Visiting Colonial Williamsburg is like stepping back into history. The quaint little town, horse drawn carriages and people dressed in authentic costumes really makes you feel as though you’re in the 1600s. Colonial Williamsburg has things to do for all ages. Here are some tips to help make your visit a success.
If you’re planning to walk around the town, then tickets aren’t needed. Tickets are needed if you want to tour the Governor’s Palace, Capital, Magazine (where ammunition is stored), trade shops, museums and more. Tickets can be purchased online or at the Visitor’s Center. The 1 Day Basic ticket is $36.00 for adults and $18.00 for children (6-17). Children under 6 are free. This ticket is good for the all of the attractions except the Governor’s Palace. The 1 Day Plus ticket is $46.00 for adults and $23.00 for children (6-17). Children under 6 are free. This ticket is good for all of the attractions plus the Governor’s Palace tour. It is also a special two day pass which allows you to return the following day as well.
TIP: If you purchase the 1 Day Plus online, you’ll receive a 15% discount. Just remember to enter the promotion code “10110”. Tickets ordered online are picked up at the Visitor’s Center.
Parking at the Visitor’s Center is free. Once you pick up or purchase your ticket, you’re then instructed to head downstairs to catch a bus over to the town. The town has multiple buses that run every 10 minutes which circle the town and Merchant Square and makes several stops. This is a good way to get from one side of town to the other and to head over to the Merchant Square for lunch and shopping. There are also horse drawn carriages that tour the town. A trolley is available at the Merchant Square that for .50 cents a person will take passengers from the Merchant Square to two other shopping plazas near Jamestown. The buses tend to fill up so you may end up standing and holding onto the handrails. If the bus is full, you could easily walk around town. The distance between attractions within the town isn’t too far and shouldn’t be a problem with children. The walk from the town to the Merchant Square is longer than it looks on the map and could be difficult for children.
Things to See and Do
There are many, many things to see and do in Colonial Williamsburg. Done carefully, you will be able to see all of the attractions that you want to see in a day or two. Consider purchasing the 1 Day Plus ticket. Here are few attractions that are a must see for the kids.
Jail – At the end of town is the jail. This is a quick self guided tour of the jail cells and office.
Magazine – The Magazine is located in the center of town and is where the ammunition and weapons were stored. There is a guide inside the magazine that gives a brief speech about the history of magazine. The kids may not be interested in this speech but will be interested in seeing the weapons.
Blacksmith – Also located in the middle of town is the blacksmith’s shop. Of course when fire is involved, kids are quite interested. Here you can see actual nails and tools being made.
Apothecary – The Apothecary is located in the middle of town and is basically a colonial pharmacist. Not only do they talk about the different medicines that were made from herbs and plants but they also have colonial surgical instruments.
Colonial Toys in front of the Governor’s Palace – In the yard in front of the Governor’s Palace are young people dressed in colonial costumes playing with colonial toys. Children are able to play with these old fashioned toys and games. One of these toys is a hoop and stick. It is bamboo hoop about the size of a hula hoop and the child rolls the hoop across the grass and then hits it with the stick to keep it rolling. Another game is called trap ball. This is a game where the child steps on the trap with his foot which launches a ball into the air at which time the child hits the ball with a wooden paddle. The children playing in the “field” are to catch the ball and then toss it back trying to get as close to the trap as possible.
Horses near the Governor’s Palace – Right next to the Governor’s Palace is a fenced area which houses two horses. It doesn’t matter where you go, kids will always want to stop and pet the horses. The horses are quite friendly and allowed the children to give them a pet.
Powell House – Located at the end of town near the jail is the Powell House. This is basically an old house which has several types of colonial games that children can play with.
Merchant Square – The Merchant Square is located next to Colonial Williamsburg, on Duke of Gloucester Street, and has several restaurants and shops. When you purchase your tickets, you’ll receive a coupon book. Make sure you check this book for coupons to use at the Square. If your kids are like ours they have to have to souvenirs. There are two souvenir shops at the Square. Everything Williamsburg and King’s Treasures. Both are great places to get t-shirts, mugs, and collectibles. Plus, there is the Toymaker of Williamsburg.
Important Things to Remember
Here are a couple things to remember to help make your trip a success.
Get a Mug! – For $10 you can buy a souvenir mug which is refillable at Chowning’s Cider Stand & Garden Bar and Raleigh Tavern Bakery in town, Huzzah! and the Visitor’s Center Cafe at the Visitor’s Center AND you can get it filled with soft serve ice cream, lemon freeze or root beer float at Mr. Shield’s Storehouse. This was such a great treat! We would get in line for the ice cream, sit on a bench and eat it and then get back in line for more. We would fill our mug every chance we got. This was great to have on a hot day.
Passports – Kids are given a passport when they get their tickets at the Visitor’s Center. The children are to take this passport to certain attractions and get it punched. When they receive a certain number of punches (3 for the younger kids and 4 for the older), they get a free souvenir which is a little pin.
A visit to Colonial Williamsburg is fun for the whole family. There is a lot of see so plan your trip before you go. For more information visit http://www.history.org/. When you’re ready to make your reservations, visit BeachAndGolfGetaways.com/kingsmill for a great one or two bedroom condo at the Kingsmill Resort & Spa.