George Lucas Educational Foundation

Destination Education: What is a Must-See Place in Your State?

Destination Education: What is a Must-See Place in Your State?

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Kids on a School Bus

I’m feeling like a really bad parent. My children are now adults - one graduated from college and the other one has a year of college to go. This week I have discovered a gaping hole in their upbringing: we never took them to The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. Not only did we never take our children there, I never even knew it existed. I hang my head in shame.

The Henry Ford is so much more than a museum. Yes, it presents a thorough and inspirational tour of Ford’s contributions to the automobile industry (including, of course, the assembly line and Model T), but it also houses a staggering display of American ingenuity, innovation, and history well beyond Ford himself. The museum honors a great range of American innovators, treating visitors with vivid, often hands-on experiences that bring the country’s history to life.

Go beyond the walls of the museum itself and you will find Greenfield Village: 240 acres of historic homes, farms, and working craft buildings. The village recreates life in America’s earliest days, giving visitors the opportunity to walk the streets, enter the buildings, chat with the residents, eat the food, and even ride in the Model T and Edison steam locomotive of the 17th- and 18th-centuries.

My own kids may have missed out on this extraordinary museum experience, but I can make sure their kids get at least one trip to Michigan. If I had not even heard of The Henry Ford then I’m afraid to ask how many other fascinating, educational destinations there are in this huge country that my kids have missed out on. 

So now I need your help: when I have grandchildren, what are the must-see locations, like The Henry Ford, in your state? If I were to start plotting on a map the places my grandchildren should see and experience, where should we go? Please share below the #1 destination in your area so we can all start making plans for summer 2016, and so we can build our future grandchildren’s to-visit and to-do list!

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Sarah J. Donovan, PhD's picture
Sarah J. Donovan, PhD
middle school ELA teacher

The Art Institute of Chicago --We took 400 8th graders there in January on docent-led tours. It was life-changing for the kids.
The Chicago River Architecture tour -- simply stunning to see the diversity of buildings and the old train lifts including the new river walks and a little piece of China.

Alex Shevrin's picture
Alex Shevrin
Community college teacher, former school leader, Edutopia community facilitator

Oh man, there are SO many places in Vermont! A favorite one is Shelburne Farms, which has lots of awesome programs for kiddos about sustainability and is just a beautiful place in all 4 seasons:

Laura Bradley, MA, NBCT's picture
Laura Bradley, MA, NBCT
Middle school English/Digital Design/Broadcast Media teacher

Sarah, my family loved the river tour! We went last summer. Definitely a must-see! And when we go back to Chicago we will have to visit the Art Institute. Such a great city. Thanks!

Gaetan Pappalardo's picture
Gaetan Pappalardo
Teacher, Author, Guitar––Word.

The "South" jersey shore. Cape may and Ocean City are my favorites. I'm lucky to be less than an hour from each. Very family oriented community and vacation destination.

I also visit the state of Maine often. It's my "second" state. Bar Harbor, The City of Portland, many cool areas.

Kevin Jarrett's picture
Kevin Jarrett
Maker Educator, Google Certified Innovator, Dreamer, Doer. Learning experience designer, workshop leader/speaker, author. Stanford #Fablearn Fellow. #GoogleEI

x2, Gaetan - you beat me to it. I'm only 10 minutes from Ocean City and even though our children are long since grown up, we still love the town, and it should definitely be on the list for anyone visiting NJ, particularly the southern part of the state!

p.s. maybe in a few years I'll say Atlantic City, but, right now ... not so much. :)

Samer Rabadi's picture
Samer Rabadi
Online Community Engagement Manager

I saw a Renoir exhibit at the Art Institute that blew me away. It's a great institution.

I'm particularly interested in learning more about the hidden gems. What are the places that are off-the-beaten track that students would benefit from visiting?


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