Richmond celebrates its impressive history every day. With so much to do, student tours may only get a sample of this city’s tradition and heritage, but it will leave them yearning for more. From the numerous national monuments to the luscious landscape, Richmond makes for a fun and educational trip for students.
Travel Through Time with These Top Richmond Student Attractions
The historic roots of Richmond run deep, all the way back to the founding of America. “The Richmond Region is bustling with activities and attractions for teens all year round,” says Brooke Hersh, public relations assistant for the Richmond Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The region’s numerous museums and attractions run the gamut from art to history.”
A good place to start your student trip is at the Chesterfield Museum Complex, built as a replica of the 1750 courthouse. The museum has exhibits on everything from Virginia Indian culture to European settlement. The Old Jail sits alongside the museum, and student tours can see where prisoners were kept for 70 years.
Student travel groups have the opportunity to walk the cobblestone streets that feature some of the city’s most stunning architecture and famous homes. Tuckahoe Plantation, built in 1733, was the childhood home of Thomas Jefferson. The site includes the building where Jefferson was taught, slave quarters and gardens. Wilton House is not only beautiful from the outside, with its Georgian-style architecture, but the museum showcases 18th century memorabilia such as fine silver, porcelain and furniture. Authentically dressed guides will take your student tour group through this 10-room mansion. While not originally built in Richmond, Agecroft Hall is a remarkable example of Tudor-style composition. The home was constructed in England and reassembled in 1925 on the James River in Richmond.
Richmond emits pride, especially when it comes to the Civil War. At Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier, student travelers experience the story of the three million soldiers who fought in America’s bloodiest war. This national landmark is located on the site of the April 2, 1865 “Breakthrough,” the battle that led to the evacuation of Richmond when it was the Confederate capital. The 422-acre park features four museums, four antebellum homes and the battlefield itself. Field trips can be organized where students get the chance to partake in military drills, weapon demonstrations and hands-on experiences of a soldier’s life. For the nation’s most extensive collection of military and political artifacts related to the Confederacy, take your student tour group to the Museum and White House of the Confederacy. Guided tours of the house and residence of Confederate President Jefferson Davis are available for groups.
Student travelers can walk the pathways of their ancestors on the Virginia Civil War Trails. These historic trails were used by the troops in the 1860s, and they link more than 400 sites and landmarks throughout the area. Maps of the trails are available at the Richmond National Battlefield Park Civil War Visitor Center, which houses exhibits and audiovisual programs teaching guests about Richmond’s role as the Confederate capital.
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden blooms year-round, making it a great attraction for nature lovers. It has more than 40 acres of plants for student tour groups to view as well as a 63-foot-tall domed conservatory with exotic plants and changing displays. Richmond’s public parks provide recreational activities such as hiking, biking, swimming and horseback riding. Student travelers can play to their heart’s content at Hadid’s Lake, featuring rope swings, a floating trampoline, launch tower, volleyball, paddleboats and miniature golf. Or students can enjoy a day at the amusement park, Kings Dominion. Its newest rollercoaster, The Intimidator 305 is, according to Hersh, “the biggest and baddest roller coaster in the Mid-Atlantic and on the East Coast.”
A student trip to Richmond wouldn’t be complete without a stroll down Monument Avenue, the only street listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There are monuments to native Virginians such as Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Jefferson Davis and Arthur Ashe.
Ride the Rapids: Student Sightseeing Tours in Richmond
The James River offers some of the best tours in Richmond. Riverside Outfitters takes student travel groups on guided rafting tours down the river. The tour company has a range of different rafting levels, so your crew may want to opt for something mellow in order to enjoy the scenery and spot local wildlife.
Virginia Film Tours gives an insider look at some of the Hollywood pictures filmed in Richmond. Let’s Get Frank Tours has a variety of options, including “Richmond Then…Richmond Now,” and “Glimpses of Richmond.” This company also provides walking tours with certified guides that know everything there is to know about Richmond.
Canal Cruises are offered through Venture Richmond. These 40-minute narrated tours float student travelers down the James River and Kanawha Canal, providing a history lesson of the Richmond area.
Student Performance Venues in Richmond
Student performance groups looking to showcase their talent in Richmond have the opportunity to put on a show at many area venues. Hanover Tavern has indoor and outdoor facilities, and performances can be scheduled Tuesday through Sunday. Henricus Historical Park has plenty of open space where students can perform. At Maymont, performance space is unlimited at the Carriage House Lawn and other lawns on the property. Student tour groups can also hold shows in the Nature Center, gardens or Eagle Plaza amphitheater.
Student Dining in Richmond
With 900 restaurants downtown and in the surrounding region, the dining possibilities are endless. Europa and The Hill Cafe, owned by the Richmond Group, strive to give student tour groups a memorable dining experience. Europa serves up delicious Italian delicacies in a warm and comforting environment. The Hill Cafe features a large menu with decently priced entrees.
Richmond’s Southern comfort restaurants are the definition of down-home. For a contemporary twist on Southern cooking, take your student travel group to Comfort, where guests can be adventurous with fried catfish or stick with traditional grilled cheese. Order a round of banana pudding for dessert. At Family Secrets Restaurant, everything is homemade, hence the name.
Student Accommodations in Richmond
There are 17,000 hotel rooms in the Richmond metro area, more than enough to house your student travel group. Rates depend on proximity to downtown, many being a bit pricey in the city center. However, there are a few that are only a couple miles away that still provide great service, reasonable prices and student-friendly facilities. The Holiday Inn Richmond Central and the Comfort Inn Conference Center Midtown both provide clean and well-sized rooms along with amenities like complimentary breakfast. Near the airport you will find even lower rates at places like Wyndham Richmond Airport and Hyatt Place Richmond Airport. Both hotels provide complimentary airport transportation and breakfast.
Richmond brings history to life for student travelers, making it easy and enjoyable for them to learn about the country’s past. “With nearly four centuries of history, world-class museums, exciting outdoor opportunities and a variety of hands-on learning activities,” says Janie Lawson, tourism sales manager for Richmond Metro CVB, “the region is ideal for Richmond student tours.” Just one visit and your student tour group will fall in love with Richmond.