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Behind the Scenes: Field Trip Season

This isn't just a photo of Colonials at a restaurant. Nope, these are our newest tour guides enjoying a meal at Galway Bay after their first day of touring! And since it's a Friday in mid-April, today's tour guests were field trip students. This picture shows something else too; one of the secrets of a successful field trip season is that many of our guides enjoy local eats after they lead a field trip! There's just something special about enjoying a meal in a restaurant in historic Annapolis with a Colonial...local restaurants enjoy the authenticity and color our guides add to their establishments almost as much as we enjoy the local food. This isn't limited to tour guides either; if someone pops into your restaurant with a food order written on a popcorn bag chances are it's lunchtime for Harbor Queen's crew. Hosting a few hundred students in one day really does work up an appetite!

We welcome students on field trips any time during the school year but traditionally the months of April and May are the busiest months for field trips. At Watermark, we call it "Field Trip Season." So much goes into giving an educational and fun field trip experience to hundreds of schools (thousands of students!) in Annapolis or Baltimore. In this post we want to share a glimpse into a few of the many things that go into a successful field trip season.

None of this would happen without Claudette and Jennifer, our Group Tour Specialists, who work closely with teachers all year long to plan their itineraries, choose a tour that fits their students' curriculum needs and grade level and prep them with all the details that will make the day a hit for students and chaperones and low stress for teachers. This includes everything from building in bathroom breaks to coordinating a lunch drop off to...well, you name it and they do it! Heather, Director of Guide Operations is the master of logistics and schedules thousands of guide shifts to make it all come together. She, together with her team, personally greet every school as they arrive in town. In Baltimore, our Vessel Operations Team meets schools as they drive up to the Inner Harbor for their cruise field trips.

Another big component to a successful season is the Watermark maintenance team. Not only do they prepare the boats for passengers and safe journeys, they keep our vessels in top working order all season long. They lend their talents in other ways too...building by hand some of the objects our tour guides carry to illustrate their interpretations. Pictured is a freshly made set of hornbooks, a tool used to demonstrate to our students how students in Colonial times learned. (Next time you see a guide at Galway Bay or elsewhere after a tour, ask them about it!)

Similar to how our tour guides have a dedication to history, education and teaching students, our Captains and crew members also have a dedication to working with school aged kids. Yes, working on Watermark boats means you love the water, you love boats, you love working outside and you love working with kids! Did you know our Captains often end the cruise with music? After the narration finishes, the Captain sometimes cues up a fun song so the students can dance it out on their way back to land. So next time you see Harbor Queen cruising back towards City Dock with a boatload of dancing students, perhaps doing the YMCA, know that they're wrapping up a field trip experience they're sure to remember.

Happy Field Trip Season to our fellow heritage partners, the teachers we work with and the students who come to learn and play. Get ready...the season is here!

Learn More about Destination Education by Watermark.