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Editor’s Note: During this period of social distancing, Student Group Tour magazine will continue to provide ideas for planning educational travel. Many attractions and destinations are closed at this time; please contact them directly for updated information.


Located halfway between Washington, D.C. and New York City, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, offers a mix of big city and small town, with seemingly endless options for student groups.

“Valley Forge and Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, is the ultimate student group destination,” said Marc Kaminetsky, CTIS, director of sports, tourism & convention sales for the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board. “Students can immerse themselves in history, while also enjoying some of the adrenaline-rushing adventures such as indoor skydiving at iFly and zip lining at Elmwood Park Zoo. Being only 18 miles from Center City Philadelphia, Valley Forge is a must for all student groups coming to the area.”

iFly King of Prussia
iFly King of Prussia, King of Prussia, Pa.
Credit: Dylan Eddinger for VFTCB

As one of the country’s most historically significant destinations, Valley Forge fits perfectly into students’ curriculum. Valley Forge National Historical Park shares the fascinating story of the Continental Army and its quest for liberty. Students can participate in bus tours, walking tours and guided bike trips.

The Valley Forge National Historical Park has been undergoing a $14 million renovation of the 18,376-square-foot visitor center. It’s the building’s first major overhaul since 1976 and includes new immersive exhibits, a new theater and five new films.

Peter Wentz Farmstead
Peter Wentz Farmstead, Lansdale, Pa.
Credit: Dylan Eddinger for VFTCB

Another not-to-miss stop is the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove, where students can explore 175 acres of landscape, and enjoy interpretive demonstrations with live great horned owls and red-tailed hawks. Last year, the center celebrated its grand opening of a new 18,000-square-foot museum and nature-based facility.

Students can see more animals at Elmwood Park Zoo, a 95-year-old institution with animal encounters designed for maximum viewing. Students can eat at Treetop Café before hand-feeding a bison or a giraffe. Throw some exhilaration into the curriculum at the on-site Treetop Adventures, a zip line that sends students soaring right over the animal enclosures.

Student can keep the adrenaline pumping with indoor skydiving at iFly King of Prussia. The iFly staff can augment a visit with educational content and on-site catering.

Giraffe at Elmwood Park Zoo
Elmwood Park Zoo, Norristown, Pa.
Credit: Dylan Eddinger for VFTCB

Additional itinerary options include Freedoms Foundation and Peter Wentz Farmstead.

“Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board is pleased to offer a number of complimentary services,” Kaminetsky said. “Through our connections to a network of more than 600 members, we can put you in touch with exactly what you need such as tour and attractions guide services, dining recommendations, transportation, etc. All group tours will also receive complimentary welcome gifts, provided by the VFTCB.”

For more information, call 610-834-7972 or visit valleyforge.org/group-tours/students.

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Courtney Birchmeier oversees the editorial department at Group Tour Media. With half a decade under her belt in the group travel industry, she's eager to connect tour operators and group leaders with new destinations. It's a great day at the office if her dog, a chow/lab mix named "Kiwi," is in tow. In her free time, she enjoys reading (for fun, with no red pen in hand), sampling craft beer (New Holland Brewing's "Dragon's Milk," anyone?) and adding new destinations to her travel bucket list (like Salzburg, Austria).