Capital Area Visitor Services



                Capital Area Visitor Services(CAVS) is the gateway to Raleigh, the city that has served as the capital of North Carolina since 1792. CAVS was established by the state in 1976 as a Bicentennial project. It is now a permanent point of contact for more than 300,000 annual visitors to Raleigh’s state-owned cultural and historic attractions.


                CAVS schedules and coordinates tours of historic state-owned points of interest. Visits must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance; however, earlier scheduling allows more flexibility, permits time for delivery of your written itinerary and opens more options for your trip. To schedule through CAVS, you need to have at least 10 persons in your group (at least 20 persons for the State Capitol). For groups smaller than this, please contact the site directly at the following numbers: State Capitol 919-733-4995 / Legislative Building 919-733-7928 / Executive Mansion 919-715-3962/ NC Museum of History 919-807-7900 / NC Museum of Natural Sciences 919-707-9805. To have CAVS schedule your group, here’s what you do:

Visit our website at / Email us at / Call us at 919-807-7950

                If you represent a group, you should contact us at least one month in advance so that you will have a better chance of getting the tour times you want. Before you contact us please consider,

A.            The date of your visit. Since Raleigh’s visitation is heaviest in March, April, and May, it may be more difficult to secure tour times in these months. Try to schedule from June through February for a more personal, relaxed visit.

B.            Time limits. Schedule your itinerary time by adding the tour times shown on the website, and add 15 minutes for travel time between each site. (i.e. State Capitol 30 minute tour, 15 minute transition time plus Museum of History 60 minute tour time equals total tour time of 1 hour and 45 minutes)


CAVS Offers:

1 Brochures Free materials that tell you more about historical, cultural, educational, and recreational places to visit are available at many of the sites that you will visit.

2 Parking A bus unloading zone is in front of the Legislative Building at 16 West Jones St. A bus parking lot is located at 201 E. Jones St. Those driving personal vehicles will have to utilize regular downtown parking. Please visit this link for more parking information.


We'll sign you up differently depending upon the number of venues you plan to visit. Which of the following options best describes your group's plans?

What's New Now

Click on the tabs below to learn more about each of the venues that participate in Capital Area Visitor Services, including infomation on what you'll see, security procedures and pre-visit resources to make your trip a success.

Tours for groups of 10 or more can be made for all venues through the same system. All reservations must be made at least two weeks in advance.

Executive Mansion

Executive Mansion

Executive Mansion

This site must be booked at least two weeks in advance, no exceptions. Tours at this location are ONLY offered on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Groups to the Executive Mansion are limited to 60 people. Plan to arrive five minutes before your tour, as tours begin precisely on time. For more information, or tours for groups less than 10 persons contact

Spring 2018 Mansion Tours available March 14 to June 21. (Wednesdays and Thursdays only).

Spring 2018 Garden Tours available April 4 to May 31, Children tours Wednesday, Adult tours Thursday. 

The North Carolina Executive Mansion, designed by prominent architect Samuel Sloan, is one of the state’s architectural gems and serves as a repository for a fine collection of 18th and 19th century North Carolina furnishings and paintings.

Completed in 1891, the house has been home to the state’s governors and their families and has served as a political, social, and cultural center of the state for more than 100 years. The house is one of the few executive mansions in the nation built specifically for that purpose. Admission is free.

Security Procedures

Tours at the Executive Mansion fall under federal Homeland Security guidelines. One of the requirements at the Executive Mansion is a list of all names of all individuals in your group; this includes children in school groups. Two weeks before your scheduled tour, you need to submit several pieces of information about your group online. A separate listing is required for each assigned time. Your group will not be allowed to tour the Executive Mansion if this information is not furnished or if it arrives too late.

Other security measures include

  • Once a tour of the Executive Mansion has entered the grounds, the gates are locked, and no one else will be admitted.
  • Picture ID required for adults.
  • No bags or stroller allowed inside.
  • Cameras are allowed, but no cases.
  • No cell phone use inside the Mansion.
  • Metal detector used before entry. 

In addition, NO PUBLIC RESTROOMS are available.

Before Your Visit to the Executive Mansion

Fill Out a Pre-Visit Name Form

This overview of the North Carolina Executive Mansion and its history may help you plan your visit.

Learn More Book Your Tour Today

Restrooms are only available at the N.C. Museum of History.

Legislative Building

Legislative Building

Legislative Building

This site must be booked at least two weeks in advance, no exceptions. Tours are limited to 60 people and run from 8:30 a.m. through 3:30 p.m., beginning every 30 minutes. For more information, contact Ann Brooks at 919-733-7929 or

The Legislative Building is home to the North Carolina General Assembly and is unique in that it is devoted solely to the legislative branch of state government.

The architect for the building was Edward Durrell Stone. Completed in January 1963 the building is classical in character. Rising from a broad 340-foot wide podium of North Carolina granite, the marble-faced building is encompassed by a colonnade of square columns reaching from the podium to the main roof of the second floor. 

From the main entrance, the red-carpeted staircase leads directly to the third floor where visitors may view the Senate and House Chambers. In addition to the chambers, the Legislative Building includes members’ offices, committee rooms, an auditorium, press facilities, administrative offices, and a cafeteria. One of the special features of the building are the four garden courts located at the four corners of the first floor. Free Admission. 

