13 Living History Museums on the East Coast Kids Will Love

While traditional museums have priceless artifacts and works of art that are important to see (read why here), kids tend to be more engaged when they can get up close to history. One of the best opportunities for kids to engage with live interpreters and engage with tangible artifacts is a living history museum. Living history museums have indoor and outdoor exhibits, interactive displays, and daily programs and informative demonstrations. Many museums even offer summer camps for children. Most museums do close during winter hours (some spots keep indoor exhibits open), so we’re sharing this list now, as everything prepares to open for the 2021 season. Here are 13 of our favorite spots on the East Coast and two more that are on our 2021 list:

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10 Ways to Have Fun at Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia

Colonial Williamsburg is the largest living history museum in the world. Recreating life in the 1770s, the 300 acre complex includes over 40 historic trade shops, homes, community space, and taverns. The complex is one mile long and a half mile wide and is divided into four key areas: The Visitor Center, Palace Green, Capitol, and Market Square. Palace Green, Capitol, and Market Square areas include historic sites, trades buildings, as well as lodging, shopping, and dining options.

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10 Tips for a First Visit to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA

We visited Busch Gardens Williamsburg in August of 2019. I saved the following post, hoping to share it at the start of the 2020 season. Unfortunately, the COVID 19 pandemic hit and I didn’t feel it appropriate to post when the amusement park was closed. Busch Gardens is scheduled to open in late July and I am sharing the following observations and tips for families choosing to visit the park this summer. I also believe most of these tips will be relevant in future years as well. For the latest updates on Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s schedule check here and for updates on regulations, check here.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg is an almost 400 aces amusement park in James City County, near the popular “Historic Triangle” of Jamestown, Yorktown, and Williamsburg. The complex is organized by European countries and includes over 50 rides, with 9 rollercoasters and 3 water rides, and plenty of family fun. The park is closed in January, February, and parts of March, with select hours and dates for early spring and later fall. Check the full calendar here. On a research trip to Busch Gardens, I learned quite a few tips for saving time and money and for maximizing family fun while visiting the park.

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10 Places to Explore at Historic Jamestowne in Virginia

Part of the Colonial National Historic Park (one of the first 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 Jamestown. Both Yorktown and Jamestown have Visitor Centers with museums, outdoor activities, and many ranger led programs. Historic Jamestowne also includes archaeological sites, churches, and monuments honoring important historical figures.

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10 Ways to Explore Jamestown Settlement

Opened in 2007 ahead of Queen Elizabeth’s visit to celebrate the Quadricentennial of Jamestown, Jamestown Settlement is a living history museum that includes a museum, Indian village, three reproduction ships, and a fort, all with interpreters offering stories and experiences from 1607, when 104 colonists created the first permanent English settlement in North America. Jamestown was named to honor King James of England.

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12 Ways to Explore the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown

Adjacent to the Colonial National Historical Park which includes the Yorktown Battlefield, the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown brings to life one of the most consequential battles of the American Revolution. In October of 1781, American General George Washington and French General Comte de Rochambeau cornered British troops, forcing General Cornwallis to surrender at Yorktown. Yorktown, a small town on the banks of the York River, is close to Williamsburg and Jamestown. The three towns are known as the “Historic Triangle.”

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