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Tips for Exploring Colonial Williamsburg With Kids

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If you are planning a trip to Colonial Williamsburg with kids these tips will help you with planning your visit and making it fun for the whole family. We took a family vacation to Williamsburg Virginia and the whole family loved exploring Colonial Williamsburg. In this post, I have included our personal experience along with tips for visiting to make it a trip the whole family will enjoy when you bring your family.

Colonial williamsburg virginia with kids

Visiting Colonial Williamsburg with kids

We took two different visits to Colonial Williamsburg so we could see everything that we wanted to. It was a great experience that the kids are still talking about and one the whole family will enjoy.

On the first day, we just walked around the historic area of Colonial Williamsburg. We went right after we checked into our hotel and wanted to stretch our legs a bit after the drive while still exploring. Starting at the visitor’s center and then we took the ride over on one of the free shuttles. We then walked around and checked out everything that was outside We saw everything that was outside and enjoyed just walking around the beautiful grounds.

On our second day of visiting, we bought the admission ticket and did the indoor tours. The kids loved the costume-interpreter-guided tours of the Governor’s Palace, Capitol, and Courthouse. We also stopped at the blacksmith, carpenter, and shoemaker. For dinner that night we stopped at one of the taverns. We spent the full day exploring the area and learning the interesting and rich history of Colonial Williamsburg.

I highly suggest spending 2 days exploring. There were things that we did not get to see that we wanted to because of our time limits. Next time we go, even though we have been there before, I will plan for 2 full days to explore Colonial Williamsburg.

Colonial Williamsburg main road

What is Colonial Williamsburg?

Colonial Williamsburg is a living-history museum and restored colonial town located in Williamsburg, Virginia, USA. This historic town consists of more than 40 historic buildings, including homes, shops, taverns, and public buildings. All these buildings and areas have been restored or reconstructed to their original 18th century appearance.

As soon as you get off the shuttle bus in the Colonial Williamsburg area you will feel as if you have stepped back into colonial times. You will see the cobblestone streets, the historic buildings, historical sites, and interpreters walking around and in different areas that are dressed in colonial costumes.

The site is a popular tourist destination and a center for historical research, education, and preservation. Visitors can walk the streets of the town, interact with costumed interpreters, and learn about life in colonial America through demonstrations, exhibits, and other educational programs.

garden at Colonial Williamsburg

Is Colonial Williamsburg worth visiting with kids?

Yes! Colonial Williamsburg is a great place to visit with kids. It is a great way to get the kids to learn about history while having fun. Whether you are traveling with young kids or older kids Colonial Williamsburg is the perfect place to explore with the entire family. While exploring all the buildings is great for the older kids to do, there are plenty of other fun things that will be great for the younger kids.

Woodworking and home building exhibit

Tips for Visiting Colonial Williamsburg with Kids

Plan your visit ahead of time. Colonial Williamsburg is a large and immersive historic site, so it’s a good idea to plan your visit in advance. Check out the website for information on events, tours, and special programs. You will also want to grab a map from the visitors’ center, this will help you in planning where you want to go.

Dress for the weather. Colonial Williamsburg is an outdoor museum, so dress appropriately for the weather. Wear comfortable shoes, a hat, and bring sunscreen and water.

Dress comfortably. You will be doing a lot of walking, so having comfortable shoes and clothing is a must.

Bring a stroller. If you have younger kids who tend to get tired when doing a lot of walking bring a stroller with you so they can ride at times that they need to.

Don’t skip the hands-on activities. Kids can learn about 18th-century life by participating in hands-on activities such as candle-making, basket weaving, and blacksmithing.

Make dinner reservations. We got lucky and found a place that had seating available, but our server said normally it is not that way and we got lucky and that having reservations for dining at restaurants is sometimes needed.

children standing inside the courthouse

Best things to do at Colonial Williamsburg with Kids

While there is much to do when you are visiting, there are some things that are must-sees when you are exploring with the kids. These are also the spots that my kids were most interested in and said were their favorite things that we did when we were there.

Interact with the colonists.

You will get a lot more information and enjoyment out of your trip if you take the time to interact with the costumed colonist interpreters. They are a wealth of information and my kids loved interacting with them.

Visit the Governor’s Palace.

The Governor’s Palace in Williamsburg served as the hub of social activity. While the one there currently is a replica because the original had a fire this is a must visit with the kids. It was where grand dinners and balls were hosted, and where esteemed state officials were welcomed. Consequently, the palace needed to leave a lasting impression on its visitors and convey the power and authority of the monarchy.

Visit Burton Parish Episcopal Church.

Situated in the heart of historic Colonial Williamsburg, the diminutive Burton Parish Church was completed in 1683 and stands as the town’s oldest edifice. During the Civil War, the church functioned as a hospital and subsequently served as a burial site for roughly 100 Confederate soldiers who lost their lives in the Battle of Williamsburg.

