Welcome to Fairfax County, Virginia: America’s Classroom
Only in Fairfax County can you step back in time at an 18th century president’s home and then jump into futuristic high-tech STEM lab work all in one day. Chocolate-making classes, G-STEM simulated training and eco-art workshops are just a sample of the hands-on activities that students can expect. After the sun goes down there is a plethora of after-hours activities from glow-in-the-dark mini golf to murder mystery dinners. Students will love connecting with America in Fairfax County!
This Itinerary is Ideal For: Student/Youth
Fairfax County – Day 1
Walk in the footsteps of a president at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Don’t miss your opportunity to serve on Washington’s Cabinet in “The Situation Room Experience.” This high-intensity role-playing environment enables participants to examine the functions of the American government through a multitude of sources and active participation. Students assume the roles of our nation’s first president, his Cabinet, elected officials, foreign ambassadors and Native American leaders and collaborate with classmates handling affairs that impact international and domestic crises of the time.
Next stop is a visit to George Mason’s Gunston Hall, which is just a short ride from Mount Vernon. Founding father George Mason was the architect of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which served as the basis for the U.S. Bill of rights. Step out of your classroom and into 18th century Virginia to explore the challenge of life in colonial and revolutionary Virginia with an on-site field trip.
Next, soak in local Fairfax County art at the historic Workhouse Arts Center. Enjoy artist-led workshops ranging from ceramics, drawing, eco art, theater improv or dance. Wrap up your day at the Workhouse with a thrilling murder mystery dinner that’ll keep you guessing (and laughing) all the way through dessert.
Fairfax County – Day 2
Begin at Fairfax County’s newest museum, The National Museum of the United States Army. Here you’ll discover the connection between the U.S. Army and our society. The Army’s influence on our nation from technology and science to financial and culture is highlighted. At the fully interactive Experiential Learning Center, use a real-world scenario to gain new skills in geography, science, technology, engineering and math (G-STEM) through high-tech, simulated Army training.
Spend the afternoon soaring through the forests at Go Ape! Zip Line & Treetop Adventure. Take on suspended obstacles, Tarzan swings and epic zip lines that will keep you challenged, present and living in the moment.
Finish up with an unconventional and off-the-beaten-path round of mini golf at Monster Mini Golf in Chantilly. This 18-hole course is an indoor glow-in-the-dark, monster-themed attraction. More than mini golf, this unique spot also features an arcade, laser maze, laser tag, virtual reality Atomic Rush, mini golf and Stella’s Cafe.
Fairfax County – Day 3
Enjoy a full day of scientific inquiry and learn about cutting-edge technology at Virginia’s largest university by enrollment. George Mason University offers the Global STEM Pathways Program, a hands-on immersive STEM experiences for middle, high school and community college students. Learn about emerging STEM careers in areas like forensic science, data science, bioinformatics, climate dynamics, environmental science, geo-information science and more.
Your day will feature a campus tour, faculty meet-and-greet, lab work and a panel session with current George Mason students to investigate real-world scientific problems. You’ll have a variety of tasty dining options on campus during your lunch break. Wrap up your day with a reception to receive your program certificate and an invitation to continue the learning experience by joining the Mason Global STEM Ambassadors Network.
Fairfax County – Day 4
Start your day kayaking on the Potomac River at Riverbend Park. This riverfront park has over 400 acres of forest, meadows and ponds. Explore the many islands in the Potomac River from your kayak while taking in spectacular river views and rich river wildlife.
Next, spend quality time with four-legged friends at Roer’s Zoofari. This local favorite is home to Waffles the Giraffe, lemurs, zebras, kangaroos, cheetahs and more. Enjoy feeding and petting sheep, goats, warthogs and many more barnyard favorites on a walking tour. The Self-Drive Safari Tour gets you up-close and personal with bison, llamas, fallow deer and more.
End the day on a sweet note with a chocolate-making class at River-Sea Chocolates. This Fairfax County chocolate factory is family-owned and crafts artisan chocolate from premium quality cacao. The cacao is obtained from small sustainable farms around the world. Tastings, touring, chocolate making or bar decorating class are more fun than can be described. Purchasing a few tasty treats for home is always a good idea!