Kaleidoscope is a full-service student tour operator providing student and group travel, school and class trips throughout the world for over 20 years!

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Ready to Wing It? Deciding if Air Travel is Right for Your Group

As the wife of a former student tour operator, I spent many restless nights worrying. Baseball groups heading to spring training in South Carolina or bands making the long drive to Orlando were often the culprits. While it was cost effective, motor coach travel wasnt always the most convenient option for groups traveling long distances. Fortunately, we found The Air Travel Group and a much simpler way of getting from here to there!

Drama / Theater Trips by Kaleidoscope Adventures

The Air Travel Group books airfare for groups of 10 or more traveling together (think bands, student groups, mission trips, family reunion groups, etc.). They provide custom travel solutions for organizations looking to coordinate flights. The Air Travel Group will get your group a free quote and help with the overwhelming task of booking. Best of all, their top account status means access to private fares and better contract terms for your group.
If you havent considered group air travel before, The Air Travel Group offers some outstanding benefits:

Flexible contract terms
Delayed ticketing
Deposit to hold space
Free name changes
Free add/drop

They truly make booking airfare hassle-free and provide tons of support both pre-departure and during travel when those pesky delays or cancellations pop up.

When planning group travel, air transportation is often not considered because its perceived as cumbersome, expensive and fraught with opportunities to make mistakes. The Air Travel Group virtually eliminates these stressors in a click! The service is completely free and worth checking out. Based on destination, size of group and cost, you may find you prefer to wing it!

What ELSE Can You Do with Your Group In Orlando?

One of our favorite family vacations was a spur of the moment trip to Orlando. We packed our bags, found a cheap flight and headed south for some fun in the sun. You probably assume our visit included a castle or a mouse. Not this time! While we love the magic or adventure of the theme parks, this trip was all about the extraordinary, out-of-the-ordinary attractions. What else can you do with your group in Orlando? Read on to find out!

WonderWorks

WonderWorks is an experience (or experiment!) in fun like no other. As soon as the building is visible, its clear that things are not as they seem! The upside-down faade is explained to guests as a once top-secret laboratory located in the Bermuda Triangle in which an experiment gone wrong landed it in its current destination- upended!

Inside, the atmosphere at WonderWorks is charged with fun, excitement and more than 100 interactive displays and exhibits. Science is at the heart of the experience, and all the activities are geared for maximum play. Lie on a bed of nails, conquer the indoor ropes course, or move at the speed of light. Challenge your mind, body and imagination in the Wonder Zones or dazzle your senses with the mystery of magic. Take in a 4D-XD movie or light it up in a black-lit laser tag arena. Theres so much to do in this world of edu-tainment!

Ripleys

Ripleys Believe It or Not is an astonishing collection originating from the private coffers of Robert Ripley (1890-1949). Ripley spent 35 years traveling to 201 countries seeking the odd, the unusual, and the unexplained. These unique acquisitions are the foundation of the Ripleys attractions.

Ripleys features every macabre or ridiculous item conceivable, as well as many that you wont be able to wrap your brain around! Displays are a careful conglomerate of the strange, the shocking, and the beautiful- you may find a shrunken head, a micro-miniature sculpture or a 22-foot tall car parts robot. Students will love the interactive nature of the displays and the unexpected surprises around every corner. Its so much fun to wander through the space and imagine what Robert Ripley must have been thinking when he encountered some of these treasures! He once noted I have traveled in 201 countries and the strangest thing I saw was man. I think thats a sentiment to which most of us can relate!

Fun Spot

Ready to ride without the crazy lines? Fun Spot offers thrills and excitement right in the heart of International Drive. Featuring Floridas tallest wooden coaster, Fun Spot also boasts the worlds tallest Skycoaster, patented-designed, multi-level go-kart tracks, incredible attractions and a midway packed with the classic games everyone loves. It truly is a great spot for family-friendly fun!