Before Your Visit to the Legislative Building

To help you plan your visit to the Legislative Building, you might find some of these links helpful:

Learn More Book Your Tour Today

Restrooms are only available at the N.C. Museum of History.

N.C. Museum of History

N.C. Museum of History

North Carolina Museum of History

The North Carolina Museum of History has championed the history of North Carolina and its people for more than 100 years, telling the stories of generations of Tar Heels alongside those of recent arrivals.

The museum presents long-term and changing exhibitions that include artifacts and photographs, along with audiovisual and hands-on components. An exciting calendar of programs and activities provides people of all ages multiple chances to experience North Carolina’s rich heritage.

The Museum is open seven days a week. Admission is free.

Before Your Visit to the N.C. Museum of History

To help you plan your visit to the Museum of History, you might find some of these links helpful:

Learn More Book Your Tour Today

N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences

N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is the largest museum of its kind in the Southeast. Through our exhibits, programs, and field experiences, we provide visitors with opportunities to get up close and personal with science and nature.

The Museum in downtown Raleigh is open every day of the year except New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.


  • Monday–Saturday: 9am–5pm
  • Sunday: noon–5pm

General Admission

Free / Donations Welcome!

Field Trip Options

School groups who wish to visit the Museum have the following field trip options. All options require pre-registration, but each option has different scheduling instructions.

  1. Schedule a self-guided tour of the Museum with the Capital Area Visitor Services

    Groups who would like to include a visit to a fee-based Featured Exhibition or 3D movie must first schedule their Museum visit through CAVS. After receiving a confirmation number, the group leader should then contact the Museum box office at (919) 707-9950 to make reservations.

    Groups with special needs can make arrangements for programs or tours tailored specifically to their needs. For more information, go to Special Populations.

    Schedule Self-Guided Tour to Museum of Natural Sciences

  2. Schedule a fee-based curriculum-correlated program at the Nature Exploration Center

  3. Schedule a fee-based curriculum-correlated program at the Nature Research Center

Before Your Visit to the Museum of Natural Sciences

Additional information to help you plan your visit.

Learn More

State Capitol

State Capitol

State Capitol

Please note that CAVS is not able to guarantee guided tours at the Capitol due to limited spacing. The best way to ensure that your group will receive a guided tour is to book your reservation early. Please continue to use CAVS to schedule your visit to the Capitol.  If you have specific questions about limitations at the Capitol, please contact the Capitol at 919-733-4995.

This site must be booked at least two weeks in advance, no exceptions. Please note these important changes: To arrange a visit to the State Capitol, your group must be between 20-35 people and cannot consist of more than one class. Tours run from 9 a.m. through 2:30 p.m. and begin every 15 minutes.

The North Carolina State Capitol, designed by Ithiel Town and Alexander Davis of New York, has remained virtually unchanged in appearance since its completion in 1840 and is recognized as one of the finest examples of Greek Revival civic architecture still standing in America.

Inside, the original 1840 legislative furniture, constructed by a local cabinetmaker, is preserved by the State of North Carolina as a historic shrine. Many political and social events have taken place in these chambers, among them the Secession Convention of 1861; the Constitutional Conventions of 1865, 1868, and 1875; and the impeachment of Governor William W. Holden in 1871.

Admission is free.

Security Procedures

Tours at the State Capitol also fall under tight security measures. Be sure to be familiar with these regulations. NO PUBLIC RESTROOMS are available at the Capitol.

Before Your Visit to the Capitol

Please note that the State Capitol is closed on Mondays. To help you plan your visit to the Capitol, you might find some of these links helpful:

Learn More Book Your Trip

Restrooms are only available at the N.C. Museum of History.

School Group Lunches

Raleigh's downtown sides do not have have indoor dining facilities for groups. Fire regulations prohibit groups from sitting inside the facilities while eating and do not allow waiting inside to escape the weather.

Several tables with seating are available in Fletcher Garden, between the Museum of History and the Museum of Natural Sciences. Buses may stop along Jones Street long enough to unload lunches but they may not park at the curb. Tables may not be reserved. Groups are responsible for cleaning up after themselves, so bring heavy-duty garbage bags to collect trash for disposal.

Picnicking in the park behind the Archives and History/State Library Building is also allowed. Buses may stop along the Lane Street side of the park long enough to unload lunches but they may not park near the picnic area.

Check out the map to the right to see where your group can eat lunch.

On days with inclement weather, you will need to eat lunch on your buses. If your bus has had to park at the Museum of Art, you must have a way to contact your bus driver.

You may purchase brown-bag or box lunches for eating outside. Restaurants in the Museum of History and the Museum of Natural Sciences can provide these lunches with a two-week advance notice. Contact them directly for menu options, prices, and arrangements.


  • Pharaoh’s (at the Museum of History): 919-807-7879
  • Daily Planet Café (in the Nature Research Center Wing at the Museum of Natural Sciences): 919-707-8060
  • Agriculture Cafe (at the Dept. of Agriculture Building ): 919-733-7203




0SCHEDULED in 2017 In 2017, CAVS scheduled over 320,000 visitors combined for the five sites we service.