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Field Trips, Capital Area Visitor Services and Raleigh Group Visits

0SCHEDULED in 2018 In 2018, CAVS scheduled over 313,000 visitors combined for the five sites we service.


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.

Scheduling a Tour

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. When planning to visit the State Capitol, Legislative Building, or Executive Mansion it is better to book 7-8 months in advance. 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 919-814-7000 / 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 919-814-6950

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)  If a group vacillates from an assigned tour time on the day of their trip, their tour to that specific site may be lost due to schedule conflicts.

Once you get here

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 are serviced by 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 (20 or more for the State Capitol) can be made for our venues through this platform. 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 for the Mansion tours and 30 people for the Garden tours. Tour times for the Mansion are 945am, 1015am, 145pm, 215pm, and 245pm. Tour times for the Gardens are 930am and 1030am. Plan to arrive on time, as tours begin precisely on time. For more information, or tours for groups less than 10 persons contact

Fall 2019 Mansion Tours available September 18 to November 7 (Wednesdays and Thursdays only).

Fall 2019 Garden Tours available September 25 to October 24 (Children tours Wednesday, Adult tours Thursday).

Holiday Open House: Dec. 12th 6-9pm, Dec. 13th 10am-5pm, Dec. 14th 10am-5pm, and Dec. 15th 1-4pm (No reservations necessary during Open House).

Spring 2020 Mansion Tours available March 18 to June 11 (Wednesdays and Thursdays only).

Spring 2020 Garden Tours available April 1 to May 28 (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.

 After you receive a confirmation from our office to visit to the Executive Mansion, please complete the information at the below link

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

Guidelines for visiting the NC General Assembly – Legislative Building

Welcome to the North Carolina General Assembly! Tour times are Monday through Friday, starting at 9am going until 330pm. Tours are in 30-minute increments and max out at 65 per time slot. We are looking forward to your group visiting the Legislature and appreciate you scheduling the visit through the Capital Area Visitors Center. There are multiple tours scheduled throughout the day and we must begin each tour promptly.  We ask that you please make every effort to arrive on time with your entire group.  Below are several strongly suggested guidelines to keep in mind while visiting the General Assembly to ensure the best and most enjoyable experience possible.

  • ARRIVAL AND REGISTRATION - Upon arrival to the General Assembly, please have your students gather in a single file line behind the visitors and guests sign at the front entrance of the building located on Jones Street.  The teachers are responsible for the registration of their group. Please enter through the door marked appropriately for registration.   Parents, adults, and chaperones should not be responsible for any part of registration.  Teachers should come to the front desk to register, receive classroom materials, be given specific instructions, and meet their Building Guide.
  • SECURITY AND SCREENING - The Legislative Building now has a NEW security screening procedure in place for all visitors.  In order to ensure the best possible experience, there are several recommendations that will expedite screening. All students, teachers, parents, adults, and chaperones will be required to go through screening upon entry to the building.  In order to accelerate this procedure we are requesting that students leave all non-essential items including backpacks, cell phones, etc. (excluding medical items), on their respective bus.  We also ask that items not left on the bus, including souvenirs, be left outside with 2 or 3 adults while the tour takes place.  Below are prohibited items inside the Legislature:

Prohibited Items Through Screening Process

  • Aerosol containers
  • Electric stun guns, martial arts weapons or devices
  • Knives of any size
  • Mace and pepper spray
  • Guns, replica guns, ammunition, and fireworks
  • Any weapon facsimile
  • Razors and box cutters
  • Pets or animals (Guide and assistance animals are permitted)
  • Batons and nightsticks
  • Signs on handsticks
  • Any other item or device that can be considered a dangerous weapon


The Building Guide will lead the group into the screening area.  The Building Guide must be followed by the teacher, students next for screening, with parents, adults and chaperones remaining at the end of the line to be screened last.

We recommend following the above listed procedures carefully as any failure to follow the above guidelines may result in a delay for your group.  We greatly appreciate your cooperation with these NEW security measures.  We look forward to seeing you at the General Assembly and serving the needs of your group during its upcoming visit to the State Legislative Building!

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.

*Important* The State Capitol will undergo restoration beginning in September 2019. The scope of this project includes painting, plaster repair, restoration of historic finishes, and stone cleaning. Work is expected to last 6-9 months. The building will remain open to the public, however, for the safety of visitors and staff, certain areas will be closed while work is underway and tours may be limited. We thank you for your patience and appreciate your understanding as we work to ensure the State Capitol maintains its historic appearance and continues to serve generations of North Carolinians to come.   

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 9:45 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.