Rockville Town Square and Hotel
1 Renaissance Street, Rockville, MD, 20850
The hotel location is truly outstanding. This brand new hotel is located in the center of the Rockville Town Square, a newly developed area that is designed for walking to everything. It allows easy access (within 1/2 mile) to over 20 varied restaurants, 2 grocery stores and other stores, a brand new library, a stage for outdoor concerts and the beautiful historic St. Mary’s Catholic Church (established in 1812). All of these are a short walk from the hotel and will allow us the type of flexibility we are looking for when it comes to evening activities for your group.
Washington D.C.’s City Center
We will visit the Smithsonian American History Museum and Arlington National Cemetery and the Iwo Jima memorial. See John F. Kennedy’s tomb, the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and witness the changing of the guard ceremony. See the White House, the Washington Monument, the World War II Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the FDR memorial, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. Learn from your host faculty about the importance that each of these men and each of these wars on American history.
The Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum
This newer Smithsonian Air and Space airplane hangar museum devoted to the study of aeronautics and historic planes allows visitors to walk among artifacts on the floor and view hanging aircraft from elevated skyways. Many engines, rockets, satellites, helicopters, airliners, ultra-lights, and one of the space shuttles are all on display for the first time in a museum setting. This complex of hangars is the largest Air and Space museum complex in the world and includes the new addition of the NASA Space Shuttle Discovery. “The Dream is Alive” is an award winning educational film on the role of humans in space exploration. The National Air and Space Museum is also celebrating over 100 years of powered flight with a major exhibition about the Wright brothers and a NASA section for the Space Shuttle.
The Maryland Science Center
The MD Science Center is the largest Museum devoted to science in Maryland. We encourage you to learn more about the many impressive exhibits. This Museum focuses on introducing campers to scientific concepts through hands on experimentation. Hundreds of scientific experiments, engineering tools for learning, and demonstrations can be experienced directly. The Davis Planetarium is a center devoted to understanding and teaching about deep space and the physical forces that drive the formation of stars. Students will have the opportunity to buy lunch at the Baltimore Inner Harbor food court or bring lunch from home.
The National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes
Mount St. Mary’s College, MD
This favorite location nestled into the mountains is a replica of Lourdes, France and is a place of great natural beauty. The group will stop here for the Rosary.
The Basilica Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
At a meeting of the American hierarchy in 1852, Archbishop Kenrick commented, “Elizabeth Seton did more for the church in America than all of us bishops together. Unmistakably, Elizabeth Seton is a seminal character in the history of America’s Catholic church.” She was the first American saint to be canonized by the Vatican and is considered the founder of the parochial school system in the United States. Most of her work was centralized in this mountainous region as she founded the Sisters of Charity.
We will visit the battlefield site that changed the direction of the American Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln’s most famous speech The Gettysburg Address was also delivered at this location. We will visit the museum as well as the battlefield. This is one of the most historically significant locations in the entire region because if this three day battle had ended differently the United States would have been divided into two countries.
Experience some of the 60 acres of caverns located beneath the earth’s surface. Our group will tour these famous caverns and learn about how caves are formed over millions of years. What causes a cave and how does a cave constantly change? What is a stalagmite? What is a stalactite? We will also learn about the conservation of natural resources such as Luray caverns. While we are in the cavern, our group will enjoy a concert from the largest and only all-natural, underground echo organ. Bring a few pennies to throw into the copper underground lake.
The Car Museum
Over 100 cars from the early 1900’s are on display. Taking a walk through this museum is like taking a walk through time and seeing the phases of transportation based technology. This collection represents one of the largest collections in the United States of this kind.
Over 20,000 acres of wilderness and wildlife that is set on top of a famous road (Skyline Drive) that transverses that tops of the Appalachian Mountain range, including Hogback Mountain at 3,385 ft where beautiful vista views of the Shenandoah Valley can be seen.
The National Zoo
We will travel to the National Zoo to learn more in a firsthand way about some of the 2,000 animals from 400 different species in these exhibits. Campers may “choose their own adventure” as part of a scavenger hunt with the following animal houses available to them in teacher led sequence tours: Amazonia, Asia Trail, Beaver Valley, Bird House, Cheetah Station, Elephant House, Great Cats, Great Apes, Giant Pandas, Lemur island, Reptile Discovery Center, and the Small Mammal House.
The United States Botanic Garden
Steeped in history, rich with tradition, the United States Botanic Garden (USBG) is a living plant museum that informs visitors about the importance, and often irreplaceable value, of plants to the well-being of humans and to earth’s fragile ecosystems.
The National Gallery of Art
The famous Gallery of Art represents the largest, most priceless, and most varied art collection in this area of the United States. The National Gallery of Art was conceived and given to the people of the United States by Andrew W. Mellon (1855–1937). Mellon was a financier and art collector from Pittsburgh who came to Washington in 1921 to serve as secretary of the treasury. During his years of public service he came to believe that the United States should have a national art museum equal to those of other great nations.
Catoctin Mountains National Park
Catoctin Mountain Park, located in north-central Maryland, is part of the forested Catoctin Mountain ridge−range that forms the northeastern rampart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, in the Appalachian Mountains System, It is also home to Cunningham Falls, the longest waterfall in the state of Maryland which leads to a pristine mountain lake where we will go swimming.
Founded in 1789, Georgetown University is the oldest Catholic university in the United States. Located along the Potomac River that runs through the city, Georgetown is also known as the ‘Hilltop”. We will visit the historic Dahlgren Chapel and take in views of the city from the tower. We will travel to Georgetown University for lunch and a tour of several major parts of the University, including the science facilities and demo labs, historic Riggs Library, the McDonough Gymnasium, and the Healy tower.
