Trip leaders want to make the most of every minute of touring time during a school trip to Washington, D.C. However, walking tours of historical sights, monuments, and museums can lead to worn out kids and chaperones.
Take a break and continue the learning while watching these high quality productions that are shown at some of the city’s most popular attractions.
Showing at the Newseum:
This Newseum is committed to exploring the importance of freedom of expression and the First Amendment. Considered one of the most interactive museums in the world, the exhibits here trace the evolution of electronic communication.
It seems appropriate that the museum houses a theater that is on the cutting-edge of cinematography. It’s feature movie, I-Witness: A 4-D Time Travel Adventure, has surround sound, 3-D visual effects, and a theater experience that includes moving seats and spraying mist that make you feel part of the action.
The film revisits important moments in history to show the issues journalist faced on assignment and the importance of the power of the press during momentous times. It’s a great way to show kids the influence of mass media and the importance of a well-informed society.
Price: Free with Newseum admission
Running time: 15 minutes
Showtimes: Every 30 minutes. First show at 9:30 A.M. and last show at 4:30 P.M.
Showing at Mount Vernon:
When you visit George Washington's Mount Vernon estate, you’ll get a sense for what life was like during the time of the American Revolution. Tour the family’s famous mansion, walk through Washington's living farm and gardens, and take your time learning from exhibits and artifacts at the estate’s historical museum that is filled with treasures from teh Washington family.
You also should stop by The Ford Orientation Center, which offers a fast-paced, multimedia experience about some of the most pivotal battles of the Revolutionary War. The movie’s narration and visual effects focus on the strategy and tactics of the War, while special effects in the theater convey a sense of the conditions endured by the soldiers, including wafting smoke, falling snow, and drifting fog.
The theater also features stadium-style seating and ultra-high-definition video that is projected on a pair of large, angled screens for a great view from any seat.
The show, Commander in Chief: A 4-D Revolutionary War Movie, is a must-see for any student group that has studied the American Revolution and the leadership of General Washington.
Price: Free with admission to Mount Vernon
Running time: 20 minutes
Showtimes: Plays every 30 minutes
Showing at the U.S. Capitol:
The United States Capitol is one of the most recognizable symbols of representative democracy in the world. It also is a working office building, art gallery, and learning center for visitor.
If you are taking a tour, you will start in one of the orientation theaters with a film about the challenges of establishing the world's first truly representative democracy which also serves an introduction to the guided tour.
The narration and cinematography are well done and taking a seat inside the stadium-style theater it will give you a chance to rest your feet before the walking tour.
Price: Free with a tour pass that must be obtained in advance.
Running time: 13 minutes
Showtimes: Continuous during hours of U.S. Capitol Tours that operate from 8:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. every Monday through Saturday (except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year's Day and on Inauguration Day).
Showing at the Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater at the National Air & Space Museum and Samuel C. Johnson IMAX Theater at the National Museum of Natural History
The Smithsonian Museums in Washington, D.C. are dedicated “to inspiring curiosity, discovery, and learning.” You will have the chance to see collections that can not be seen anywhere else and learn from exhibits that are curated by leading academics and field experts.
Two Smithsonian Museums offer IMAX movie experiences that complement the educational exhibits found in their adjacent museums.
Schedules are found online for the IMAX theaters at the Natural History Museum and the National Air & Space Museum. Group leaders should work with a tour coordinator to reserve advance tickets to a show that will enrich your areas of study.
Prices: Discounts are available for groups. General entry tickets are $7.50 - $9.
Showtimes: Movies are shown between 10:00 A.M. - 6:00 P.M. Check the schedule online for show information and schedules.
To help make the most of your touring time, please contact a tour consultant at NationsClassroom. Our experienced tour coordinators will help you plan an educational experience that is fun and memorable for everyone.
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