Holy Land Experience

The Holy Land Experience brings 2000 years of history to Orlando in this spectacular, interactive Bible encounter. Authentic sights, sounds and tastes of ancient Jerusalem greet you as you pass through the gates of the walled city. Its a deeply moving, historically significant and undeniably inspirational living Biblical museum. Faith based groups, homeschool families and others will want to add the Holy Land Experience to the must do list of Orlando attractions.

Wild Florida

When the group is ready for adventure, Wild Florida is up for the challenge! Tucked away in the headwaters of the Florida Everglades and just a short drive from Orlando, Wild Florida is a hidden gem. U.S. Coast Guard certified airboats skim the waters for an up-close view of alligators, wild hogs, turkey and more. The Gator and Wildlife Park has more than 200 hundred exotic animals on display as well as interactive programs – perfect for students!

Orlando is an outstanding group destination with a surprising number of noteworthy attractions. Our impromptu family trip proved that its possible to skip the better-known parks and still have an amazing time (and probably for a lot less money)!

A Handy Guide to Use When Packing for A Student Trip

In a world in which glamping is an accepted form of outdoor recreation, its no surprise that we tend to over pack. We want to be sure we have all the necessary creature comforts in the event of an apocalypse. However, when packing for a student trip, we need to be a bit more discerning. Chances are good that space is limited so we need to make the most of what we bring. Below is a handy guide to use when packing for a student trip

EVERY TRAVELER SHOULD PACK

Enough clothes for each day of the trip (including undies and an extra pair of socks!)
Gloves, hat, scarf (depending on weather)
Swimsuit / flip flops
Sunscreen / sunglasses / baseball cap or visor
Insect repellent (preferably wipes)
Layers (hoodies in case it gets cold, joggers, etc.)
School shirt or trip shirt to identify as part of the group
Nightwear that is appropriate for room sharing
Appropriate and comfortable shoes for walking
Closed-toe shoes for traveling
Toiletries including travel soap, shampoo (check with the group leader regarding hair dryers, curling irons, etc.)
Extra pair of lenses /glasses
Prescriptions in original packaging and a list of prescribed medications for the group leader (check with the group leader on specific protocol)
Phone / phone charger
Travel poncho
Limited cash / debit card (remember, most fees are included in the cost of the trip)

BUS TRAVELERS SHOULD ALSO PACK

A bag for the bus that includes anything you want to have handy but dont necessarily need once off the bus (change of clothes, snacks*, drink, headphones, make up, lip balm, sunscreen, hoodie). This bag typically stays on the motor coach while students jump off and on
A small backpack or cross body bag to keep with you while touring. Keep cash, phone, and other essentials in this one

AIR TRAVELERS SHOULD ALSO PACK

Photo ID / Passport (check with the group leader)
Snacks* for the plane
Dramamine (again, check with the group leader)
Backpack with a change of clothes in the event a bag is lost
Carry-on liquids, aerosols, creams and gels using the 3-1-1 rule (3.4 oz bottle or less; 1quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger)
Unlocked luggage for easier TSA accessibility
Bags that are discreetly labeled with identifying information

Remember, when packing for a student trip, excess is not an option. Keep it simple and smart and youll be prepared for a successful adventure!

*Check with your group leader regarding any specific food allergies

Don’t Forget to Include the Class Trip in Your Back-to-School Plans

In teacher speak, the 4th of July signals the end of summer. Any teacher will tell you that once the fireworks are over, the mind jumps back into planning and prep mode for the next school year. The short summer break has refreshed and energized, allowing for a new perspective and excitement toward the coming year. As you prepare for your return to the classroom with renewed enthusiasm, dont forget to include the class trip in your back-to-school plans.

