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10 Places for Kids to Fall in LOVE with History

by Casey | Posted on August 13th, 2013

These 10 Virginia attractions meet your kids on their level, making history fun and enjoyable.

Jamestown Settlement

Jamestown Settlement

Live like it’s 1607 when you visit Jamestown Settlement, America’s first permanent English colony, located in Williamsburg. The replicas of the three ships that sailed from England to Virginia in 1607 – the Godspeed, Discovery and Susan Constant –  are on-site and ready for you to board! Other highlights include the colonial fort and galleries depicting the Powhatan, English and African cultures of the time. $16/adult and $7.50/ student aged 6 to 12. Buy Tickets

Write with quill pens, try on clothes, learn to weave and more at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville. The Griffin Discovery Room in the Smith Education Center is all hands-on for ages 6 to 12. In addition, family friendly tours are available through September 2, plus the first three weekends in October. They’re 35 mintues long and offer a hands-on opportunity in each room. $24/adult; $16/student aged 12 to 18; $8/student 6 to 11. Buy Tickets

At the Virginia Air & Space Center in Hampton, children can toy with flight controls, consider wing walking, ride in a World War II bomber and become an air traffic controller. The Apollo 12 Command Capsule is on display along with historic planes, a Mars meteorite and a moon rock. $11.50/adult; $9.50 children 3 to 18. Buy Tickets

Take a tour of Mount Vernon, George Washington’s Estate and Gardens by way of the Kids’ Adventure Map, a sleuth’s tool to solve nine puzzles (free with each child admission). Children aged 3 to 8 will enjoy Hands-on History, a room dedicated to creative play with 18th century clothing and more. The paddock pen is a popular place for kids, too. Meet the Ossabaw Island hogs there. $17/adult; $8/student aged 6 to 11. Buy Tickets

More than 500 years of seafaring adventure awaits at The Mariners’ Museum in Newport News. Kids love the cool figureheads and miniature ship models, and they can watch the conservation of real artifacts from the Civil War’s ironclad USS Monitor, brought to the surface from its watery grave in the Atlantic Ocean. The collection at The Mariners’ Museum is more than 35,000 pieces strong. $12/adult; $10 ages 13 to 18; $7 ages 6 to 12.

The Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton features life on five different farms — German, Scots-Irish, English, American, and the newest – West African. Meet the farm animals and homesteaders living life in their Old World tradition just as they would have prior to coming to America. $10/adult; $9/student aged 13 through 18; $6 per child aged 6 to 12.

Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg

Rent a costume and blend into 18th century Colonial Williamsburg, a 301-acre historic area comprised of orginal and reconstructed buildings, homes and shops. Children and adults can interact with a variety of characters in an informal, intimate setting all day long, plus fill up on 18th-century style meals at one of four taverns. $41.95/adult; $20.95/child; under age 6 is free (online rates). Buy Tickets

The National Air and Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly features several flight simulators as well as an observation tower to watch flights come in and out of Washington Dulles International Airport. Above and beyond the simulations and the thrill of huge birds coming in for a landing is the collection of planes and space objects.

  • Boeing B-29 Superfortress “Enola Gay” –  This bomber dropped the first atomic weapon used in combat – Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945.
  • Lockheed Vega 5B – Dubbed “Little Red Bus” but its one-time owner (Amelia Earhart), this plane sent Earhart soaring into the history books as the first woman to fly nonstop and alone across the Atlantic Ocean (May 20-21, 1932).
  • Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird – To cap off its 24 years of active U.S. Air Force service, this jet-propelled aircraft set a speed record on March 6, 1990 during its last flight – LA to DC in 1 hour, 4 minutes and 20 seconds.
  • Space Shuttle Discovery – A vehicle of firsts, Discovery was flown by the first African-American, the first female spacecraft pilot, and ushered the first non-astronaut to space. Discovery was also the longest-serving orbiter with 39 flights, spending 365 days in space.
Civil War Adventure Camp at Pamplin Historical Park

Civil War Adventure Camp at Pamplin Historical Park

Called one of “Virginia’s Best Places to Visit” by the Travel Channel, Pamplin Historical Park in Petersburg is your destination to live the life of a Civil War soldier. Sign up for Civil War Adventure Camp to don the clothes and experience camp life, but be prepared to leave the iPods and other technologies behind. Today’s luxuries are unknown and unwelcome in the 1800s. General Admission is $12/adult and $7/student aged 6 to 12. Camp has additional fees; book now.

