Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.
Afternoon: Program Registration: After checking in at the hotel front desk, take your bags to your room. At 4:00 p.m. come to the designated hotel meeting room (location will be posted) to register with the Road Scholar program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, other important information, and to confirm when and where the Orientation session will take place. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.
Dinner: 5:00 p.m.: In the Tick Tock Diner just off the hotel lobby, we’ll have our first meal together and order from a select menu. This 24-hour diner features American cooking and “comfort food.” Dinner in the diner is included even if you arrive late. You may eat later but please attend Orientation first. Or, get “take out” and bring your plate to the meeting room.
Evening: 6:15 p.m.: Orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. This active program involves extensive walking and use of public transportation including the New York subway system with many stairs up and down. This is a Road Scholar Intergenerational program. Grandparents are responsible for their grandchildren. If/when separate age group activities are conducted concurrently, program staff will supervise. Children are never to be left unsupervised. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Especially for kids: To prepare us for tomorrow’s field trips, we’ll be joined by someone who once worked on Ellis Island as a Park Ranger and learn about the island and the Statue of Liberty. We’ll see some special objects including a piece of the statue’s original glass!
Activity note: Use of public transportation (subway, bus, ferry). Walking up to 8 miles throughout the day. At Statue of Liberty, 215 steps to top of pedestal; elevators available. Access to crown requires advance reservations (not included in our tickets); 377 steps from main lobby to crown platform; no elevator. The National Park Service advises that the climb is strenuous and anyone visiting the crown should have no conditions that would impair their ability to complete the climb.
Breakfast: In the hotel meeting room, we’ll have bagels, muffins, bananas, hard-boiled eggs, cold cereals, cream cheese, jelly, and butter, plus milk (regular and low-fat), orange juice, coffee/decaf, tea.
Morning: We’ll walk from the hotel with our Group Leader and ride the subway to the ferry that will take us on to Liberty Island and the Statue of Liberty. The Statue of Liberty was an amazing gift to the people of America from the people of France — our oldest ally — celebrating freedom and democracy. We’ve seen this national monument in countless movies and TV shows and may even take it for granted, but on the Fourth of July 1884, it was the biggest event in the country. Years later, these words of poet Emma Lazarus were added: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” Our tickets provide access to the pedestal and the museum inside. Audio guides tell the incredible story. Especially for kids: It’s really big! We’ll see it up close and imagine how millions of immigrants felt when Liberty greeted them. The statue itself is 151 feet (46 meters) tall. Including the pedestal, it’s 305 feet (93 meters) from the ground to the torch.
Lunch: We’ll have vouchers for lunch at a café on either Liberty or Ellis Island.
Afternoon: Then, it’s on to Ellis Island. From 1892 when the immigration station opened until it closed in 1954, more than 12 million people coming to America passed through Ellis Island. This was their “golden door” to new lives. Today, the descendants of these immigrants make up almost half of all Americans. The Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration tells the story of where people came from and what their experience was like. Many went first from Ellis Island to the Lower East Side of Manhattan, at one time the most densely populated neighborhood on earth. Especially for kids: We all came from somewhere. This is a chance to learn more about your own family heritage with your grandparent(s). Next, we’ll follow in the footsteps of so many immigrants and head to the Lower East Side where our Group Leader will show us around Chinatown and Little Italy.
Dinner: At a restaurant in Little Italy, we’ll have plated meals and order from a select menu with beverages choices of soda, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.
Evening: Before we return to the hotel, we’ll have some time on your own in this iconic neighborhood. When people came from other countries, they brought their language, customs, and favorite foods. You might like to taste some authentic Italian gelato.
Activity note: Use of public transportation. Walking up to 8 miles throughout the day.
Breakfast: In the Tick Tock Diner, it’s a hot breakfast ordered from a select menu.