Summer is the perfect time to think about your pending class trip because you have some time! Once the school year is underway, youre swamped with lesson plans, deadlines, activities and more. Those last sweet weeks of summer allow you to focus on the nuts and bolts of the trip. You can choose your destination thoughtfully and take time to research your attractions. Youll have a better chance of those attractions responding to your queries if they arent knee-deep in the student travel season. You can lay out the perfect itinerary, considering flow and timing, proximity of attractions to the hotel and each other, etc. You can search for great educational programs or performance workshops, depending on the needs of your group. You can decide what kind of transportation will work best and secure contracts and rates early. You can think about the best fundraiser for your group or research grant or scholarship opportunities for your students. Finally, you can plan a payment schedule that makes sense for everyone and not scramble at the last minute to pay those deposits.

Kaleidoscope Adventures: Educating Students Through Travel

If you need a helping hand getting started, give Kaleidoscope Adventures a call. As a leader in the student travel industry for more than 25 years and a former teacher at the helm, KA is equipped to handle your every need with ease. Trust the experts at Kaleidoscope Adventures to make your class trip one your students will remember for years to come! Contact KA at (800) 774-7337 or email info@kaleidoscopeadventures.com.

If you plan trips on your own, theres a great new resource available that takes you step-by-step through the process. Group Experience was designed with busy teachers in mind and takes the guess work out of putting together your class trip.

As much as we want summer to last into perpetuity, the 4th of July is a reality check. Its time to get back in the groove and start prepping for a fantastic year in the classroom and beyond!

Feed Those Hungry Student Travelers at Golden Corral

If you travel with students, you know the time and attention to detail required for a successful itinerary. Timing is critical in the well-oiled machine of student tours. There are places to be, deadlines to meet, schedules to keep and, oh yes- hungry kids to feed. In the grand travel scheme, hungry kids trump all else! There are few among us with the fortitude to deal with 60 hungry eighth graders, much less with a smile and pleasant disposition. Fortunately, Golden Corral scores the highest marks in satisfying those insatiable teen appetites AND keeping your group on schedule!

Americas #1 buffet and grill, Golden Corral has a legendary hot and cold buffet with an abundance of choices, guaranteed to satisfy the pickiest among us. Comforting, homemade favorites are available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Fresh baked goods and scrumptious desserts round out the endless buffet. Yum!
The staff at Golden Corral is gracious and accommodating, always providing the highest quality guest service. They will treat your group with unrivaled care and attention. As you plan your busy day, staff will work closely with you to make sure you keep your schedule running smoothly.

Golden Corral is a leader in the group travel market, boasting memberships in the Student Youth Travel Association (SYTA), American Bus Association (ABA), National Transportation Association (NTA) and NAJ Group. The company will exceed your expectations of what is possible when dining with a group (even those hungry teens!). The best part is that all this deliciousness and fabulous service is provided at an exceptional price point.
When you plan your student group travel, remember to include Golden Corral as your dining partner. There are more than 450 conveniently located restaurants in 41 states nationwide ready to serve your group with efficiency, excellent food and unparalleled service. You (and your hungry travelers) will be glad you did!

WonderWorks Will Turn Your Group Plans Upside Down!

Planning a student trip. Planning a homeschool trip. Planning a scout trip. Planning a family or faith-based trip. If you can check any of these boxes, be sure to check this one:

? Include a visit to WonderWorks in your plans!


WonderWorks is an experience (or experiment!) in fun like no other. As soon as the building is visible, its clear that things are not as they seem! The upside-down faade is explained to guests as a once top-secret laboratory located in the Bermuda Triangle in which an experiment gone wrong landed it in its current destination- upended!

Inside, the atmosphere at WonderWorks is charged with fun, excitement and more than 100 interactive displays and exhibits at your disposal. Science is at the heart of the experience, and all the activities are geared for maximum play. Lie on a bed of nails, conquer the indoor ropes course, or move at the speed of light. Challenge your mind, body and imagination in the Wonder Zones or dazzle your senses with the mystery of magic. Take in a 4D-XD (or 6D in Myrtle Beach!) movie or light it up in a black-lit laser tag arena. Theres so much to do in this world of edu-tainment!