In Danville, find the American Armoured Foundation, Inc., also affectionately known as The Tank Museum. The most extensive collection of tank and cavalry artifacts in the world resides here. Dating from 1509 to present day with all nations represented, the Museum has more than 100 tanks and artillery pieces, 150 mid size weapons, 1500+ tank and cavalry uniforms, and 1300 pieces of headgear, pins, patches, and other military memorabilia. Spend plenty of time acquainting yourself with these rare pieces. $10/adult; $9.50/student aged 5 to 12.

Looking for a bigger list? We’ve got that. Check out Virginia’s Cool Places for Kids for even more inspiration.



Family, Outdoors | Comments Off

RevQuest at Colonial Williamsburg. What is it?

by Casey | Posted on July 25th, 2013

I’ve heard of RevQuest: Save the Revolution! at Colonial Williamsburg and noticed that it’s presented each year with a different tagline. However, I have never taken the time to learn what it’s all about. What do you say we learn together?

RevQuest at Colonial Williamsburg. Courtesy of Colonial Williamsburg.

RevQuest in action. Courtesy of Colonial Williamsburg.

RevQuest is an online/onsite alternate reality that’s built for families to become immersed in the history of the Revolution. By participating in RevQuest, we can have a new appreciation for our history. Had different choices been made in the 18th century, the direction our nation took could be vastly removed from what we know today.

Each RevQuest player (Quester) is challenged to save the revolution by deciphering codes found throughout the Historic Area … via text message. (THIS is why kids [and their parents] love RevQuest. It’s a 21st century treasure hunt!) Questers must also avert crises along the way that could change the course of history.

RevQuest is now in its second year and third iteration. Prior episodes were Sign of the Rhinoceros and The Lion and the Unicorn. Knowing that the game changes every year (or twice a year) is all the invitation you need to try to save the Revolution again and again.

The current RevQuest challenge is The Black Chambers. The setting is 1781, nearly five years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Join the spy ring – the “Crossbones Club” – to solve the enemy’s secret messages and help save the Revolution.

 

 

What You Need to Know:

  • RevQuest: The Black Chambers is included with your paid admission to Colonial Williamsburg. Buy Tickets
  • RevQuest: The Black Chambers continues through September 1, 2013, so don’t miss out!

Next Steps:

  • After purchasing tickets online or in person, go to the Colonial Williamsburg Regional Visitor Center to pick up your orders. 
  • The first mission begins at 9:30 a.m. and the last at 2:30 p.m. Solving the mystery should take around two hours if you play it straight through.
  • Get a head start online to obtain the location of secret instructions for a side mission when you visit.

Need help with making your travel plans? Check out this Kids Stay, Play & Eat Free Offer from Colonial Williamsburg. The deal is valid through August 29 and requires a minimum three nights’ stay. Rates are from $78 per adult per night at the Williamsburg Woodlands Hotel & Suites. You’re welcome!

Reviews about RevQuest:

Stay at Colonial Williamsburg

Stay at Colonial Williamsburg

Now that I’ve explored RevQuest online and am inching ever closer to finding the location for my side mission, I’m ready to pay a visit to Colonial Williamsburg. Not only has this sparked my interest, but it will surely entice my children.

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Family, History, Virginia Destinations | 1 Comment

Crazy … for Patsy Cline

by Casey | Posted on April 4th, 2013

Winchester, Virginia was the home of Virginia Hensley, the woman the world knows as country music legend Patsy Cline.

Patsy Cline on the porch of her Winchester home.

Cline was the first solo female member of the Grand Ole Opry (1960) and the first female Country Music Hall of Fame inductee (1973). Her hit song, “Crazy,” was written by Willie Nelson and is still the number one jukebox hit of all time.

Patsy Cline’s home, now the Patsy Cline Historic House, is where she lived, slept and spent her “prime years” (1948-53) while pursuing her career. Visitors enter her home, rather than a museum, to find the cupboards stocked with Quaker Oats and other staples in vintage containers.

