5 Fun Things to do with Kids at Historic Jamestowne

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Founder’s District. All opinions are 100% mine.

If you are visiting Williamsburg or Virginia Beach this summer, be sure to add on some time to your family vacation for a couple of days in The Founder’s District near Jamestown, Virginia. The premiere attraction in the area for history and archeology lovers is Historic Jamestowne.

Historic Jamestowne is a cultural heritage site set on the location of the original 1607 James Fort and the later 17th-century city of Jamestown. Located on Jamestown Island, right on the James River, the site is now operated as a partnership between Preservation Virginia and the U.S. National Park Service as part of Colonial National Historical Park.

This historic site is adjacent to, and often confused with, the complementary Jamestown Settlement, which is a living history museum run by the Commonwealth of Virginia to interpret the early colony. But at Historic Jamestowne, you have the real deal — you are walking in the footsteps of the earliest Colonists.

In 2010, student archaeologists began probing the center of the historic James Fort near the statue of Captain John Smith. Soon, where they soon uncovered postholes. The continued to dig, partially revealing the church that was built in 1608 and is where Pocahontas married John Rolfe in 1614.

Pocohantas statue

Here are five things you need to do when you visit Historic Jamestowne:

1 – Take a history and archeology tour.

Walking tours include an introduction to Jamestown and offer insights into 17th-century Jamestown. Visitors can also get an overview of the archaeology of James Fort, or take a trip back in time with a living history interpreter. The tour offerings vary, so be sure to check the calendar to see what is being offered during your visit.

2 – See archeology in action.

If you are an Indiana Jones fan or your kid is into archeology, you will enjoy getting to see archeologists at work. The archaeology team is still uncovering new information about early Jamestown and you can watch the excavations in progress outside the fort from behind the safety ropes.

Archeology dig

3 – Become a Junior Ranger.

The National Park Service’s Historic Jamestowne Junior Ranger programs are designed for three age groups: 5–7, 8–10, and 11 and up. To become a Junior Ranger, pick up a booklet in the Visitor Center and complete the required activities, which usually takes about two hours, to earn a badge and have an official “swearing in” ceremony. Don’t forget to bring your National Parks Passport to stamp!

4 – Visit the Archaearium Museum.

The Archaearium (pronounced “Ark-ee-air-ee-um”) houses more than 1,000 artifacts that have been discovered over the last 20 years of archaeological excavations. These artifacts have re-shaped understanding of life in James Fort, how the first English settlers fashioned a new American society in a foreign land, and their relationships with the Native peoples. This award-winning archaeology museum brings to life the stories of the Colonists and the struggles they endured through the objects they left behind. Objects on display include arms and armor, tools, coins, trade goods, personal items, religious objects, and food remains.

Historic Jamestowne fort and flag

5 – Enjoy nature and a picnic.

After absorbing all that history, kids will enjoy a walk on the trails to observe bald eagles, turtles and other indigenous wildlife. Afterwards, you can pick up lunch at the Dale House Café and set up a picnic in the designated areas outside with the best views along the James River for miles around!

Historic Jamestowne makes a great addition to a Northeast History Road Trip!

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Publish Date: July 12, 2021

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