WonderWorks loves groups of 15+ and promises an incredibly wacky adventure for all! WonderWorks has locations in six great group destinations. Each is uniquely engaging and offers guests a completely unexpected and upside-down approach to fun. When planning your group travel, be sure to check this one off your to-do list!

 

Believe It or Not – Ripleys Attractions Are Everywhere

Believe it or not (see what I did there?!) Ripleys attractions are everywhere. More than 100+ locations worldwide means that odds are good youll find a Ripleys to meet the needs of your student group trip.

Ripleys Believe It or Not Attractions are an astonishing collection originating from the private coffers of Robert Ripley (1890-1949). Ripley spent 35 years traveling to 201 countries seeking the odd, the unusual, and the unexplained. Hmmm sounds like he could have just planned a trip with middle school students! These unique acquisitions are the foundation of the Ripleys attractions Odditoriums, Aquariums, Mirror Mazes, WaxWorks, 4D Moving Theaters and many more.

Locations can be found in most U.S. student travel destinations and feature every macabre or ridiculous item conceivable, as well as many that you wont be able to wrap your brain around! Each Ripleys Odditorium is housed in an unusual structure and typically includes between 400 700 exhibits. Displays are a careful conglomerate of the strange, the shocking, and the beautiful- you may find a shrunken head, a micro-miniature sculpture or a 22-foot tall car parts robot. Students will love the interactive nature of the displays and the unexpected surprises around every corner. Its so much fun to wander through the space and imagine what Robert Ripley must have been thinking when he encountered some of these treasures! He once noted I have traveled in 201 countries and the strangest thing I saw was man. I think thats a sentiment to which most of us can relate!

Ripleys Aquariums offer students an opportunity to come face to face with fascinating underwater life. Found in the Smoky Mountains, Myrtle Beach and Toronto, Canada, these state-of-the-art facilities allow visitors to glide on moving platforms into an aquatic world filled with captivating fish and other sea creatures. Each aquarium location is distinct and will keep your student group enthralled.

Ripleys attractions are everywhere and can be a cornerstone of your student group trip. Even the most jaded middle school students will find something to peak their interests- and we all know thats a rare and surprising find in itself!

Kaleidoscope Adventures, a leader in student travel, is ready to help plan your student group trip. More than 25 years of experience and a former teacher at the helm means KA is equipped to handle your every need with ease. Trust the experts at Kaleidoscope Adventures to make your class trip one your students will remember for years to come! Contact KA at (800) 774-7337 or email info@kaleidoscopeadventures.com.

There are Great Benefits to Booking Your Student Trip Early

Traveling with students can present some unique challenges for the travel planner, particularly when planning on your own. It can be an overwhelming task fraught with missteps and missed opportunities. However, many of these can be addressed simply by doing your homework early in the game. If you plan wisely, youll find there are some great benefits to booking your student trip early.

Book Those Buses

Lets face it, students typically travel to their destinations by motor coach. While we all envision a cushy coach equipped with the necessary creature comforts, that may not be a reality if you book too late. Spring is a heavy student travel season; if you dont want to be stuck with a motor coach that resembles something from the 1970s reincarnated, book early!

Contracting early with the motor coach company ensures that your school is at the top of the priority list. Barring any last-minute accidents or breakdowns, your bus will most likely have those coveted outlets and Wi-Fi students simply cannot be without.

Guarantee Great Rates and Rides

In most cases, the motor coach is the largest expense of a trip. As the school year progresses and student trip planning begins in earnest, increased motor coach prices are reflected in the higher demand. The earlier the motor coach is booked, the better the price.

The same holds true for securing a highly qualified and respected motor coach company. Simply put, the best companies book the fastest (often 9-12 months in advance). Request quotes during the summer prior to your trip for the best selection.

