capital Wheel at National Harbor

Enjoy a bird’s eye view of DC, Maryland, and Virginia 180 feet in the air!  When you return to solid ground, your students can take part in an outdoor classroom along the Potomac featuring geometry, physics, engineering, and more.  Resource guides are Common Core compliant.

Capital Wheel

Maryland Science Center

Beginning as the Maryland Academy of Sciences in 1797, the Science Center is one of the oldest science institutions in the U.S.  It’s packed with exhibits, programs, and workshops that beg for hands-on interaction and discovery.

Maryland Zoo

Learning literally comes to life at the Maryland Zoo.  Student groups get up close and personal with the animals during encounters and programs designed to complement your classroom instruction.

National Aquarium

Just a quick swim (or drive) from Washington DC is the National Aquarium, home to 20,000 animals and 800 species. They’re continuing to keep students safe with timed tickets and other safety protocols, but the magnificent marine life is ready to greet your group (education programs available).

National Aquarium

 

Related Reading:  Inspiring STEM Student Travel Ideas

 

ARTS AND CULTURE

Maryland’s rich cultural heritage takes center stage at magnificent venues near Washington DC.

Washington County Museum of Fine Arts

Take part in a scavenger hunt that highlights historic City Park, Hager House Museum, Hagerstown Railroad Museum, and Valley Arts Mansion House.  Learning and culture are on full display!

Hagerstown Cultural Heritage Trail

Walk the trail that highlights popular works of art and sculpture as well public art experiences.  Best part?  It’s free!

Art

Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park

These historic park grounds are also part of the Underground Railroad Experience Trail.  Stroll the beautiful landscape, visit the manor house, and stop by the museum housed in an 1832 stone barn.  Education programs are available.

Glen Echo Park

Glen Echo Park is one of the finest cultural resources in the Washington DC area.  It houses 13 resident artists, a nature and aquatic life program, studios, galleries, children’s theaters, art programs, and classes in visual and performing arts.  It’s also home to the fully restored 1921 Dentzel Carousel!

Mansion at Strathmore

Just a half-mile from the Capital Beltway is an exceptional venue for discovery and performance.  The Strathmore offers nearly 400 events spotlighting world-class talent and local artists.

 

Outdoor Adventure and Entertainment

The magnificent landscape, comfortable climate, and exciting entertainment call to a student’s sense of adventure!  Inside or outside, you’ll find just the right experience for your group.

C&O Canal Maryland

C&O Canal Park

The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park is a perfect spot for outdoor exploration.  Education programs connect students with history, nature, science, and outdoor recreation.  Try a guided cycling or hiking tour for a little extra fun!

Adventure Park at Sandy Spring

Plan ahead for the best ziplining and climbing in Maryland.  There are 15 separate trails for adventurers of all ability levels.

Adventure Park Sandy Springs

Adventure Park USA

This little amusement park packs a lot of play into your day!  There’s a huge outdoor pavilion to accommodate your group and fantastic indoor and outdoor attractions.

Tree Trekkers

Take to the trees for an outdoor aerial adventure and ziplining in a beautiful, wooded setting.  It’s a great way for students to interact with nature.

Hornblower Entertainment Cruises

Lunch and dinner cruises are always a student favorite- add a DJ and dancing and they’ll have a great time on the water!

Bay Bridge

Watermark Annapolis and Baltimore

Watermark goes a little overboard when it comes to cruises and curriculum.  Many of them are paired with local tours or experiences that fit your age group and educational needs.

Baltimore Orioles

Take in a ball game at beautiful Oriole Park while you’re in the area.  Group pricing is available, but you must reserve seats in advance.

Topgolf

Topgolf is part golf, part food, and all fun!  Choose from packages that include curriculum or just a great time with friends.

Related Reading:  Topgolf is Next Level Entertainment

Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament

Grab a shield and cheer on your favorite knight as you savor a feast…without utensils, of course!  Medieval Times will astound your student group with dazzling displays of might and metal.

Related Reading:  Oh What A Knight!

Toby’s Dinner Theatre

Experience live theatre in the round at Toby’s – a Maryland institution for student groups! Owner since 1979, Toby Orenstein is also the Founder and Director of the Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts.  She’s an incredible advocate for youth performers and the performing arts.

 

Plan Your Student Trip

Washington DC is a great destination for students, but don’t forget the amazing attractions in nearby Maryland.  Maryland is absolutely awesome for student groups.  Your itinerary will go from status quo to status “whoa!” 

PLAN YOUR STUDENT TRIP TODAY!

 

Related Reading:  Why You Need to Plan Your School Trip NOW

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