Exploring Washington D.C.: “We can do that?”

Thousands of schools bring their students to visit our Nation’s Capital every year, visiting the memorials, Arlington Cemetery, and various museums. However, many schools never realize there is more available for their students that would enhance the trip and make an impression on their students’ lives.

Capitol Tours vs. Capitol Grounds Tours

If this is your first time coming across these terms, don’t worry; you’re not alone. Most student travel companies do not take the time to arrange for a tour inside the Capitol. If your itinerary says “tour of the Capitol grounds” is limited to the exterior of the Capitol building. Do you want your students just walking around the outside being told what happens inside or to experience it first-hand in a temperature-controlled environment? Let’s break down the differences:

  • Full Learning Experience: Five months before your visit, at no charge, we contact your congressional representative to arrange for a guided tour inside the Capitol and an in-depth look at the heart of American democracy. Your students visit the Rotunda, National Statuary Hall, and more, providing a rich, educational experience about the legislative process and U.S. history.

Laying a Wreath at The Tomb of the Unknowns

Virtually every trip includes a visit to Arlington National Cemetery. Ever wonder how certain schools have four students lay a wreath at the Tomb and have their school name announced by the sergeant before Taps being played? 

  • Setting the Appointment: Exactly 180 days prior to the date your school plans to visit the cemetery, 12 appointments become available at 8pm.  We secure one of those appointments on your school’s behalf and email you the confirmation which includes the dress code requirements for your students.
  • Order the Wreath: When you book your trip with Student Adventures, we will ask what your school colors are and order the wreath having it delivered the day of the ceremony. 

Laying a Wreath at The Tomb of the Unknowns

Securing Passes for Admission to World Class Venues

It never ceases to amaze us how many schools tell us they wish they could get inside to visit such important venues in D.C. but were told by their former tour company that tickets or passes for large groups are unavailable or that the trip sponsor needs to handle this on their own. 

  • Ford’s Theatre: Go inside the theatre where Lincoln was shot on April 14, 1865. We secure tickets for your group to visit this amazing piece of history for a small entry fee. Various experiences, including museum entry, a National Park ranger talk while seated inside the theatre, and seeing the building and the bed where Lincoln died inside the Petersen House across the street. For groups that visit in late April through May, there is even a wonderful 20-minute play titled “One Destiny” that will make you feel you are a “fly on the wall” in 1865.
  • United States Holocaust Museum:  Timed group entry passes can be secured for up to 110 per time to visit the permanent exhibit for a small entry fee per person. Besides the 4 floors of exhibits, the videos of the survivors’ stories at the end of the tour are impactful.
  • National Archives: Avoid standing in the long public lines and waiting outside for hours by having Student Adventures arrange a timed entry group admission for just a couple of dollars per person. See the original Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, and Constitution all in just one hour from start to finish. 
  • African-American Museum of History & Culture, Air & Space Museum, & National Zoo:  Unlike other Smithsonian Institutions, these require timed entry passes that Student Adventures will secure for your group for just a few dollars per person. Never tell students again that they cannot visit these places because they require tickets. All you need to do is let us know if you want to include these in your visit, and we will take care of the rest.
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

So when planning your school trip to Washington D.C., don’t settle for a tour that only scratches the surface. Choose an in-depth Capitol Tour that provides a comprehensive, engaging, and memorable experience for your students. Let’s get to our 2nd point!

The Difference Between a Good Trip and a Great Trip

Taking your students to Washington, D.C., is a ca n’t-miss when it comes to determining whether the trip will be a good experience. Providing them with these experiences will change your classroom and provide your students with educational and life experiences they would never experience without you providing them with this opportunity. But a great trip comes from maximizing and customizing the experience.

  • Maximize Your Time = Minimize Your Travel: At Student Adventures, 85% of all the trips we operate are to Washington, D.C. While our office may be in Grand Blanc, Michigan, D.C. is our home.  That means we will select your hotel location and arrange your itinerary so it makes sense. We group stops that make geographical sense.  We see too many competitors’ itineraries that make you spend too much time on the bus as you crisscross the city or go over the bridge unnecessarily just to return to where you started.  
  • Your Trip Done Your Way: We want to provide everything you desire to include in your trip. While we make the best plans on paper in the itinerary, the trip can have a life of its own.  The trip may need to be altered depending on the traffic, weather, or uncontrollable factors. Every trip sponsor is different, but we want to do all we can to ensure your trip visits the places you feel are essential and maintains the feel you want everyone to experience.

We hope this guide gave you the understanding you need when planning your next Washington, D.C. field trip. If you want a personalized experience tailored to your students, please do not hesitate to call Student Adventures at 1-877-873-7550 or email us at info@studentadventures.org!