Lions and tigers and bears, parrots and frogs and planes -- all wrapped up in one swell travel package for 49 lucky students at Linthicum Elementary School.
Their plane is scheduled to leave Baltimore-Washington International Airport at 11 a.m., arriving in Cleveland at 12:30 p.m., when they'll board a bus to the park.
After lunch, a tour and a thunderstorm, they'll catch a 4 p.m.
flight back home.
"They're going to create a thunderstorm for the students, though they won't get wet," said Principal Sharon Doyle. "They'll see a storm and hear it, and watch how the plants and animals react to it. You have to realize the rain forest exhibit is in a two-story building."
Approximately half the fifth-graders got to go on the trip -- abou16 students from each of the three classes -- while the others will get a consolation prize, said Mrs. Doyle.
"We couldn't take everybody. I'm not even going," said Mrs. Doyle. "But there will be a special souvenir for them from the trip, and they'll have a pizza party and some videos."
She said her school competed against other schools in Maryland and had to fill out a questionnaire that included a question about how many children at the school had flown before.
"A majority of our children have never flown, and we're right near the airport. We tried to convince Southwest Airlines that it would be cheap er to take us," said Mrs. Doyle. "We picked the children's names out of a hat, and as it turned out we got a nice mix of students; some have flown before, some haven't. A lot of the children, though, would never have had a chance to go on an airplane if hadn't been for a trip like this."
But don't think for a New York minute that the trip is just for fun -- rain forests also happen to be one of the subjects being studied in science classes.
"A lot of children have been to the National Aquarium at the Inner Harbor and there's a rain forest there, so there will be a compare and contrast activity on the differences between the two rain forests," said Mrs. Doyle.
The trip will be captured on film by one of the parent chaperones who is a photographer -- just the luck of the draw, because parents' names also were picked out of a hat.
"We took two parents from each fifth-grade class, and four teachers," said Mrs. Doyle, who will be at BWI Airport for the morning send-off and afternoon arrival of her students. "Some of the parents are brand new to this school, and this was a nice
way to get parents involved."