Prioritize Performance and Workshop Opportunities

Many student groups are looking for the same kinds of performance or workshop experiences, and some of the best festivals or venues are obviously in high demand. If you take the time to reserve your spot early- even before the school year begins- youll safeguard the experience for your students. In many cases, booking early does not require a financial obligation, leaving you free to fundraise throughout the year.

Assure Your Spot at the Best Attractions

Regardless of your student travel destination, its important to understand that many of the most popular attractions, museums, shows, cruises, etc. are often booked well in advance. They are popular for a reason, after all! These once-in-a-lifetime experiences are must-dos for your students, so be sure to make your group reservations at least 6-8 months ahead of the trip dates.

Lock In Lodging

One final benefit to booking early is locking in great lodging. The best accommodations for your group might be just a few minutes from the attractions you want to visit. If you like it, put a hold on it! If you wait until 5 months from your departure date, chances are good that the property wont have availability and youll be staying at a less desirable place further from your points of interest. Hmmm more time on the bus with students. Lets get this one locked up!

Kaleidoscope Adventures: Educating Students Through Travel

Booking your student trip early has some great benefits. However, if you feel like youre in over your head or out of time, reach out to a reputable student travel like Kaleidoscope Adventures to help plan the perfect trip. More than 25 years of experience and a former teacher at the helm means KA is equipped to handle your every need with ease. If you book with KA before June 30, 2018 and deposit $75.00 or more per person (depending on deposit requirements), youll receive one extra comp per 50 paying people excluding airfare. Thats a great benefit of booking early!

Trust the experts at Kaleidoscope Adventures to make your trip one your students will remember for years to come! Contact KA at (800) 774-7337 or email info@kaleidoscopeadventures.com.

Philadelphia Is A Top Trending Student Destination

The 2018 Super Bowl was an epic battle between two cities claiming the title of Cradle of Liberty. Since my beloved Steelers werent in the running, I was thrilled that the Philadelphia Eagles brought home the championship. As a history geek, I was even more thrilled to listen to the revolutionary commentary flying back and forth in the weeks prior to the big game. Both Philadelphia and Boston are ideal destinations for students looking to raise their history games, but this Pennsylvania girl is going to focus on the home team! Philadelphia is a top trending student destination for a reason. Historically significant and brilliantly modern, there are endless attractions and activities for students to appreciate.

Take a self-guided stroll through the home of the symbol of American independence (the Liberty Bell), followed by a guided tour of Independence Hall. Visit the National Constitution Center or Congress Hall and stand where the foundation of America was laid. Tour Franklin Court (the site of Benjamin Franklins home) or the Franklin Institute for a glimpse of scientific genius.

The Museum of the American Revolution is a new and exciting treasure in a city packed with historically significant venues. Opened in April of 2017, this museum is dedicated to telling the indelible story of the American Revolution. Of particular note is the centerpiece of the museums extensive collection, George Washingtons original headquarters tent. Truly awe-inspiring!

If a quirkier itinerary peaks your students interests, be sure to visit the Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site for a glimpse of Al Capones cell- a luxurious home away from home. Edgar Allen Poe had a Philly address- and you can visit the Edgar Allen Poe National Historic Site in the Spring Garden Neighborhood. Call ahead for this one; hours are limited. If the slightly macabre is more your students thing, be sure to include a visit to the Mtter Museum on the itinerary. Located in Center City, this museum boasts a collection of medical oddities and implements guaranteed to make you glad you live in the 21st century. Yikes!

Finally, no trip to Philadelphia is complete without a run (cue the music!) up the iconic steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art made famous in the movie Rocky. After celebrating your physical prowess with a cheesy (and unintelligible) shout, make your way to South Philly for a taste of the cheesy rivalry between two Philadelphia staples- Genos or Pats!

Philadelphia is an historical hot spot and a uniquely exciting destination for students. Whether youre planning a quick trip or an extended stay, your students wont be disappointed by the breadth and depth of all there is to do. Score one for the home team!

