Located on the East Coast of the United States, North Carolina is a beautiful Southern state with adventure around every corner. Covering a vast area spanning from the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains down to the sandy shores of its Atlantic Coast beaches, the geography of North Carolina never fails to amaze its visitors. Your groups will find ancient forests, sprawling rivers and the Great Smoky Mountains. With an endless amount of fun and educational opportunities for student travelers, the Tar Heel State is a premier location for student travelers.
An aerial adventure among the trees above Animal Discovery Center awaits at SkyWild Ropes Course in Greensboro. Here students can perform tasks such as 78 different physical feats based on animal adaptations and a variety of short zip lines, all while getting a bird’s-eye view of the zoo below. SciWorks in Salem offers a wide variety of education programs that fascinate students with hands-on activities. SciWorks makes it fun to learn about science with attractions such as the planetarium and environmental park.
Fans of The Hunger Games movie, which was shot on location in Asheville in the Blue Ridge Mountains, will enjoy The Hunger Games Tours attraction, which showcase the area’s natural beauty. Go behind the scenes and explore the mountain locations seen in the movie and let your students follow in the footsteps of their favorite tributes. Carowinds theme park in Charlotte is a great place for students to let loose and use up their energy. The 398-acre playground has numerous thrill rides including 14 world-class roller coasters.
Students can enjoy activities such as kayaking, horseback riding, ropes courses, and bike and hiking trails at Howell Woods in Johnston County. Or view the scenic landscapes at Chimney Rock State Park in Rutherford County. Field trips at Chimney Rock bring students and nature together and increase awareness of the natural world. There are three annual education events offered just for schools along with year-round programs and guided hikes.
Grandfather Mountain in Linville, known as one of the most biologically diverse mountains in the world, offers easy access to its towering peaks. Groups can marvel at the 360-degree views, cross its Swinging Bridge, hike rugged trails, and photograph bears, otters, cougars and eagles. Guided tours and other educational programs are offered for student groups.
Enjoy the beauty of America’s most visited national park at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, world renowned for its diversity of plant and animal life. Appreciate its ancient mountains and how it has come to represent Southern Appalachian mountain culture. While in the Smokies, catch a ride on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, which travels through fertile valleys and down into the mountain gorges.
Scientific and Artistic Endeavors
Greensboro Science Center is the perfect place for science lovers. Offering the state’s first inland aquarium, it has all the essentials for education and fun. Students can get hands-on at the museum and enjoy the state-of-the-art OmniSphere Dome Theater. Reynolds House Museum of American Art in Salem boasts one of the nation’s premier collections of American art in the restored 1917 home of RJ and Katharine Reynolds. Here students will receive a general introduction to select artworks dating from the colonial period to the present. Students will also learn about the Reynolds family and the architecture as they tour the home and grounds of the historic estate.
At Morehead Planetarium in Chapel Hill students can view the science center exhibits. Morehead hosts free skywatching sessions every month. Morehead educators bring telescopes and guide students through fun observations of stars, planets, moons, nebulae and other celestial objects. At North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher in Kure Beach, students can touch a live shark, climb along Adventure Reef, meet an albino alligator, talk to a scuba diver and come face-to-face with a sea turtle.
Welcome Home Veterans Living Military Museum in Mooresville is dedicated to honoring America’s veterans and active duty military. See the artifacts that have been donated by patrons and their families. Saturday is music day where veterans and professional musicians gather to play bluegrass, country, traditional old hymns and patriotic music. On the historic Battleship North Carolina in Wilmington, students can steer the ship, start its engines and even fire the guns. They can also participate in the program Ship Speak, where museum staff teaches students about the world of naval communications in WWII. Develop a secret code, type on a vintage manual typewriter, talk on a sound-powered telephone, even try on sailor uniforms and battle helmets.
Old Salem Museum and Gardens has original buildings, authentic craftsmen practicing their trades and fascinating collections of rare antiques. Students can participate in programs that teach them to cook on a hearth, explore early trades, make a book and tour key locations throughout Salem connected with the Revolutionary War. Biltmore in Asheville is America’s largest private home. Built by George W. Vanderbilt in 1895, this estate is a modern marvel. With more than 200 rooms to tour, the estate offers dozens of programs for students including customized tours and opportunities to learn about life on the estate’s farm, Antler Hill Barn. At the barn visitors can explore the unique technological features and interact with animals in the farmyard.
North Carolina has many other diverse education opportunities for student travel groups. It is the perfect location for any student traveler looking for excitement, adventure, scenic landscapes and rich history. Make sure to check out the locations listed here; they are the perfect places for fun and educational activities. If you’ve visited North Carolina before, let us know in the comments below!