Adjacent to the church lies a picturesque cemetery that dates back to the 17th century and extends through to the 20th century. Each grave bears its own unique tale, from the unidentified Confederate soldiers to one of the church’s colonial reverends. Despite its age, Burton Parish remains an active house of worship, hosting daily morning prayers and Sunday services.

Artisan Workshops.

When exploring Colonial Williamsburg, the workshops of skilled artisans stand out as some of the most unforgettable things that we experienced. Dressed in period costumes, these craftspeople demonstrate the essential techniques that were required in a thriving 18th-century town.

The artisans are deeply committed to their roles and remain in character at all times. They are real people who have taken the time to learn about the time period and then share the history with the people who come to visit. Visitors can engage in conversations with tailors, barbers, lawyers, and blacksmiths to gain insight into the joys and struggles of colonial life. Through these interactive experiences, one can immerse oneself in the vibrant history of the city.

Learning about clothing and shoes at the colonial shoemaker

What Buildings can you visit at Colonial Williamsburg?

There are many buildings that you can walk into with a paid ticket. In each building, you will meet an interpreter who will share information and the history of the building they are in. Everything was interactive and kept the kid’s attention.

  • Governor’s Palace
  • The Capital building
  • The courthouse
  • Weaver trade shop
  • Carpenter’s yard
  • Peyton Randolph yard and kitchen
  • Colonial Garden
  • Blacksmith Shop
  • Brickyard
  • Magazine Yard
  • Church Meetinghouse
street in Colonial Williamsburg

Where is Colonial Williamsburg located?

Colonial Williamsburg is located in the city of Williamsburg, Virginia.

How Big is Colonial Williamsburg?

Colonial Williamsburg is a historic area that covers about 301 acres. It includes more than 40 original and reconstructed buildings, as well as gardens, public spaces, and other features that help to recreate the look and feel of life in colonial Virginia during the late 18th century.

horse drawn carriage

How long should I plan for my Visit to be?

We planned our visit to Colonial Williamsburg to be a 2 day trip. On our first day, we did the walking around outside and saw the Historic Williamsburg buildings that are on the grounds. On the second day, we used the purchased ticket to get a deep look and explore inside the buildings.

Where is the Visitors Center to get tickets for Colonial Williamsburg?

The Visitors Center to purchase tickets for Colonial Williamsburg is located at 101 Visitor Center Drive, Williamsburg, VA 23185. It is adjacent to the Colonial Williamsburg Regional Visitor Center.

reenactment at Colonial Williamsburg

How much is admission to Colonial Williamsburg?

A single-day ticket is $49.99 for an adult and $28.99 for kids.

A multi-day ticket is $59.99 for an adult and $33.99 for kids.

The best value is the historic triangle pass which is $119.00 for adults and $53 for kids. This pass gives you admission for 7 consecutive days to the following attractions in the area:

  • Jamestown Settlement
  • Historic Jamestowne
  • Colonial Williamsburg
  • Yorktown Battlefield
  • American Revolution Museum at Yorktown

It is important to note that once you buy your America’s Historic Triangle Ticket, you’ll get a printable voucher that needs to be traded for admission tickets at a Colonial Williamsburg ticketing location before you can visit the Yorktown or Jamestown sites.

What is included in the admission price?

You will get to visit the guided sites, historic trades, and gardens, as well as watch the staged performances on the Charlton Stage and in the Hennage Auditorium and explore the Art Museum’s collections.

Can I walk around Colonial Williamsburg for free?

Yes! If you do not want to purchase an admission ticket to go inside the buildings you can walk around the outside area at no cost. You can see some of the historic sites just by walking around. You can go into the buildings and see more of the area buy purchasing the Colonial Williamsburg ticket for an additional cost.

Where can I visit for Free at Colonial Williamsburg?

There are some parts of the historic area that are open to the public without a ticket. The whole one mile long street These include the grounds of the Capitol building, the Public Hospital of 1773 building, and some of the original foundations and archaeological sites throughout the town. Additionally, there are several shops and restaurants located in the historic area that are open to the public without a ticket. You can walk around the Colonial Williams burg area without a ticket as well and see some of the outside reenactments that are going on.

Kids walking around outside in the historic williamsburg town

How do I know what buildings are open?

When you are walking thru the grounds and the gardens you will see a flag outside, that flag is the indicator that the building is open to the public. There are personal homes in Colonial Williamsburg and not all buildings are open for visitors so be sure to look for the flags.

How do I get to Colonial Williamsburg from the Visitors Center Parking lot?

When you are arriving at Colonial Williamsburg you will want to park in the parking lot. There is a shuttle bus that will then take you to the colonial Williamsburg historical area. It is a short ride from the visitors center to the Colonial Williamsburg area.

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