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The USGS National Center in Reston, Virginia

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USGS National Center

Visitors Center Closed Until Further Notice Due to Sequestration

School Tour Program (grades 1-5) and Boy Scouts/ Girls Scouts

A Well-grounded Learning Experience

The USGS Guided School Tour Program is designed to acquaint students with the USGS and its multi-faceted activities and responsibilities. Students coming to the National Center will be actively engaged in learning about natural science through guided tours, hands-on experiences, and a fascinating array of natural science products.

A tour begins with a general introduction to the U.S. Geological Survey and a video on a selected topic (preferably what the class is actually studying at the time of the tour) such as earthquakes, volcanoes, invasive species, rocks and minerals, or water issues.

Students learn about streamgaging in the hands-on-room.
Students learn about streamgaging in the hands-on-room in a simulated stream.

Kids learning while on guided school tour
Tour Guide discusses discovery of Tyrannosaurus rex footprint.

Hands-On Room:

Children enjoy hands-on activities such as rock and mineral identification, scribing, and streamgaging.

Introduction to the USGS

One of our most popular activities is having the scouts work on their geology badge.

Guided School Tours Only. This room contains, microscopes, a water flume, amphibians, and other materials for hands-on activities.

Many of the hallway displays and exhibits that can be seen on self-guided tours are also explained during the guided school tours.

Book Your Tour in Advance

To ensure that your visit to the USGS is as rewarding as possible, we request that guided shcool tours be scheduled in advance. School Tour Reservations begin in September and run through the school year. No guided tours are available during summer months. For reservations, please call (703-648-4748). The National Center is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Tours are approximately 2 hours long.

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Page Last Modified: Tuesday, July 30, 2013