Field Trips, Capital Area Visitor Services and Raleigh Group Visits

0SCHEDULED in 2019 In 2019, CAVS scheduled over 314,000 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 . 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. (e.g. 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

Parking: The bus unloading zone is in front of the Legislative Building at 16 West Jones St. The 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.

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 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

The North Carolina Executive Mansion is the official residence of the Governor of North Carolina and their family. Building began in the year 1883 and it was designed by architects Samuel Sloan and A.G. Bauer. The North Carolina’s Executive Mansion is not only home to the Governor, it is the “people’s house.” The building is also a meeting space, historic site, and an elegant event location. In addition, thousands of visitors visit during public tour season and during the holiday open house. Governor Roy Cooper is the thirtieth governor to live in the Mansion. He is the seventieth person to hold this office in North Carolina since the end of the American Revolution.
Legislative Building

Legislative Building

Legislative Building

The North Carolina Legislative Building has suspended public operations due to COVID-19.  Please stay tuned for details about how and when we will welcome visitors back to the 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

Welcome to the North Carolina Museum of History!

Visitors from around the world travel to the North Carolina Museum of History, a Smithsonian affiliate, to discover fascinating secrets and hidden gems from our state's past. Located at 5 East Edenton Street in the heart of downtown Raleigh, across from the Capitol, the state history museum welcomes more than 465,000 visitors a year, including 83,000+ school groups. You can contact the Museum at (919) 814-7000. The fax number is (919) 733-8655​.

The North Carolina Museum of History is now open to the public with some new procedures in place to help ensure the safety of staff and visitors.

  • Limiting visitors to 300 people at a time in the museum, to allow a comfortable visit to the museum.
  • Requiring cloth masks to enter the museum, as outlined in Executive Order 163. Children under the age of two should NOT wear cloth masks.
  • Installing hand sanitizer stations and increasing the frequency of cleaning high touch public areas and restrooms.
  • Installing protective barriers at sales counters and information desks.
  • Our Museum Shop will be open with reduced hours and limited capacity.
  • Interactive exhibit features will be paused or modified.
  • A map will highlight safety measures (sanitizer stations) and paused or “no-touch” (removed or blocked) visitor experiences. A QR code will be available for a touchless experience.

Admission is FREE. Tickets are NOT required for entry. Hours of operation will be as follows:


  • Tuesday–Saturday: 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
  • Sunday: Noon–5 p.m.
  • Closed Mondays and some holidays


“We are very excited to welcome the public back to the museum," said Ken Howard, Director of the North Carolina Museum of History. "We, as an institution, believe in the importance of learning from history, including events happening in the present day. The Museum has adopted new safety procedures, following NCDHHS guidelines, to present our visitors with the safest and most enjoyable experience."

Visitors are expected to follow the “Three W’s” as outlined by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services – WEAR a cloth mask over your nose and mouth, WAIT in line at least six feet away from others, and WASH your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer. If you are experiencing symptoms of illness, we ask that you postpone your visit.

Nearby the museum is convenient parking, restaurants, and many other family-friendly attractions.

The Museum is closed on New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. 

The North Carolina Museum of History, our spectacular downtown monument to all that is North Carolina.” – The News and Observer

You can contact the Museum at (919) 814-7000. The fax number is (919) 733-8655​.

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 in downtown Raleigh is open Tuesday-Sunday, 10am–4pm, with some new procedures and new plans in place to help ensure the safety of visitors and staff. On a daily basis, health and safety guidelines are being rigorously followed and monitored by staff.

Reserved, timed tickets are no longer necessary, but the Museum will still be restricting the number of visitors within the building in accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order 181.

When is the best time to visit NCMNS in downtown Raleigh?

  • Tuesday through Friday is a great time to visit. Typically the Museum is less busy, and the only line you may experience is at 10:00am prior to the Museum opening.
  • We are busiest on Saturday and Sunday. Wait times are usual on weekends. Last entry is at 3:30pm. The building closes at 4:00pm.

Please note we do not have a space inside where guests can wait to enter. Lines form outside.

Please check this page before visiting, and follow the Museum on TwitterFacebook and Instagram for the most up-to-date information. For additional questions email or see the FAQs. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Hours (Downtown Raleigh)


Wear a mask to keep those near you safe.

  • Per Gov. Cooper’s Executive Order 163, proper face coverings are required of all Museum staff and visitors (age 5 and up).
  • Cloth face coverings are available for purchase in the Museum Store.
  • Enhanced cleaning of the facilities will take place multiple times throughout the day.
  • Hand sanitizer stations are accessible throughout the Museum.
  • Water fountains will not be in use.
  • The Museum’s daily onsite programming is temporarily postponed for the health and safety of visitors.
  • Visitors are encouraged to follow the “Three Ws” as outlined by the N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services — WEAR a cloth face covering; WAIT in line at least six feet away from others, and WASH hands frequently or use hand sanitizer.
  • If you are experiencing symptoms of illness, we ask that you postpone your visit.

WEAR a cloth face covering; WAIT in line at least six feet away from others, and WASH hands frequently or use hand sanitizer

Download the Museum's new Reopening Map


Areas within the downtown Museum that will remain closed during the initial opening period include:

  • WRAL 3D Theater (3D movies)
  • Windows on the World (Storytime and Meet the Animals)
  • Living Conservatory (aka “the butterfly room”)
  • Discovery Room
  • The hands-on Investigate Labs and the Naturalist Center
  • Additional small permanent exhibits (areas) where social distancing is not possible
  • Complete list of closed areas on the FAQ page

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State Capitol

State Capitol

State Capitol

The North Carolina State Capitol has suspended public operations due to COVID-19. The grounds are open for visitation. Stay tuned for details about how and when we will welcome visitors back to the State Capitol.

What's New Now

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. Many restaurants can provide these lunches with a two-week advance notice. Contact them directly for menu options, prices, and arrangements.

  • Daily Planet Café (in the Nature Research Center Wing at the Museum of Natural Sciences): 919-707-8060