Kaleidoscope Adventures, a leader in student travel, is ready to help plan your Philadelphia trip. More than 25 years of experience and a former teacher at the helm means KA is equipped to handle your every need with ease. Trust the experts at Kaleidoscope Adventures to make your class trip one your students will remember for years to come! Contact KA at (800) 774-7337 or email info@kaleidoscopeadventures.com.

Plan Your Student STEM Trip to Birmingham for Great STEM Attractions

If you are planning a student group trip, chances are good that your district will require a STEM component. You may even be planning an exclusively STEM trip. If youre not competing in a robotics competition, where do you begin searching for a destination that meets your requirements? Birmingham, Alabama is a great starting point! Rooted firmly in the 19th century steel industry and evolving into a city undergoing a renaissance, Birmingham has an extensive and varied offering of outstanding STEM-related attractions. Below are some highlights to consider as you plan your student STEM trip to Birmingham.

Photo Courtesy of Art Meripol and the Greater Birmingham CVB

Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark
Built in 1881 and operational by April 1882, the Sloss Blast Furnace was a technological marvel of its era. Today students can tour the site of this monument to the industrial revolution and learn how the furnace worked, the historical significance of the plant in Birminghams development, and what it was like to be a worker during production. Theres even an opportunity to make a piece of cast iron art!

Photo Courtesy of Ted Tucker and the Greater Birmingham CVB

Vulcan Park and Museum
Follow your visit to the Sloss Furnaces with a trip to the Vulcan Statue and Museum. Created by Giuseppe Morettti, the Vulcan depicts the Roman god of fire and forge and stands 56 feet tall. This cast iron statue reflects Birminghams steel and iron heritage and allows for spectacular views of Birmingham. The museum below is an interactive museum highlighting the history of both the city and the Vulcan.

Photo Courtesy of Ted Tucker and the Greater Birmingham CVB

The McWane Science Center
The McWane Science Center will quickly take your students from the 19th to the 21st century. Exhibits at this state-of-the-art center are designed to challenge, inspire and encourage interest in the sciences. Take in multiple levels of hands-on STEM activities perfect for kids of all ages!

Photo Courtesy of Ted Tucker and the Greater Birmingham CVB

Barber Vintage MotorSports Museum
Opened in 1995 by retired race car driver George Barber, this unrivaled collection of restored-to-racing condition motorcycles constitute the worlds largest motorcycle collection (more than 1400!). The bikes represent 200 manufacturers from approximately 20 countries and were even part of a display at The Guggenheim. Its an unusual and unique look at some pristine machinery!

Photo Courtesy of Art Meripol and the Greater Birmingham CVB

Southern Museum of Flight
The Southern Museum of Flight is a regional gem dedicated to sharing the history of aviation in the south. Exhibits include civilian, military and experimental aircraft and memorabilia. There are more than 100 aircraft on display, as well as a tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen.

Photo Courtesy of Ted Tucker and the Greater Birmingham CVB

Birmingham Botanical Gardens
The word STEM often connotes thoughts of technology or robotics. The Birmingham Botanical Gardens will have you thinking outside the flower box! They offer fabulous educational programs and workshops that dig in to the science of horticulture. Admission is always free, the gardens are open year-round, and they even have the only public horticultural library in the U.S.

As you begin to plan your STEM adventures, keep Birmingham in mind for a one-of-a-kind trip. Theres so much to see and do beyond these few suggestions. The kids will love the engaging attractions, history and southern hospitality. Youll love that youve met your curricular requirements in one amazing city!

Kaleidoscope Adventures, a leader in student travel, is ready to help plan your Birmingham STEM trip. More than 25 years of experience and a former teacher at the helm means KA is equipped to handle your every need with ease. Trust the experts at Kaleidoscope Adventures to make your class trip one your students will remember for years to come! Contact KA at (800) 774-7337 or email info@kaleidoscopeadventures.com.