Day 1 You'll See:
- Arlington National Cemetery
- JFK Grave Site Memorial
- Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
- Iwo Jima Memorial
- Ford's Theatre
- International Spy Museum or Crime Museum
- Monuments and Memorials Tour
Day 2 You'll See:
- Library of Congress
- Capitol Hill Tour
- National Archives
Day 3 You'll See:
- White House Area Walking Tour
- National Mall Smithsonian Museums
You and your students are going to be awfully busy on this fabulous 3-day foray into all things Washington, D.C.! You’ll see the most popular sights, touching upon highlights and historic points of interest along the way. You’ll explore Capitol Hill and the museums on the Smithsonian National Mall, tour the theatre where Lincoln was assassinated, stop by the home of our Constitution, pay your respects at Arlington and The Tomb of the Unknown Solider, drop by the White House for a once-in-a-lifetime photo op…and more!
Arlington National Cemetery
The first thing visitors notice about Arlington National Cemetery is the quiet sea of uniform white headstones washing over 600+ acres of tree-dotted rolling hills; they mark the graves of more than 400,000 soldiers and their families laid to rest beneath the well-groomed green. The cemetery is one of the most popular attractions among student groups visiting Washington, D.C. - its rich history and beautiful setting make it the perfect place for remembering, for reflection, and for honoring U.S. soldiers past and present; dozens of services are conducted here each week.
JFK Grave Site Memorial
John F. Kennedy was the youngest man ever elected to the highest office in the United States. A former naval officer and WWII hero, he is credited with saving the lives of his crew during an attack on their torpedo boat by a Japanese cruiser. He made his first formal visit to Arlington on Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 1961, to place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Eleven days prior to his assassination he returned for the 1963 Armistice Day services. While there, President Kennedy had remarked that the view of D.C. from the cemetery was so magnificent he could stay forever. He made his final trip to Arlington at the behest of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, where his gravesite is evermore accessible to the American people, and marked by an eternal flame; she now rests beside him.
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
All throughout history, soldiers have perished in wars, their remains left unidentified. Post World War I, a movement arose to commemorate these nameless soldiers with a single tomb, containing the body of one such unidentified warrior. High on a hill in Arlington Cemetery overlooking bustling and beautiful Washington, D.C., you will find the world-renowned Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. While here, you and your student group may witness the breathtaking precision of the changing of the guard; the Tomb is protected 24 hours a day. Inscribed on the back are the words: “Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God” - for buried in it are the remains of unidentified soldiers from nearly all U.S. wars and conflicts.
Iwo Jima Memorial
The United States Marine Corps War Memorial - better known as the Iwo Jima Memorial - depicts one of the most historic battles of World War II. The nearly 80’ tall bronze memorial, dedicated to all Marines who have given their lives in battle, is sculptor Felix de Weldon’s wonderful recreation of an iconic shot captured by news photographer Joe Rosenthal of six brave, young soldiers – five Marines and one Navy corpsman - raising the 2nd American flag planted on Mount Suribachi. Three of the six were killed at Iwo Jima; the surviving three - Pfc. Rene A. Gagnon, Pfc. Ira Hayes, and PhM. 2/c John H. Bradley, USN, posed for de Weldon as he modelled their faces in clay.
John T. Ford bought the original building – a former church - and renovated it into a theatre, which he first called Ford's Athenaeum. It was destroyed by fire in 1862, and rebuilt the following year with seating for 2400. Five short days after General Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House, President Abraham Lincoln and his wife were enjoying a performance of Our American Cousin at this infamous venue; notorious actor John Wilkes Booth, desperate to aid the dying Confederacy, stepped into the luxe box where the presidential party was seated and shot Lincoln - then jumped onto the stage and cried out "Sic semper tyrannis" before cutting a speedy exit through the back of the theatre. The President passed away the next morning at Peterson House, just across the street. Step back in time and retrace Lincoln’s last hours on earth as you recall the tragic events of that fateful night.