A 30- to 45-minute guided tour shows off Cline’s clothes, jewelry, newspaper articles and more in rooms with original furnishings, set up just the way any home would be. Purchase a souvenir from the gift shop and be sure to take a seat on the front porch glider for a photo reminiscent of Patsy’s (above).

To explore and learn more about Patsy Cline, check out Crazy for Patsy Cline – an itinerary for those wanting to explore all things Patsy in Winchester.

LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
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History, Virginia Destinations | 1 Comment

More to LOVE on the Road to Revolution

by Casey | Posted on March 15th, 2013

A new nation wanted a revolution – a clean break from “security, taxation, representation, and political authority,” reads RoadtoRevolution.org, and it’s in Virginia that you can walk this road to see our forefathers’ marks of progress.

St. John's Church

St. John’s Church

The Road to Revolution Heritage Trail runs from the Mount Vernon home of our first president, George Washington, to the favorite estate and final resting place of the “Orator of the Revolution” himself, Patrick Henry, in Brookneal. A total of 20 establishments dating from 1699 Colonial Williamsburg to President James Monroe’s 1799 Ash Lawn-Highland are found on this trail.

In early 2013 the trail was expanded, doubling in size. Plan to travel the Road to Revolution by visiting the sites, as well as taking in the annual “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” Anniversary Reenactment at St. John’s Church in Richmond. It’s happening Sunday, March 16, 2014 at 1 p.m. The reenactment is free with a suggested donation of $5. Seating is first-come, first-served.

Road to Revolution Trail Sites

Download the Road to Revolution Heritage Trail brochure.

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* Updated January 14, 2014.



History | Comments Off

Black History Month in Virginia

by Casey | Posted on February 6th, 2013

Virginia’s history is as rich and diverse as the state itself. If you are curious about what’s happening around Virginia for Black History Month, check out the events and trip ideas below:

Virginia Civil Rights Memorial at Capitol Square

Virginia Civil Rights Memorial at Capitol Square

February 2-3, 9-10, 16-17 and 23-24 in Charlottesville: Waiting on Liberty: Slavery at Jefferson’s “Great House” – This is a two and a half-hour experience through selected rooms of Monticello. Not recommended for children 12 or younger. Buy Tickets

February 9, 16 and 23 in Newport News: African American Film Fest – On these three dates a separate movie will be shown. On February 9, see The Bicycle Corps: America’s Black Army on Wheels. February 16 Cuba Gooding, Jr. is on the big screen in Men of Honor. Later, on February 23, Proudly We Served: The Men of the USS Mason will be shown.

February 9 in Suffolk: “She, Called Moses” – Harriet Tubman led a journey toward freedom, just as Moses did. Hear the tales through this great interactive show built just for families. Buy Tickets

February 11 in Martinsville: A Game Apart: Mike Wiley as Jackie Robinson – See Mike Wiley recount the life Jackie Robinson – a hero on the field but a second-class citizen off of it. This is a powerful illustration of dedication, perseverance and leadership. Buy Tickets

February 16 at Colonial Williamsburg: Wolf by the Ear: A Play About Thomas Jefferson and Slavery - A dramatic portrayal of Thomas Jefferson awaiting the results of a pivotal debate in Congress – would Missouri be admitted to the Union as a free state, signaling a move toward the eventual abolition of slavery? The play is accented by live music from the Revolutionary period through the early Republic. Buy Tickets

February 22 in Portsmouth: Willett Hall presents Freedom Train – The Underground Railroad had one star ‘conductor’ in Harriet Tubman. She personally led more than 300 slaves to freedom over the course of 19 dark-of-night trips. This story is told with period music still sung today, like “Wade in the Water,” “Follow the Drinking Gourd” and others.

February 23 in Fredericksburg: Virginia Black History Month Gala – The 23rd Regiment United States Colored Troops’ efforts are commemorated more than once a year, but on this special night, keynote speaker Roland Martin makes a presentation over dinner and entertainment is provided by Howard University’s Theater & Arts Department. Expect to also see a Broom Jumping Ceremony and youth orchestra. Book Now

Virginia’s Black History Attractions
More Black History Month Events
Notable African-American Virginians

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