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Science & Space Marvels of the USA - Insight Vacations

Science & Space Marvels of the USA

Private Custom Group

Duration: 22 days • Countries visited: USA
Group trip type: School Groups


Day to Day Itinerary

  1. Day 1: Welcome To San Francisco

    Welcome to the United States and San Francisco, the “City by the Bay”. Upon arrival at the airport, you’ll be met by your Insight Travel Director for your transfer into the city. Take some photos of San Francisco’s highlights, before being dropped off at iconic Fisherman’s Wharf for lunch. After lunch, travel to the Exploratorium for a privately guided experience, which will include the interactive exhibit highlight and an orientation of the rest of the museum. Take a deeper look into classic Exploratorium exhibits, such as Giant Mirror, Sun Painting, and Colored Shadows. Learn about the physics of light and colour and how your eyes and brain work together to inform—or fool—you. Next, it’s time to transfer back to your hotel for check in. (D)

  1. Day 2: Fly From San Francisco to Huntsville, Alabama

    We are off to an early start to catch our connecting flights to Denver and then onto Huntsville, Alabama - home of the US Space & Rocket Academy. A boxed breakfast will be provided prior to your transfer. Tonight’s accommodation is provided at the Space Academy Camp, before our program starts tomorrow. (BB)

  1. Days 3-9: Space Academy Programme Week at U.S.Space & Rocket Center

    Embark on the learning opportunity of a lifetime by spending a week at Space Academy. This intense experience is designed to immerse trainees in the science and technology of the space programme. Prior to departure, you’ll also have the chance to visit the First Baptist Church in Huntsville for Church Service.

  1. Day 9: Fly To Washington

    This afternoon we catch a connecting flight to America’s capital city Washington D.C. Upon arrival in Washington, your Insight Vacations Travel Director will meet you again for your transfer to your downtown hotel. Enjoy a family-style buffet dinner en route to your hotel. (HD)

  1. Day 10: Iconic Washington

    After breakfast, join your Travel Director and a local guide for a visit to the National Mall. You will see the Washington Monument, Jefferson Monument, WWII Monument and Iwo Jima Memorial. Next we head to the Smithsonian Institute for a visit to The Castle. Finish your day at the Arlington National Cemetery on a Tourmobile. Watch out for the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the graves of John F Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline Kenney-Onassis. (BB, HD)

  1. Day 11: Highlights of Washington - McDonnell Space Hanger

    Today you will visit the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, a companion to the Museum on the Mall. Our Highlights Trip includes the McDonnell Space Hanger. Explore the Space Shuttle Discovery and other space artifacts. Join us as we trace our history, science, and technology in space. Examine exciting aircraft from the early days of aviation to the space shuttle program, while learning about changes in technology over time. After your trip, enjoy the Mission to Mars learning Lab. From Mariner's first pictures of Mars in 1964 to Curiosity's landing in August 2012, humans have been on a quest to learn about the Red Planet. Explore the climate and geology of Mars and the challenges of robotic exploration in space. You’ll have the chance to work in mission design teams and use budget and science guidelines from NASA to create a spacecraft to fly to Mars. After an enriching day, we travel back to DC and explore the Capitol building. Tonight we go to a baseball game where dinner is served. (BB, HD)

  1. Day 12: Highlights Of Washington - NASA/Goddard Space Flight Centre And Spy Museum

    NASA/GODDARD Space Flight Center is our focus this morning, guided by a host. The GSFC Visitor Center boasts a number of visually stimulating exhibits, describing some of the space exploration programs of the Goddard Space Flight Center. This afternoon we visit the International Spy Museum, featuring the largest collection of international espionage artifacts ever placed on public display. Transfer back to the hotel and dinner is served at our hotel. (BB, D)

  1. Day 13: Highlights Of Washington – National Air & Space Museum

    Today we visit the National Air & Space Museum, the sister museum of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. As you start your guided excursion of “Exploring the Universe with Telescopes”, discover a new way of looking at the universe by exploring how telescopes have expanded our view of the heavens from Galileo to the Hubble Space Telescope. You will see spacecraft such as the Apollo 11 Command Module and the Skylab orbital workshop, and examine the technology and scientific advances that have expanded our horizons. An Interactive Flight simulators experience is included. (BB, HD)

  1. Day 14: Highlights Of Washington - Natural History Museum & NARA

    Today, explore the Natural History Museum through its educational program, Forensic Mysteries. Examine human bones, objects and artifacts using the forensic tools and techniques of Smithsonian scientists, Doug Owsley and Kari Bruwelheide, to determine age, sex, time since death, and cause of death. Afterwards, join an escorted trip to the Museum of National History, where you will see the earliest human origins, development of world cultures, ancient and modern mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and much more. This afternoon, visit the National Archive and Records Administration, NARA, which serves as the official repository for all federal records judged to be of enduring value. See documents dating from the 18th century to the present, including the famous Charters of Freedom—the original Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Dinner is served at a local restaurant. (BB, HD)

