Field trip destinations may depend on the age of the students but one thing you can be certain of, Washington, D.C. has perfect attractions for them all. You could, if you had the time, cover every single subject in school with your field trip to D.C. with the number and diversity of educational attractions available. Free world-renowned museums and working federal government buildings, living history centers and more, there is always something unexpected and delightfully educational is waiting in D.C.
Government - A group that travels to the nation's capital and does not see any government-related attractions is missing out big time. This is what the city was built for, so take advantage of the opportunity for a look behind the curtain into the real light of government.
- The Capitol Building (free) - The major governing body which dominates the landscape of the National Mall atop Capitol Hill, the Capitol Building should be one of your group's first stops. The Visitors Complex is an interesting area, built underground so as not to detract from the historic original building, and showcases many exhibits. This is where tours began as well which go up through the major areas of the building.
- The White House (free) - Of course, the White House is on the mind of every kid visiting Washington, D.C. and lucky for you, they provide tours. Their trained guides point out all the prime features and most interesting information. They will, however, shut down and close all tours at a moment's notice if the president's plans change.
History - History, and government are two things Washington, D.C. has a lot of and you really don't want to miss out on these exceptional opportunities!
- National Museum of American History (free) - Good for all ages, this Smithsonian beauty explores and displays the heritage and history of our great nation. This includes subjects from scientific advancement to Revolutionary War-era weapons, political history, and even social evolution. See exhibits containing George Washington's military uniform, a full-size locomotive, a car from Disney's Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride, and much more!
- National Colonial Farm - Accokeek, MD - You've probably heard of living history museums before, like Colonial Williamsburg and their live demonstrations on the way things used to be. The National Colonial Museum outside Washington, D.C. is an incredible opportunity to glimpse into a middle-class farming family living just before the American Revolution. Meet the heritage livestock, watch live demonstrations, walk through the historic buildings, and explore the park through recreational activities.
Science - Whether it's a visit to the zoo, nature walk, or to the science museum, science field trips work wonders to instill learning in sometimes reluctant minds. Seeing and experiencing the effects of science up close helps to create a love of the subject and a deeper understanding.
- National Geographic Museum - Less about science experiments and the way
things work, the National Geographic Museum showcases scientific explorations throughout history and around the world. Older students who already have a firm grasp on the subject may enjoy exploring the incredible museum through exhibits explaining animal migrations in Yellowstone National Park, the ancient and slow evolution of crocodiles, and much more!
- National Museum of Natural History (free) - This museum may be on every list, but it's certainly worth the praise. Groups of all ages, young and old(er), will find something to ooh and aah about from the giants in the dinosaur wing to the great slabs of cut redwood trees, the mammal exhibits, and the life and earth science wings.
Art - When you think of Washington, D.C. many people don't immediately think of art. However, as the nation's capital, the city represents the nation over the history and appreciation of world art.
- Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (free) - Focused primarily on contemporary art, the Hirshhorn proclaims the evolution of human expression from the rooftops. Art changes over time, as we know, and the Hirshhorn is but the premiere museum for the latest artistic movement. They do it extremely well and showcase the works of prominent modern artists plus a full sculpture garden with an impressive collection of works ranging in style and form.
- American Art Museum (free) - This Smithsonian institution is a more traditional look at American art, from colonial times through the modern-day. This covers every style and form of art done by American artists or in American territories. One of the oldest pieces comes from a 17th century Puerto Rican artist along with the famous John Singleton Copley and Thomas Cole. There are also sections on African American art, Latino art, photography, folk and self-taught, as well as craft and sculpture.