What do rich farmland, interactive museums, famous presidents and amusement parks all have in common? They can all be found in the great state of Virginia. It is a premier location for student groups looking for fun and educational activities. From its rich history dating back to the 13 colonies and its scenic beauty with borders stretching from the Chesapeake Bay to the Appalachian Mountains along the Atlantic coastline, there is always an adventure for everyone in the group to pursue.
Scenic Parks with Picturesque Landscapes
Descend more than 34 stories within the Earth at Natural Bridge Park and Caverns. Students will be amazed by the natural wonders of Natural Bridge, such as Mirror Lake and the Well Room. Manassas National Battlefield Park in Prince William County encompasses over 5,000 acres. While at the park, enjoy a picnic, visit the historic battle site or participate in a weapons demonstration where cannons are fired. One must-see location is Arlington National Cemetery. Here students can honor America’s fallen heroes and watch the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Historical Landmarks That Take You Back In Time
As one of the original colonies, Virginia has a diverse history with both the Revolutionary and Civil War. Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center in Williamsburg tells the story of America’s humble beginnings. Students can tour their two living history museums which include a Powhatan Indian village, 1607 English ships, the colonial fort at Jamestown Settlement and a Revolutionary War encampment and farm at Yorktown Victory Center. Nearby at Colonial Williamsburg in Williamsburg visitors take a tour the restored 18th-century capital of Britain’s wealthiest outpost of the empire. Interact with costumed interpreters who tell the stories of men and women of all races and backgrounds from the 18th-century city and the adversity they faced.
Another fun activity is viewing the historic homes of two of America’s most famous presidents. Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville offers a look into the life of one of America’s most well-known presidents. Visitors to the plantation can tour the mansion, see Mulberry Row (where Monticello’s slaves lived) and explore the landscape with its pastoral countryside. At George Washington’s Mt. Vernon, students immerse themselves into the life and legacy of America’s first president. Walk through beautiful gardens, tour the mansion, view its different memorials, and catch up on your history in its museum and education center.
A Variety of Outdoor Thrills and Adventures
Busch Gardens in Williamsburg is an amusement park with tons of thrill rides. It offers a variety of youth programs and activities including ones that cover topics such as conservation, physics and animals. At the nearby Water Country, USA, students can enjoy Virginia’s largest outdoor water park. Equipped with over 40 water slides, the fun never seems to end. Overlooking the zoo below, visitors will experience nature in the forest canopy at Treetop Zoofari in Moseley. Take on 42 different obstacles such as floating logs, tight wires, Indiana Jones bridges, jungle ropes and a surfboard zip while flying high on one of the park’s 16 zip lines.
Interactive Museums with Hands-On Learning
Located in Shenandoah, Virginia Museum of the Civil War focuses on Virginia’s involvement in the conflict. The site includes features such as the Bushong House, The Wilderness Road, and a bird and wildlife trail. The Virginia Living Museum in Newport News combines the elements of places such as a wildlife park, science museum, aquarium, botanical preserve and planetarium to showcase the state’s regions. It offers a variety of hands-on activities and will be a memorable experience for any visiting student.
One of the largest museums in North America, Mariner’s Museum in Newport News, sits on an “urban oasis.” The 550-acre park has a five-mile shoreline trail with 14 bridges, and within the 90,000-square-foot museum are exhibits such as the International Small Craft Center and USS Monitor Center. An interactive and technologically advanced museum is the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol. While visiting, students can mix their own music and karaoke, use the working radio station and learn about the evolution of sound.
Virginia is full of student-friendly activities and the opportunities are endless. Make sure to check out the locations listed here; they are the perfect places to take student travelers. This state has adventures that accommodate everyone’s needs from high-flying zoofaris to historical sites and nautical museums, which are sure to keep students entertained. If you’ve visited Virginia before, tell us about your trip below!