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Are you looking for a family friendly vacation destination that is both educational and fun for your kids? Do you want to show them what life was like before cell phones and streaming TV? Then Colonial Williamsburg is the perfect place for you! Here is everything you need to know to have a successful family trip to Colonial Williamsburg!
What exactly is Colonial Williamsburg
Colonial Williamsburg is the largest living history museum in the world. Its 301 acres houses dozens of governmental buildings, homes, and shops. Every detail of this historic area has been restored to their former glory.
This village allows you to step back in time to experience what life was like in the late 1700’s in this capital of the Virginia Colony. You can learn about everything from the political turmoil of the times to daily life at home and on the farms.
This unique town is located in Williamsburg, Virginia, but it is just one small part of the city. So, you can explore American history during the day and then enjoy returning to modern conveniences at night.
Things to do in the historical area
There is a whole lot more to do throughout the area than just walk around and look at old buildings. You can get a good view of life 200+ years ago in a variety of ways.
The most popular activity in Colonial Williamsburg is the guided tours. In several of the buildings, including the Governor’s Palace and the Capitol, you can join a group. A costumed historical interpreter will guide you through the building and explain how it was used and by whom.
In addition to being able to tour the various buildings and homes here, you can also watch demonstrations on how things were done back in the 18th century. You will find demonstrations on a wide variety of subjects, including cooking, engraving, printing, cabinetmaking, wig making, and more.
These demonstrations give you an interesting insight into what it was like to be a tradesman back during the early years of this country.
Some of the most famous residents of colonial Virginia and some lesser-known leaders of the time now roam the streets, giving you a chance to interact with them and ask questions. These Nation Builders also give talks at various times during the day.
The cast of Nation Builders includes James Madison, Lafayette, Martha Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and others.
The talks by these amazing characters are one of the most fascinating things to do in the area. When we visited, we listened to Lafayette talk for over half an hour about his life in America. He was so into his role that we forgot this was not the actual man standing before us!
There are two different art galleries in Colonial Williamsburg. You can explore art from and about the past.
Shops and Restaurants
There are numerous shops and restaurants in and around the historical area. The shops sell souvenirs and tasty treats that were popular in the past, as well as books and crafts that celebrate the Revolutionary period.
The restaurants feature menus that would have been popular in the colonial days. They give you a chance to experience what it would have been like to dine out during the turn of the 18th century. Lunch is first come-first serve, but reservations are highly recommended for dinner.
One of the best restaurants in the historical area is Christiana Campbell’s Tavern, which was actually one of George Washington’s favorite places to eat!
You can learn even more about the life and times in Williamsburg during the colonial days by taking a carriage ride around the streets of the old town and learn from your driver and guide.
Other Things to Do
Additionally, during your visit, you can explore the various gardens of Colonial Williamsburg, learn about the numerous animals they would have raised during the times, listen to the fifes and drums, and take part in the various seasonal and nighttime events.
Needless to say, there are a lot of things to do during your time here.
Tips for visiting Colonial Williamsburg
- Check Colonial Williamsburg’s website for the dates of your visit to see what special events will be taking place.
- Be sure to watch at least one talk by a Nation Builder during your visit. You will be amazed at how authentic they are!
- Plan to eat at least one meal at one of the historical restaurants while you are there. You can see them all on the above website.
- Cars are not allowed in the historical area. So, park at the Visitor’s Center for free. From there, you can either walk or take a free shuttle.
- There is a lot to explore at Colonial Williamsburg. If you want to take it all in or just don’t want to feel rushed, plan to spend more than one day. You can easily spend two or three days here, even if you are not super into history.
- If your family are huge history buffs, consider purchasing the Historical Triangle Ticket, which will give you admission to Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown.
- Don’t shy away from going into any of the buildings that are open. You will learn so much more if you do!
- Ask any of the costumed characters that you encounter your questions. They are very good at answering them and giving you more information.
The logistics of visiting
Colonial Williamsburg is open 365 days per year. Most of the sites and buildings are open daily from 9 am until 5 pm. The art museums are open from 10 am until 6 pm. The shops and restaurants have various hours of operation.
Admission tickets can be purchased at the Visitor’s Center, Art Museums, and the Lumber House Ticket Office. You can also buy them online.
Single day tickets are $35.99 for adults and $19.99 for kids age 6-12. Children 5 and under are free. Multiday tickets will run you $50.99 for adults and $27.99 for kids 6-12. They are good for 3 consecutive days.
The Historical Triangle Tickets are $119 for people age 16 and up and $53.00 for kids age 6-15.
Colonial Williamsburg is an amazing family friendly place to get a first hand look at life in and around Williamsburg, Virginia during the pre-Revolutionary days. It brings American history to life in a fun way for you and your kids. I highly recommend visiting this wonderful living history museum!
For tips on having awesome vacations with your family, see my ultimate guide to travel with kids, how to improve your vacations, how to have an amazing vacation on any budget, and how to plan an epic vacation.
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