School Group Tours
Check out our Programs
Look up our availability
PICKING WHAT PROGRAMS you want your students or group to participate in is the hard part! Now that you have that down, check out our availability below to see when your group might be able to come.
We are not available on any days that are marked with the red “busy” note.
We may also have bookings in process for days that are not yet marked busy, so be sure to find at least 3 dates that may work for your visit. Once you’ve got your program and a few dates in mind, go ahead and make a request:
Confirm the Pricing
YOU’LL FIND the breakdown of costs for field trips below. Please note that some programs require tours of a certain length or an activity period. See our programs page for the menu of options and details regarding format, length, and curriculum standards.
Once you have a sense of the pricing and you’ve looked at our availability, request your field trip using our easy School Tour Request Form.
If you have any other questions before you book, check out our FAQs.
College & University
Get Your Questions Answered
You are welcome to request a field trip as early as you’d like. We recommend you do so between 18 months and 1 month before your desired visit date. However, please note that all school group visits must be booked at least 4 weeks in advance. If you are planning to visit during our busiest school group months (November, December, April, May), you will want to request your desired date(s) as soon as possible to guarantee that we can accommodate your group.
Once you’ve reviewed the program options, standards chart, pricing, and availability, you’ll want to fill out our School Group Request Form. Please note, your request form is not a confirmation.
Once you submit your form, our Education Coordinator (EC) will review the request and get back to you within 72 business hours. You will then work with the EC to finalize the dates, times, and other details. The EC will send you a formal confirmation, invoice, and group coordinator packet directly.
We aim to create field trip and out-of-classroom experiences that build upon what you teach. To help do so, all Read House programs are designed to address Delaware State and Common Core Curriculum Standards. You can find a full list of the standards each program meets beneath the program description. To see a summary of all of the programs and the standards they meet check out our Curriculum Standards Charts. Always feel welcome to make a note in your School Group Request Form, or reach out to us at [email protected] if you have any questions about standards, tour/activity focus, or if you are interested in a topic that is not currently listed on in the program offerings.
We’re excited to know that you’re considering Read House & Gardens as a field trip option! Before you arrive, you’ll want to have the following organized for your group:
If you plan to have lunch on-site during your field trip, please let us know at the time of booking. We will work a lunch period into the day’s itinerary.
We usually allot 20-30 minutes for lunch (with a 5 minute cushion before and after to walk between locations). Please let us know if your group requires more time.
Generally, we schedule students to eat outside on the Green or in Battery Park. In the case of inclement weather there are indoor spaces available at each of the historic sites. Depending on the group size we may elect to divide students up by small group among the historic sites to fit everyone for lunch, or stagger lunch periods.
Before leaving school please collect all lunches and make sure they are each clearly marked with students’ names and group numbers. This helps lunch move smoothly, particularly if groups are in different locations for the period.
When you arrive, if you are visiting the Dutch and Amstel Houses throughout your day, the New Castle Historical Society will collect your lunches in carts. If you are not visiting Dutch and Amstel Houses, we will collect your lunches here at Read House. Please designate someone to unload the lunches from the bus and we will drop them into boxes organized by group number.
During lunch please allow time for a restroom break. If you are eating outside at Battery Park, there are restrooms available in the park. If you are eating outside on the Green, you may use the Court House restrooms.
After Lunch, please have adult group leaders gather students and guide them to their next stop on time.
Yes! If possible, please share (or even practice!) these basic museum manners with your students before the trip. We’ll go over them again at the beginning of the day.
Quiet voices. You are not the only group visiting the house today, if it gets too noisy people can’t enjoy their tours. If you have a question or a comment, please wait until your guide has finished speaking, then raise your hand and wait until they call upon you.
Quiet feet. Please walk softly, particularly as you go up and down the stairs. This old house is sensitive to vibrations and things can shake, move, or even be knocked over if you run or stomp. Also, please do not jump down the stairs, walk down every stair.
Look with your eyes not with your hands. The “do not touch” rule applies to all of us – even the guides. Objects in the house are over 200 years old and irreplaceable! Refrain from touching or leaning against walls or furniture (unless you are told that you can sit). If the temptation is too much to handle, put your hands in your pockets or behind your back.
No candy, gum, food, or drinks in the house. If you have any of these please store it in the basement or throw it out before the start of the tour. Crumbs and spills can be damaging to our collections and can attract unwanted guests!
Stick with the group. We don’t want anybody getting mixed up, lost, or turning up in off-tour spaces!
If you take a picture and you have social media accounts, please post! We have a photography-friendly policy, so take advantage of the views, then show it off to your friends so they’ll want to come to the Read House too!
Turn off cell phones or set them to vibrate. Not only is it polite, but it makes the experience more enjoyable for everyone!
Here at the Read House we offer personalized field trips to meet the needs of all students. Please let us know at the time of booking, or at least one month out if any of your students will need special accommodations. Of course, we recognize there may be last minute changes as the field trip date approaches, so please feel welcome to reach out to ask us questions arise – we are happy to work with you to create the best experience for your students!
For students with permanent or temporary mobility impairments the Read House is ADA accessible on the first floor. However, to access the second floor guests must climb one flight of stairs. The house does have two different staircases, one with a steeper incline and another with a more gentle incline. Guests are welcome to use either. We also offer replacement activities to help students with mobility impairments who cannot climb steps experience the second floor. Additionally, the cobblestone streets in New Castle may take students with mobility impairments extra time to traverse, please consider assigning an extra teacher/chaperone to the group(s) to assist.