International Spy Museum or Crime Museum
Delve into the mysterious, dark world of professional espionage, or ponder and weigh the ultimate cost of a life of crime – your choice. Your students may visit either the International Spy Museum or the Museum of Crime and Punishment; both popular attractions promise to thrill, chill and educate with their engaging exhibits just bursting with information and never-before-seen tools of the trades. Check out the “School for Spies,” peruse awesome artifacts from your favorite James Bond films and learn why a spy must “live a life of lies.” Investigate a messy crime scene, see an authentic electric chair and lethal injection machine and visit the set of America’s Most Wanted.
Monuments and Memorials Tour
This brisk scenic walkabout gets you and your students around to all of the spectacular monuments and memorials of Washington, D.C., each truly unique and important in its own right. Your invigorating excursion begins at the White House and continues through the National Mall, along the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and around the Tidal Basin, winding to its conclusion at the US Capitol Building and Supreme Court. You’ll see the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, the Washington Monument, the World War II, Vietnam Veterans and Korean War Memorials - and more!
Library of Congress
Rise and shine, sleepyheads! Day two of your 3-day D.C. adventure has you heading to the magnificent Library of Congress right after breakfast - the nation's oldest federal cultural institution and the world’s largest library - containing more than 128 million items including books, manuscripts, films, photographs, sheet music and maps. As part of the legislative branch of government, the Library houses several internal divisions, including the Office of the Librarian, U.S. Copyright Office, Law Library of Congress, Library Services, and the Office of Strategic Initiatives. Visitors flock year-round to partake of its wonderful exhibitions, interactive displays, concerts, films, lectures and special events – and just soak up all that glorious architecture.
Capitol Hill Tour
No educational tour of Washington, D.C. would be complete without a visit to the seat of our legislative and judicial branches. You and your student group will explore the magnificent Capitol and Supreme Court Buildings, visit the beautiful Jefferson Building at the Library of Congress and enjoy a walk through the breathtaking U.S. Botanic Garden and Conservatory.
The National Archives and Records Administration stores and provides public access to the original documents that set up the American government as a democracy in 1774; additionally, the records of the nation's civil, military and diplomatic activities are held here for present and future generations. The Archives is our nation's record keeper; of all the documents and materials created in the course of business conducted by the Federal government, only 1%-3% are so important for legal or historical reasons they are retained and preserved forever. Your and your student group will be transported on a fascinating journey through time, with an opportunity to view the United States Government's Charters of Freedom, the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. This fantastic learning experience should be a mandatory stop on every D.C. educational trip!
There’s just so much to do and see in Washington, D.C.! After a tour of the National Archives, you and your young charges are off to the Newseum - a dynamic and engaging seven-level, high-tech interactive museum tracing the history of news reporting from the 16th century to the present day. Standing between the White House and the U.S. Capitol, the Newseum houses 15 theaters, 14 major galleries, two state-of-the-art broadcast studios and a 4-D time-travel experience in its 250,000 square feet of exhibit space, with its fascinating and comprehensive galleries exploring news history, photojournalism, world news and media coverage of major historical events. Miss the morning paper? No worries! Each day, the Newseum - ranked among “Traveler’s Choice Top 10 Museums in the U.S.”- serves up the fresh front pages of more than 450 news publications from around the world.
White House Area Walking Tour
Wake up, grab a quick, nourishing bite and get out into that supercharged D.C. air! Today, you and your young itinerants are going to see the White House – the epicenter of political life in Washington, and home of our President and the First Family - even more impressive up close and personal than one would imagine. What a fantastic photo op, and a lifetime memory in the making! Sometimes it really is good to save the best for last.
Smithsonian Museums on the National Mall
The National Mall is the pivotal point of almost every sightseeing excursion to Washington, D.C.; this tree-lined open space between Constitution and Independence Avenues unfurls all the way from the Washington Monument to the U.S. Capitol Building. Here, you’ll find the American History Museum, the American Indian Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Air and Space Museum, among others; 11 of D.C.’s seventeen Smithsonian Institution’s museums sit on the National Mall. It’s the perfect place to unpack and enjoy a picnic lunch, and a popular outdoor festival venue; all manner of spirited protests and rallies have been staged on its expansive lawn – as seen in the popular 90’s flick, “Forrest Gump!”