Jamestown was the first permanent English settlement in North America. The fort began here in 1607 and it is a perfect one-day activity for families with kids. This was an easy field trip for the 3 kids and I, while Chris was away on business. It was only a 20 minute drive from where we were staying in Williamsburg, Virginia.
We actually didn’t arrive until later in the afternoon, so we only had 2 1/2 hours here. If we were to return, I would pack a picnic lunch and a blanket and eat somewhere between the fort and the water. The historic park is huge and there is plenty of room to wander off as a family in the vast expanse of grass and trees. This would be a beautiful place to nature journal with kids…wish I had thought to plan that!
The grounds are beautiful in the autumn and a visit here is a perfect afternoon activity. It was one of our more relaxed field-trip outings. When we arrived we were told that a docent was giving a talk, while dressed in character, so we ventured over to the water to hear her speak. The talk, as well as her period attire, were brilliant…we actually learned quite a bit. My girls were a bit more interested in listening to a woman from the 1600’s…so this is my son fiddling with sticks and bugs, sitting under the trees:
After the talk, we meandered over to the fort and explored the recreated area as well as the active excavation site where archeologists have rediscovered the fort that was once thought to be swallowed up by the James River.
We learned a bit more about Captain John Smith, the first Governor of Virginia.
And then I found this…after seeing all she wanted, my teenager slipped off quietly to dig into a good book.
After touring the grounds, we headed inside to the Visitor’s Center to further our history lesson.
On our way out, we stopped into the Glassblower’s shop, as it is right on the way back to the main road. This was very cool! We arrived at 4:45, right before closing, but we were able to hear the glassblower speak with another family and he was explaining the process and how glass is made. It was fascinating and beautiful. Clearly, my children are all enamored by the fire.
Visiting Tips: Children 15 and under are free. Adults pay $5 WITH a National Park Pass (they charge a fee as this is an active excavation site). Hours are 9-5. Your pass is valid for 7 days, so you can visit multiple times if you wish…or even return simply to picnic and explore the grounds.