In an effort to make 4th grade Virginia History come to life, we headed to Jamestown Settlement. We read the books, talked to people, and still I got confused when we arrived. It’s really not that complicated of a place, but here are a few tips to help you:
1. The Visitor’s Center is huge! It contains 3 gifts shops, 2 theaters, a fabulous museum, and probably more. They finished it in 2007 and it’s gorgeous!
2. When you walk in you’ll see the ticket booths straight ahead. You can go there immediately or go to the cafe, a gift shop or watch a short movie introduction.
|Inside the Long Houses|
3. After you get your tickets you have two options: 1.) Go outside and head left to the fort or 2.) See the short movie (runs on the half hour) and go to the excellent museum. It doesn’t matter which order you do these things in; however, I felt that doing the movie/museum first helped us build up our background knowledge before we went outside.
Side note: a little piece of VA history we did not know…. the movie mentions that when the settlers were starving they ate their dogs, horses, shoes, and human corpses. Somehow our kids missed that part… whew!
4. The museum really surprised me with great displays. There are also replicas of a ship, house, London street, and more for the kids to experience.
5. Tours – we missed it, but I’m sure they’re great. They meet right outside the door of the museum by the gazebo.
|Working on the dugout canoe with shells.|
6. Favorite activities for my kids: hands-on canoe digging in the Powhatan village, going on the 3 ships, and trying some of the colonial toys. Our 4th grade expert, clearly identified the Long Houses. His teacher would be proud!
|The Lord of Misrule – the kids thought he was hilarious!|
7. If someone mentions a “show”, do not expect a stage or trained actors. Rather it’s just a gathering of people to hear jokes or demonstrate settler life.
8. Everything we read said to plan to take 3-4 hours there. I get it now…between the movie, museum, hands-on activities, and outdoor displays … there’s a lot to see and do!
|Hoops and sticks – they loved it!|
Bonus: Carole Marsh writes some great chapter books for grades, including The Mystery at Jamestown.
Frommers also just named Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown it’s #15 on the 100 Places to Take Your Family in the U.S. go here for the full article.
Here is the Official Jamestown website, click here. If you’re staying in the area a little longer, make sure you check out our Williamsburg post!
Kristen is the blogger behind Busy Kids = Happy Mom, a site dedicated to fun, practical, and purposeful activities to do with your kids. Follow Kristen on Facebook, Pinterest, and Busy Kids = Happy Mom.