Jamestown Settlement is a museum and replica of America's first permanent English colony, founded in Virginia in a 1607. The museum consists of two sections: an indoor area with a theater and exhibits and an outdoor living-history program, including a recreated Powhatan village, replicas of the ships that transported the colonists from England to Jamestown, and a fort area. There is so much for kids to see, and this hands-on take to history makes it a must-do for any family trip to the Williamsburg area.
Start your visit with Jamestown Settlement's introductory film and museum. The documentary film, 1607: A Nation Takes Root, is shown every 30 minutes and narrates the story of the Virginia Company that sponsored the colony and tells about the English colonists, Powhatan Indians, and arrival of the first Africans. Then explore the museum galleries to view hundreds of artifacts and objects from 17th-century Europe, Africa, and Virginia as well as some hands-on, interactive exhibits for kids.
Don't learn about Pocahontas from a Disney movie! Instead, become familiar with the Powhatan way of life in the outdoor village by going inside a replica home, viewing samples of their clothing and tools used in daily life, seeing a ceremonial circle and more. Historical interpreters are around to teach and demonstrate. Plus, kids will love the opportunities to grind corn, try on animal hide clothing, pretend to sleep in a Powhatan bed or play a game of corncob darts.
Next, visit the re-created James Fort, representing the military and commercial character of the English Jamestown Settlement during 1610-14. Check out the thatched roof dwellings, step inside a model Anglican church, and see a sample court, offices, storehouse, and a governor's house. Kids will love trying on armor and playing games of quoits (ring-toss) and ninepins (bowling). Historical guides enhance the experience. Be sure to stick around for the demonstration on weapons, and watch the guide fire a musket.
Finally, walk over to the docks to see the Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery – re-creations of three ships that brought English colonists to Virginia in 1607. Climb aboard to find out about life aboard these vessels, and the difficult 4.5 month voyage from England.
2110 Jamestown Road, Route 31 S.
Open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (until 6 p.m. June 15-August 15)
Closed Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
A variety of tickets and special packages, including a combination admission to Yorktown Victory Center, can been purchased online here.
* Delicious food, such as gourmet pizzas, burgers, sandwiches and salads and more are available for purchase at the onsite restaurant, the Jamestown Settlement Cafe.
* Families should enhance their visit is by downloading the free Kids Gallery Quest.
Watch this video to learn more about Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center
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