We welcome paraprofessionals, interpreters, and special education teachers free of charge (in addition to your regularly included chaperones). We encourage you to bring as many as you feel appropriate for your student group. Please do let us know in your estimated and final head count the total number of students, teacher/chaperones, and paraprofessionals, so that we can organize groups accordingly. Likewise, if any groups need to be smaller to accommodate student needs, please let us know and we can restructure the recommended group size.
For students that require lower sensory environments or students with significant auditory or visual impairments please let us know at the time of booking/confirmation, so we can build in accommodations. If helpful, we are happy to create an additional small group with its own itinerary of tours and activities tailored to student needs.
From Wilmington area:
Traveling South on I-95 via 141: Take exit 5A, Rt. 141 South, toward New Castle, continue past the overpass for Routes 13 & 40. At intersection of Routes 9 & 273, turn left onto Rt.9 North. Go 1/2 mile to next light and bear right onto Delaware St. into New Castle. Turn left onto 2nd Street (immediately past Old Town Hall) and follow signs to Bus Loading Zone. **Note: Exit 5 has been closed periodically over the past few years, please check to see whether the exit is available before departing.
Traveling South on I-95 via 295: Take the left exit to Delaware Memorial Bridge and merge on I-295 N. Move over to the rightmost lane and take the DE-9 S exit toward New Castle (this exit is just about a mile after merging onto 295N). At the light, turn right onto DE-9 S. Follow Rt. 9 for about 2 miles. At first stop sign, go straight ahead into New Castle (Route 9 will turn into 6th street). Turn left onto Delaware St. at first light. Turn Left onto 2nd Street (immediately past Old Town Hall) and follow signs to Bus Loading Zone.
From Newark area:
Traveling North on I-95 via 141: Take exit 5A, Rt. 141 South, toward New Castle, continue past Routes 13 & 40 overpass. At intersection of Routes 9 & 273, turn left onto Rt.9 North. Go 1/2 mile to next light and bear right onto Delaware St. into New Castle. Turn left onto 2nd Street (immediately past Old Town Hall) and follow signs to Bus Loading Zone. **Note: Exit 5 has been closed periodically over the past few years, please check to see whether the exit is available before departing.
Traveling North on I-95 via 295: Keep right onto I-295 towards Delaware Memorial Bridge. Follow 295 for about 2.5 miles. Take the DE-9 S exit toward New Castle (this exit is just a mile after merging onto 295N). At the light, turn right onto DE-9 S. Follow Rt. 9 for about 2 miles. At first stop sign, go straight ahead into New Castle (Route 9 will turn into 6th street). Turn left onto Delaware St. at first light. Turn Left onto 2nd Street (immediately past Old Town Hall) and follow signs to Bus Loading Zone.
From Dover area:
Traveling North on Route 1: Continue on Route 1 N until it turns into DE-1 N/US-13 N. Follow DE-1 N/US-13 N for about 2 miles. Then keep left, following signs for U.S. 13 N/Interstate 295/New Castle. After about ½ mile, continue onto U.S. 13 N. After passing Route 1, turn right at the light onto Hamburg Road (there is a Dunkin’ Donuts on the corner). At the end of Hamburg Road (about ½ mile) turn left onto DE-9 N. Continue on DE-9 N for about 4.5 miles. Follow the road to the right onto South Street, then make a quick left onto E 6th Street into Historic New Castle. Make the 2nd right onto Delaware Street. Turn left onto 2nd Street (immediately past Old Town Hall) and follow signs to Bus Loading Zone.
From New Jersey:
Take Delaware Memorial Bridge into Delaware. At first exit after toll, take Rt. 9 South, to New Castle. Follow Rt. 9 for about 2 miles. At first stop sign, go straight ahead into New Castle (Route 9 will turn into 6th Street). Turn left onto Delaware St. at first light. Turn left onto 2nd Street (immediately past Old Town Hall) and follow signs to Bus Loading Zone.
Bus drop-off and parking:
NOTE: The historic nature of this small town can be challenging to navigate. You will find many narrow streets and tight turns where buses can become stuck. Therefore, we ask you please follow these instructions carefully:
The town has ONE bus loading zone on Second St. between Delaware and Harmony Streets. Please do not stop to load or unload passengers at other locations, including along Delaware Street or at the turnaround near the river. Buses are also not permitted on The Strand.
The unloading zone is just outside the Read House back gate and across the street from the Court House & New Castle Historical Society sites. Representatives from each museum on your itinerary will meet you at the unloading zone to help guide small groups to their first stop.
New Castle has a bus parking zone on Chestnut Street, two blocks away from the loading zone. Please do not park the bus at other locations within the town limits.
The Read House & Gardens operates a small museum store/ gift shop in the Visitor Services area. The store sells an array of products including toys, soaps, notebooks, calendars, books, and other items. To keep the field trip on schedule, we close the museum store during school visits, unless the teacher requests time for shopping to be part of the itinerary.
If you would like for the students to have time in the store, please let us know at the time of trip confirmation, or at least one month out, so that we can alter the itinerary to reflect a longer lunch period with time for shopping.
In general, students will walk through the store space at various times throughout the programs, and in inclement weather lunch will be held in the classrooms next to the museum store space. The store products will be out in their regular displays during these times.
If you do not wish to add time for shopping and think the displays will be distracting to your students, please let us know upon your arrival and we can cover or move some of the products.
If you still have other questions, please email us at [email protected] or call us at 302-322-8411.