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.

Welcome

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 nccapvisit.org / Email us at capitalarea.visitorservices@ncdcr.gov / 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: 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.

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

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

Governor Cooper has announced that under Phase 3 of his plan to ease COVID-19 restrictions, museums, aquariums, and historic sites can soon partially open to the public. We’re looking forward to seeing you again soon! 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

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. Click here to learn more.
Welcome to the North Carolina Museum of History!

Visitors from around the world travel to the North Carolina Museum of History 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.

The North Carolina Museum of History will open to the public Thursday, September 10, 2020, with some new procedures in place to help ensure the safety of staff and visitors.

  • Limiting visitors to 250 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.
  • All exhibits will be open except the smaller Tar Heel Junior Historian Discovery Gallery.
  • 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 gift shop will be open with 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.

Hours of operation will be as follows:

  • Tuesday – Saturday: 9 am – 11 am for immune-compromised and senior citizens
  • Tuesday – Saturday: 11 am – 5 pm for the general public
  • Sunday: 12 pm – 5 pm for the general public

“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.

The Museum is open every day except New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. 

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 will reopen to the public beginning September 22 with some new procedures, new hours and new plans in place to help ensure the safety of visitors and staff.

The biggest change is that free, timed-entry tickets will be required as the Museum will be opening at a limited capacity to start. Visitors can reserve tickets at the link below. Please check this page before visiting, and follow the Museum on social media (@naturalsciences) for the most up-to-date information. For additional questions email info@naturalsciences.org or see the FAQs. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Free timed-entry tickets

New temporary hours (downtown Raleigh)


NEW SAFETY MEASURES

Wear a mask to keep those near you safe. This simple act is an important gesture of kindness and respect and can help save lives by reducing the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

  • Per Gov. Cooper’s Executive Order 163, proper face coverings are required of all Museum staff and visitors (age 5 and up) when proper social distancing cannot be met/maintained.
  • 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

TEMPORARILY CLOSED AREAS

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
  • All hands-on Investigate Labs
  • The Naturalist Center
  • Additional small permanent exhibits (areas) where social distancing is not possible
  • Complete list of closed areas on the FAQ page

Top of page


FREE ADVANCE TIMED-ENTRY TICKETS

For the health and safety of our downtown Raleigh guests we have made changes to our operations. Free timed-entry tickets will be required for all visitors.

Things to know about our new online ticketing process:

  • A limited number of tickets will be available daily, scheduled every fifteen minutes from 10:00am – 3:15pm
  • Reserve your ticket today
  • After confirming your reservation, you’ll receive an email containing a barcode.
  • To enter the Museum, present your device or a printout of your email with the barcode.
  • Visitors will be able to enter the Museum through the main entrance to the Nature Exploration Center, with a reservation.
  • Once inside the Museum, guests may stay as long as they like, until closing time at 4:00pm. Please arrive 15 minutes early.
  • Reservations are not transferable to another day.
  • Reentry will require a new reservation.
  • Guests who do not have a timed reservation will be asked to acquire one prior to entry.
  • Members are also required to make a reservation.

Groups

School groups

School groups who visit the Museum have two field trip options. For details about these options, please go to Plan Your Field Trip.

Non-school groups

Groups of 10 or fewer can reserve free tickets online.

Groups larger than 10 are not allowed within the first phase of reopening.

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

 

State Capitol

State Capitol

State Capitol

Governor Cooper has announced that under Phase 3 of his plan to ease COVID-19 restrictions, museums, aquariums, and historic sites can soon partially open to the public. We’re looking forward to seeing you again soon! Stay tuned for details about how and when we will welcome visitors back to the State Capitol.

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