Editor’s Note: During this period of social distancing, Group Tour magazine will continue to provide group travel inspiration. Many attractions and destinations are closed at this time; please contact them directly for updated information. 

Valley Forge.

People often involuntarily shiver when they see those words.

Valley Forge was the location of the 1777–78 winter encampment of the Continental Army under General George Washington during the Revolutionary War.

Despite the camp’s hard conditions, Washington, his officers and his soldiers built a unified, professional military that ultimately won independence for the United States of America.

While history is a big deal for Valley Forge and Montgomery County, it’s not the only deal.

The area’s many adventure, shopping and culinary offerings also make Valley Forge an attractive destination for group tours.

Plus, it’s close to Philadelphia.

“Valley Forge and Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, is the ultimate group destination,” said Lisa Karl, vice president of sales & strategic partnerships for the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board. “People can immerse themselves in history, while also enjoying some of the adrenaline-rushing adventures such as indoor skydiving at iFly and ziplining at Elmwood Park Zoo. Being only 18 miles from Center City Philadelphia, Valley Forge is a must for all groups coming to the area.”

Key experiences

Top attractions and experiences for group tours visiting Valley Forge include:

Elmwood Park Zoo — A 95-year-old institution, Elmwood Park Zoo is anything but old-fashioned. The animal encounters are designed for maximum viewing, and educators frequently take to the pathways with friendly, furry creatures right by their sides. Groups can eat at Treetop Café before hand-feeding a burly bison or a gentle giraffe. At the on-site Treetop Adventures, a zip line sends guests soaring over the animal enclosures.

Elmwood Park Zoo
Elmwood Park Zoo
Credit: Valley Forge TCB

Freedom’s Foundation — For a deeper dive into patriotism, stroll the grounds of the Freedom’s Foundation at Valley Forge. Tap into the gravitas of every Medal of Honor recipient, state by state.

iFly King of Prussia — Keep the adrenaline racing at iFly King of Prussia, the area’s newest thrill. It’s indoor skydiving, meaning it’s got all the freedom of flight without the need for an airplane or parachute.

Peter Wentz Farmstead — The impressive history of Peter Wentz Farmstead — especially its status as a two-time headquarters for Gen. Washington — is reason enough to visit. But the cute farm animals are a big draw, too.

John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove — Explore the brand-new 18,000-square-foot museum and nature-based facility, as well as 175 acres of landscape and outdoor trails. Enjoy interactive and family-friendly ways to explore the famed ornithologist — two galleries for art and conservation, birding exhibits, and interpretive demonstrations with live great horned owls and red-tailed hawks. While on-site, it’s easy to see how Mill Grove fed Audubon’s interest in ornithology, especially when gliding in a canoe on placid Perkiomen Creek.

Audubon Center Valley Forge
John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove
Credit: Valley Forge TCB

And there’s more

The 3,500 acres of monuments, meadows and woodlands at Valley Forge National Historical Park commemorate the sacrifices and perseverance of the Revolutionary War generation. The park’s visitor center is undergoing a $14 million renovation. The building’s first major overhaul since 1976 includes new immersive exhibits, a new theater and five new films.

Valley Forge
Valley Forge National Historical Park
Credit: Valley Forge TCB

Stop for shopping at King of Prussia Mall, Suburban Square, Skippack Village, Peddler’s Village and Philadelphia Premium Outlets in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.

A helping hand

The Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board offers a number of complimentary services for operators.

“Through our connections to a network of more than 600 members, we can put you in touch with exactly what you need such as tours and attractions guides service, dining recommendation, transportation, et cetera,” Karl said. “All group tours will also receive complimentary welcome gifts, provided by the VFTCB.”

For more information, call the VFTCB at 800-441-3549 or go to valleyforge.org.