101A Visitor Center Drive
Colonial Williamsburg Description
A wonderland of American history, Colonial Williamsburg is a feast of fun that transports the family back to the eighteenth century and immerses it in everyday colonial life. The 301-acre city is open only to foot traffic and carriages, and in truth takes more than one day to fully explore; start off with a visit to the booths at Market Square, where children from toddlers to preteens can don historic costumes, three-pointed hats, and pretty straw hats to fully get in character for their visit. Interpretive programs vary by day, with a heavy emphasis on bringing history to a child's level while still fascinating adults.
Babies: The streets of Williamsburg are either crushed shell or bricks, so a heavy-duty stroller is best for navigating. Note that many of the buildings are not stroller-friendly, so little ones will have to be toted inside.
Toddlers & Pre-K: Little tykes will be enthralled at the chance to be imprisoned in the stocks, engage in some archeological digging at the Ravenscroft site, and create patriotic souvenirs at the DeWitt Wallace Museum. Check the daily schedule for each day's events.
School-Age Kids: Make kids feel part of the action by renting a costume, buying a hat, or letting them become part of the history with a stop at the Market Stalls before exploring.
- Tickets, please. Generally speaking, Williamsburg is a public place, so anyone can walk its streets and enter the stores and restaurants. Admission tickets are required to enter the "private" buildings -- the capitol, the governor's palace, and any building where demonstrations take place. Depending on the type of admission purchased, additional tickets may be need for special events.
- Get oriented. Daily orientation walks are offered at the Gateway Building with a brief, 30-minute overview of that day's presentations and events, and tips for enjoying Williamsburg.
- Map it out. Because Williamsburg is so full of attractions and activities, with each program offered only on certain days, it's best to plan each day in advance. It is easy for kids to feel overwhelmed by the history and the sites, so a morning or afternoon at Williamsburg with downtime built in to the daily schedule is essential, especially if returning to the historic district for an evening program.
- Break it up. Ideally, three days of four-hour visits each to the historic district will allow the family the opportunity to see all they want to see without burning out; older kids can certainly spend more time than that exploring all Williamsburg has to offer.
- Make your mark. The Brickyard holds great fascination for all ages, as the ooey-gooey clay that's perfect for molding bricks waits for their footprints. There's a water spigot on-site for clean up, but be sure to tuck a towel in your tote for drying.
Just the Facts
Hours: Open every day, including major holidays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; taverns are open through the evening with hours varying by season; special evening programming also varies by season.
Recommended Time: Full day