Located just west of the U.S. capital of Washington, D.C., Fairfax County, Virginia, offers an unexpected blend of picture-perfect natural surroundings and big city amenities, positioning visitors in the heart of the National Capital Region. Fairfax County is home to a number of firsts including the home of our nation’s first president, the country’s only national park dedicated to the performing arts and the first bald eagle preserve in the U.S. From hands-on STEM experiences, to naturalist-led wildlife-spotting walks and immersive role-play serving on the first president’s cabinet, student groups will be educated and entertained from sun-up to sun-down and beyond.
There’s also a cost-value benefit. With Washington, D.C. just a few miles away, Fairfax County is a close, convenient and less-expensive home base for exploring all our nation’s capital has to offer, making it an ideal choice for student tour planners.
The recently opened National Museum of the United States Army is the only museum to tell the comprehensive history of America’s oldest military service branch. These stories are told through the eyes of the U.S. soldier and the impressive museum features several interactive exhibits, a multi-dimensional theater, a Medal of Honor garden experience, and a kid-friendly and G-STEM anchored Experiential Learning Center where guests can simulate the work of Army soldiers. Admission is free, but timed-entry tickets are required.
The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial is the only national memorial dedicated to telling the complete story of the women’s suffrage movement in America. Enjoy a docent led tour to hear how the memorial honors the millions of women who fought for 70+ years for the right to vote. Featuring 19 informational stations explaining how the 19th Amendment made it to ratification and a piece of the original White House fence that the suffragists picketed in front of in 1917.
George Washington’s Mount Vernon, the home of our first president, is adding a new exhibit in 2022 entitled “Becoming Mount Vernon” that will trace Mount Vernon’s origins, from Native Americans through Washington’s ownership and into preservation efforts. Student field trip add-ons include Character Tours, STEM in Washington’s World or History Meets Hollywood at Mount Vernon. Another can’t-miss is The Situation Room Experience, a high stakes role-play program where students assume roles in Washington’s cabinet.
Dive into immersive STEM programs at George Mason University, a Carnegie-ranked research 1 doctoral university. Middle, high school and community college students learn firsthand about emerging STEM careers in areas like forensic science, environmental science, geo-information science, and more. The shorter half-day program includes meeting faculty, a campus tour and lab visit. In addition to all these features, the multi-day tour program also offers university lectures, faculty-led hands-on challenges and collaborative group activities with undergraduate students.