Looking to apply the concepts of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) into an educational opportunity using real-life exploration? Norfolk has just what your student group is looking for in terms of fascinating, hands-on curriculum. Follow this five-day itinerary to plan an engaging, educational opportunity that students will remember for a lifetime.
Arrive in Norfolk, Virginia early afternoon to explore the Chrysler Museum of Art and Perry
Glass Studio. The museum and studio offer a combination tour including a live glass demonstration and a guided 45-minute tour of the art museum. Add to the curriculum the “History and Science of Glass,” program, which teaches students not only about art history and science, but also technology and culture in art.
Head to dinner at California Pizza Kitchen located inside MacArthur Center. Go behind the scenes on a restaurant tour, which includes an interactive pizza-making demo from a certified pizza chef. This tour gives students a glimpse into how kitchens and chefs make delicious culinary magic happen. It’s a fun, unique opportunity to discover how a restaurant works from the inside out!
Ever wonder how, when, and where the waffle cone was invented? Get all of those answers at Doumar’s! Stop for ice cream with a famous waffle cone from Doumar’s, where Abe Doumar invented the waffle cone by taking a waffle and rolling it into a cone, to which he added ice cream. Students will take delight in learning the history of how the cone was invented while watching the process of making cones from the original machine.
Rise and shine and head over to the Virginia Zoo to discover wildlife! Spot lions, tigers, and many more animals on board a train that runs throughout the Zoo with stops along the way. The Virginia Zoo’s education department is available to provide field trips with guided tours and program themes consisting of adaptations, animal groups, habitats and zoo careers. For lunch, the Zoo offers many options for students such as the African Village Café and The Beastro.
Time to Perform! The Virginia Arts Festival offers unparalleled opportunities to explore the beauty and power of the arts. Choose from special student matinee performances to share the thrill of a live performance in a theater or concert hall, then incorporate the experience into classroom discussions and projects that open students’ minds to new ways of learning.
Time to dance and dine aboard City Cruises by Hornblower. Students can enjoy an evening cruise with dancing, great food and live entertainment all while enjoying the panoramic skyline of Norfolk.
Spend the morning at Nauticus, an interactive science and technology center where students can explore and learn about the power of the sea. Nauticus offers hands-on experiences and real-world examples of science and the maritime industry, with 3D films, traveling exhibitions, and STEM-based programming. Students will also learn what it feels like to walk in the footsteps of a United States Navy sailor aboard the Battleship Wisconsin, one of the last and largest battleships built by the U.S. Navy. Then students can learn about 200 years of naval history in Coastal Virginia at the Hampton Roads Naval Museum.
Do not forget that perfect souvenir! The mermaid has become the official symbol of Norfolk, and mermaids can be found throughout the city. Students can paint and design a mermaid at The Mermaid Factory. It is an ideal blank canvas to inspire creativity. Another great place for mermaid souvenirs is VisitNorfolk’s own Mermaid Market, filled with an assortment of items that students will love.
End the evening with a performance at the Virginia Stage Company, the region’s only fully professional resident theater company that attracts the nation’s leading artists to the Wells Theatre stage. After the performance, let the stage become the classroom with a talk-back session with students, award-winning directors, designers and actors. This program directly follows each performance and allows students an opportunity to interact with professional artisans and technicians. Do not forget to check out the Virginia Opera and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra which offers student programming throughout the year as well.
Discover local artists and their studios with a guided tour of the NEON District, an environment where working artists are a part of an interactive arts community that engages the public through the experience of art and the creative process. The NEON District offers students of all ages workshops, hands-on make and take projects and artist lectures and demonstrations.
Explore wetlands and the riverbank at the Hermitage Museum and Gardens with “The Wetlands Enrichment Tour or WET.” This program is a hands-on outdoor educational program aimed at bringing the living shoreline restoration to life for students. Students will tour the boardwalk while observing and touching live creatures found in the wetlands, build a wetland model and record experimental findings.
For a final dinner, the Waterside District offers an incredible setting for student events of any size, menu, or budget. The Waterside District has spaces to accommodate student groups of five to 500 people with private spaces, entertainment venues and public restaurants. Here are some more restaurant options for student groups.
Before heading back to school, make a stop at the Norfolk Botanical Garden. The garden is Virginia’s largest botanical garden and offers students numerous educational opportunities. Students will discuss the differences between plant and animal cells, explore the plant cell structure and demonstrate how plants’ energy is passed through the food web and what role they play in their habitat.