Morning: The United Nations owes its existence to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Roosevelt worked through the last years of his life when World War II was raging to create an organization that would encourage nations to settle their differences peacefully. The U.N. opened on October 24, 1945. It now has 192 member states working through the U.N. to resolve conflicts, keep peace, and provide humanitarian assistance around the world. We’ll step into this world arena and explore with one of the U.N.’s official guides called “ambassadors.” These bright and talented young people come from many different countries. They have learned about international issues and get daily briefings on current developments. We’ll see how the U.N. works and how the member countries make decisions that affect people everywhere. The areas we get to see will depend on what’s taking place that day. Especially for kids: Talk with our U.N. “ambassador” and learn where s/he came from and about the hopes and dreams of kids in other parts of the world. We’ll then go to Grand Central Terminal.
Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like in the area. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. There are food vendors offering tastes of New York City’s many different peoples and cultures.
Afternoon: We’ll walk over to Rockefeller Center, a building complex full of unique architecture and history. Across the street, we’ll go into Saint Patrick's Cathedral, considered by many the most beautiful Gothic style cathedral in the new world. We’ll also get a bird's eye view of Manhattan from The Top of the Rock and have a chance to do some exploring on our own! We’ll then rendezvous and return to hotel as a group.
Dinner: At a restaurant near the hotel and Times Square with a “kid friendly” menu.
Evening: Especially for kids: We’ll walk up to Times Square — where millions gather to cheer in the new year — and visit M&M’s World.
Activity note: Use of public transportation. Walking up to 5 miles throughout the day.
Breakfast: In the meeting room.
Morning: In the southern end of Central Park that’s especially for kids, we’ll divide into two smaller groups and set out on a field trip to explore New York’s biggest and best green space. We’ll have maps and clues to discover some of the famous sights — like Balto the Dog — and take pictures to document our discoveries.
Lunch: In the Park, we’ll have box lunches.
Afternoon: Free Time. There’s so much to see and do we can’t even begin to mention all the possibilities. You might like to visit the American Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or any of 100 other museums; have another walk in the Park; or just spend time together taking in the sights and sounds of the city. If you want to attend an event such as a Broadway show or a performance at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, etc., you may want to order tickets in advance. There are always a lot of options available for same-day tickets at 20% to 50% off regular prices at the TKTS Discount Booth. The Group Leader will be happy to give advice on how to make it go as smoothly as possible. See www.tdf.org for details.
Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.
Evening: At leisure.
Activity note: Use of public transportation. Walking up to 8 miles throughout the day.
Breakfast: In the Tick Tock Diner.
Morning: We’ll take the subway to Coney Island and visit the New York Aquarium, which has been going through big improvements. We’ll have a self-directed exploration to see what interests each of us most.
Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like. There are lots of choices along the Coney Island Boardwalk and we’ll see what’s there. Nathan’s — everybody’s favorite! — has been serving classic New York beef hot dogs since 1916. It was founded by a Polish immigrant who started with a small hot dog stand. Today, it’s the most famous hot dog joint in the world. (They also have other choices.)
Afternoon: Especially for kids: Next, we’ll visit Luna Park, named after a famous amusement park established in 1903. The new park has 20 rides and games. We’ll have an “unlimited ride” wrist band to enjoy what we like. (FYI: The Cyclone and several other “extreme thrill” rides are not included.) We’ll also have some independent time to walk along the boardwalk and pier before returning to the hotel. We will then return to the hotel.
Dinner: Near the hotel, we’ll have Chinese food. Try using chopsticks!
Evening: Especially for kids: With our Group Leader, we’ll take the subway to Washington Square Park, the heart and soul of Greenwich Village. Washington Square has attracted musicians and street performers for a very long time. There’s also great ice cream. Returning to the hotel, prepare for check-out and departure after our wrap-up session in the morning.
Activity note: Hotel check-out by 12:00 Noon. You may leave bags at the hotel for pick-up later in the afternoon.
Breakfast: In the hotel meeting room.
Morning: We’ll have a fun wrap-up session to share what we’ve learned and enjoyed the most. We’ll be finished by about 10:30 a.m. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!