10 Places to Explore at Historic Jamestowne in Virginia
Part of Colonial National Historical Park (one of the first historic parks, created in 1930) Historic Jamestowne honors the British Colonist experience in North America. The park includes a 23 mile scenic parkway that connects Yorktown Battlefield and Historic Jamestowne. Both Yorktown and Jamestowne have Visitor Centers with museums, outdoor activities, and many ranger led programs. Historic Jamestown also includes archaeological sites, churches, and monuments honoring important historical figures.
Traveling with Kids:
The park is open 362 days a year (check hours here) and charges an admission fee. Kids under 16 are free and admission is valid for seven consecutive days and includes Yorktown Battlefield. Check here for more information. Visit the Glasshouse on your way out of the complex.
Make sure kids complete a Junior Ranger booklet (there is a nominal fee) to earn a badge and get your National Parks Passport stamps.
Restrooms are located in the Visitor Center and in the Archaearium and cafe.
A gift shop is located in the Visitor Center.
The Visitor Center, Archaearium, and paths to the outdoor sites are handicap accessible. Bring a stroller for younger children as there is a fair amount of walking to do.
Plan to spend 45 minutes in the Visitor Center (film and exhibits) and at least two hours at the outside sites and Archaearium.
10 Places to Explore at Historic Jamestowne:
1. Visitor Center: Start here and purchase tickets and Junior Ranger booklets and sign up for ranger led programs. Watch the 17 minute introductory film in the 360 theater.
2. Museum: Located inside the Visitor Center, exhibits focus on artifacts excavated on site and items passed on through generations like a 1519 Bible of Sir Thomas West and various farming tools.
3. 1907 Tercentennial Monument: Daily ranger led tours start at the Monument, a short 5 minute walk from the Visitor Center and museum. The 100+ foot tall monument was created in 1907, celebrating the 300th anniversary of the settlement.
4. 1607 James Fort: Reproduced with wooden posts on the spot where military barracks were first built, the fort shows the footprint of the first colonists. Check out the picture perfect view of the James River and watch little children closely- the open space is close to the water’s edge may be tempting for little children. Bring the stroller!
5. 17th Century Church Tower and 1907 Memorial Church: It’s the last structure surviving from the 17th century. There were ultimately five churches, built one on top of another, and visitors can walk through the church. Check out elements of the original church uncovered in the floor and encased in glass. Note the reproduced prayers displayed on the walls.
6. Take time to see the statues honoring both John Smith and Pocahontas: Two names synonymous with the Jamestown Settlement and immortalized on site. Visitors can get up close to both statues, although Smith’s statue is over 20 feet tall! Check out Pocahontas’ hands- they’re worn from so many people holding her hand!
7. Archaearium Museum and Gift Shop: The only place to see some of the 4,000 artifacts found on site, including tools used for various jobs like masonry and glassmakers. The exhibits are centered in the early 17th century period at Jamestowne and how the numerous artifacts were found, including a reconstruction of a period mud building and “wine cellar.” Restrooms on site. Plan 30-45 minutes to explore the galleries.
8. 1608 Glasshouse: Observe glass makers creating replica pieces that were popular in 1608. Take home mementos like vases, ornaments, and decorative pieces. Grab a collectors piece- there is a special design made (in limited quantities!) each year.
9. Dale House Cafe: Have lunch inside or outside overlooking the river. The cafe provided a wide variety of salads, sandwiches, and snacks (and kids meals with snacks and drinks included!). Check out the menu here. Restrooms are also located in the cafe.
10. Jamestown Island Loop Drive: A five mile self guided driving tour through the island that also includes space for bicycles and pedestrians. Stop at some of the historical markers and read the placards which provide historical context and keep an eye out for wildlife like eagles and deer.
Bonus: Check out one of the many family programs. Each day, the complex offers a variety of hands on learning opportunities that will engage the entire family. Check here for the latest updates.
We recently spent a fun filled week exploring the York, Jamestown, and Williamsburg area. Check out our adventures at Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.