The Basilica National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
The Catholic University, Washington, DC
The largest Church in all of the Americas, the Basilica is a place that combines beautiful Architecture, Art, and History in a sacred space. The Basilica is the location of prior visits from the Pope and is found on the Catholic University of America’s campus.
The Catholic University of America
As the national university of the Catholic Church in the United States, founded and sponsored by the bishops of the country with the approval of the Holy See, The Catholic University of America is committed to being a comprehensive Catholic and American institution of higher learning, faithful to the teachings of Jesus Christ as handed on by the Church. Dedicated to advancing the dialogue between faith and reason, The Catholic University of America seeks to discover and impart the truth through excellence in teaching and research, all in service to the Church, the nation and the world.
Great Falls National Park
Great Falls Maryland is a National Park and one of the most significant geographical locations in the entire region. www.nps.gov/grfa This hike parallels along the Potomac River. The area is a geological phenomenon and it represents one of the last undeveloped bedrock terrace habitats in the mid- Atlantic region. With a particularly interesting geological history, this section of the river was formed as a result of a slow plate shift collision in the earth’s upper mantle that buried an ancient seabed under a continental plate and lead to an abundance of bedrock that is still exposed today giving the many unique shapes and contours along the hike. Students will hike up and along these rocks and take in views of the Potomac’s Mather River Gorge. During the hike, students will learn about the process of erosion and the role it plays in land formation and rock exposure. It is a tradition at The Heights that students learn to observe their surroundings in nature and understand the forces that shape our local environment. Boys will be permitted to walk/wade in a nearby creek but not in or around the Potomac River.
Baltimore National Aquarium
We will tour the Aquarium full of all types of aquatic animals including sharks, rays, jellyfish, and squid. There is also a new exhibit on Australian marine biology as well as a new exhibit on jellyfish. The aquarium is the leading attraction in Baltimore and has just opened some new exhibits. The boy’s favorite exhibit is often getting to be just feet away from enormous sharks behind glass.
Smithsonian Natural History Museum
We will travel to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum and go behind the scenes of the many exhibits for a chance to see the work of the many Smithsonian Scientists. The many exhibits will include: Gems, Minerals, the Live Insect Zoo, Ancient Cultures, Mammals, Aquatic Animals, Prehistoric Fossils, Giant Squids, The Dinosaur Age, and Winged Mammals. The newest exhibit includes an opportunity for exploring the Smithsonian’s archives of artifacts in the basement of the museum. We will see an IMAX film on marine biology which represents over 90% of all life found on planet earth.
Smithsonian Air and Space Museum
We will travel to the National Air and Space Museum to see the many exhibits displayed there, including: Comets, Meteors, Rockets, the Race to the Moon, The Military and Aviation: World War I, WWII, NASA, Astronomy, Aerodynamics, and Famous Jets. There is also a fantastic new exhibit on Mars. After touring the Museum, we will see the Air and Space IMAX film about the operational expertise and launch of the world’s most elaborate Space telescope that allows us to see the far reaches of the universe. We have connected our learning today with our trip to NASA. This special telescope changed the study of the cosmos and was assembled at NASA. We will also continue our study of the various ways that astronauts have come back down to earth from outer space and what the next phase of space exploration will be.
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
A special Space Suit demonstration and a tour of the facility will take place. A presentation on the famous Hubble Space Telescope will provide the details and pictures behind the world’s most successful long-distance telescope. We will also learn about the many things that the Hubble has taught us regarding the birth and death of stars, nebulae, and black holes. The trip will include a tour of the world’s largest “clean room”, an enormous cargo room where NASA assembles equipment that must be clean of 99.99% of anything larger than a 0.3 micron (which is about the size of the smallest blood cell). We will see a full-scale model of the Hubble Space Telescope as well as the scientists at work in the clean room. There will be a presentation on the experiences of astronauts while in space followed by the opportunity to see the facility that is the ground control for the NASA Hubble Space Telescope. After the tour, campers will be able to participate in a unique information scavenger hunt competition. There will be a lesson on the NASA Hubble Space Telescope. The Hubble Space Telescope is the largest earth orbiting telescope which takes direct pictures of far away galaxies and provides NASA with photos of the furthest reaches of our galaxy. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is where the Hubble space telescope was assembled. The lesson will also include an introduction to the newest NASA telescope, the James Webb Deep Space Telescope.
We will visit the Lincoln memorial and earn more about this man who was President during the American Civil War and was instrumental in his leadership role. Under Lincoln’s leadership the Union was preserved, slaves were freed, and the country weathered more homeland battles than any other time in United States history.
We will visit several different swim center locations with waterslides and diving boards in Rockville, Greenbelt, and Germantown. Swimming is an option each week of the summer.
The Washington Monument
We will visit the tallest monument in Washington, D.C. dedicated to our first president, George Washington.
Sports and Games
The Heights School
We will have regularly scheduled times for athletic activities on The Heights School campus.
United States Capitol and US Library of Congress
We will visit the center of American democracy, the United States Capitol. Our group will have a tour of the inside where the United States Congress and the United States Senate meet and visit the Rotunda dome. We will also visit the nearby Library of Congress, which houses the largest collection of books in the United States.
National’s Park and Field
The group will experience America’s pastime, as we attend a Washington National’s game at National’s Park in D.C. Nationals Park is located in Southeast Washington, south of the Capitol, along the fast-developing Capitol Riverfront adjacent to the Navy Yard. The new park not only redefines modern sports facility architecture but also serves as the catalyst and cornerstone of a new mixed-use Capitol Riverfront in our nation’s capital.