  1. Day 15: Flight To San Francisco & onto Palo Alto

    Today we have an early start to catch our flight back to San Francisco where we transfer to Palo Alto, home of Stanford University where your Travel Director will take you on a guided visit to the campus. (BB, HD)

  1. Day 16: Highlights of San Francisco - California Academy of Sciences & Chinatown

    We start today’s activities exploring the California Academy of Sciences from an insider's perspective and spend an hour behind the scenes learning more about the institution's 159-year history and how its scientists are tackling critical questions about life on earth. Visit the research collections and a working laboratory, get closer to the living roof, and see breathtaking geology specimens in the vault. A general admission ticket and a one-hour behind the scenes at the Academy are included. The rest of the day is yours to explore this vibrant city. Before dinner at a local Chinese restaurant, we’ll embark on a walking trip in San Francisco’s famous Chinatown. (BB, HD)

  1. Day 17: Alcatraz & Onward Flight to Los Angeles

    An exciting start, we cruise along San Francisco Bay to Alcatraz Island and its infamous and notorious former federal prison, which was home to the likes of Al Capone, George "Machine Gun" Kelley, and Robert "The Birdman" Stroud. This excursion includes the audio-guided cell block visit. Heading back to the famous San Francisco pier, it is just a short walk to Pier 39 where we have lunch at one of the local restaurants.  After lunch, take the extra time to explore, before our transfer to the airport for a flight to Los Angeles. Upon arrival, we transfer to our hotel in the “City of Angels”. (BB, L)

  1. Day 18: Los Angeles & Mount Wilson

    After breakfast, visit the outlets at the Block in Orange for some shopping, before we continue to Mount Wilson where you will embark on an exploration of the observation facilities.  Here you will enjoy a casual boxed dinner before your Half Night Experience begins. Leaving at 1:00am, you will have plenty of time to see the expanse of the stars. Please note sturdy shoes are required to walk approximately 400 meters to observation summit. Warm clothes and flashlights are also highly recommended. (BB, HD)

  1. Day 19: Disneyland

    Today we have a late-morning admission to Disneyland in Anaheim, California, which is known as the “happiest place on earth”. You will have plenty of time to visit Fantasyland where you can ride Space Mountain or Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters or go back to Frontierland for the wild Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride. Perhaps take some time to do some shopping at Downtown Disney where you will find stores such as ESPN Zone Studio Store, Fossil, House of Blues and Quiksilver. This evening, marvel at the Fantastic Fireworks display before heading back to the hotel. (BB, HD)

  1. Day 20: USC Robotics Laboratory & California Science Center

    This morning, we start at the USC robotics laboratory. A leader in the field, the USC robotics laboratory will allow you to see science in action. You will be guided by post-doctoral researchers and assistants as you see how this field is changing our world. We'll be seeing a variety of robots in 3 different labs. Our lab focuses on human-robot interaction, and other labs focused on aerial and underwater robotics, and manipulation (robot arms). For more information on the research at the lab see: Afterwards, we go to the California Science Center where we will start by viewing an educational 3D IMAX film about the Hubble Telescope. We also have reservations to see the Space Shuttle Endeavor display with all of the timeline information and exhibits, following a chance to walk around the outside of the shuttle for a life-sized view of the actual shuttle. The rest of the day is for you to explore the many interactive displays at the Centre. (BB, HD)

  1. Day 21: UCLA Trip & Page Museum

    This morning we visit UCLA for a student-led campus highlights visit. After a lunch stop at the famous Farmer’s Market in downtown Los Angeles, head into the pre-historic age, displayed at the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits. A guided excursion by a docent of the Museum is how you will learn about our fascinating tar pit formation, and how animals and plants became entrapped in the asphalt! It is one of the world’s most famous fossil localities, recognized for having the largest and most diverse assemblage of extinct Ice Age plants and animals in the world. Later we visit the Citadel for some last minute shopping. (BB)

  1. Day 22: Universal Studios & Farewell Los Angeles

    Today we visit Universal Studios where you can take a behind-the-scenes visit to the studios. You will see Jaws, King Kong and the lot where many films and television programs are filmed.  Then maybe brave rides such as the Transformers, the ride-3D or Revenge of the Mummy Ride. Dinner is served at the Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Company located at the Universal City Walk. This marks the end of our trip, as we transfer to the airport for our flights home. (BB,HD)

Meal guide: BB = Buffet Breakfast, HD = Highlight Dinner, D = Hotel Dinner, HL = Highlight Lunch


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