There’s no better civics lesson than a trip to Washington D.C. There are standard favorites and must-dos… the Smithsonian Museums, monuments and memorials, a walk past 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. However, there’s so much more to experience in our nation’s capital than you may realize. The Kaleidoscope Adventures staff has years of experience touring our nation’s capital with students. As a result, they have collected some exceptional nuggets of wisdom to help you make the most of your Washington D.C. trip.
National Museum of the Marine Corps
Robin (Kaleidoscope Adventures President) always includes this stop on D.C. itineraries. The National Museum of the Marine Corps tells more than 200+ years of the Marine Corps’ rich history, with collections that highlight “the warrior on the front lines to the families on the home front.” It’s a great venue for student groups, who can even enjoy a boxed lunch in the Devil Dog Diner!
The National Archives is a hot spot for Ray (KA consultant) and a great chance to study how the actions of the Federal Government are based in our Constitution. Participants take on the roles of archivists and researchers completing a very important assignment: providing the President of the United States with real-life examples of our Constitution in action. The National Archives also houses the three original “Charters of Freedom,” including the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Noelle (operations) is a big fan of the Newseum for student groups. The Newseum is a high-tech, interactive museum highlighting the past, present and history of journalism. It’s super easy for groups of all sizes to navigate and students are fascinated by the engaging exhibits.
The National Air & Space Museum Annex at Dulles Airport (Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center)
This facility is a companion facility to the National Air & Space Museum on the Mall and a favorite venue for Keith (chief operating officer). Students may remember it from the Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen movie. Keith likes it because it’s an in-depth experience of American aviation history (he’s probably a fan of Jetfire as well!)
Another Keith highlight is the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. Situated halfway between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, it’s path winds past waterfalls, bronze sculptures and FDR’s own powerful words carved into the granite walls. All the D.C. memorials should be on your tour list, but this one really should not be missed.
Frederick Douglass National Historic Site
Michelle (KA consultant) likes to round out the itinerary with a stop at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site. Guided tours are available at this home of famous abolitionist and reformer, Frederick Douglass. Catch a glimpse of the statesman’s life, legacy and impact on America.
House of the Temple
Here’s a unique attraction that most don’t realize should be part of the itinerary! The Masonic House of the Temple offers a glimpse into the secret world of the masons. The building, completed in 1915, is an adaptation of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It’s about 10 minutes outside of D.C. but definitely worth the stop.
Instrumental Performance Clinic
Joseph (senior tour consultant) has a secret weapon for band directors in his D.C. arsenal. One of the most effective concert band clinics with the highest music education content exists in Washington DC. Professional musicians will sit in each section of your concert band or wind ensemble while the ensemble works with a conductor/clinician on the podium. The pros will play along with your students. They’ll also play separately so the conductor/clinician can demonstrate specific concepts or subtleties that are best be heard, rather than explained. Watch the performance standard of your ensemble rise before your very ears!
As you plan your student trip to Washington D.C., tuck these tips in your back pocket. Better yet, call Kaleidoscope Adventures directly to chat with our expert staff. More than 25+ years in the student travel industry gives us some serious street cred! We’ll work with you to create a unique itinerary that meets all your objectives. KA really is travel beyond expectations!