Full Price Admission Cost: Varies
WWWW Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Colonial Williamsburg is one of those attractions that everyone needs to see at some point. Obviously, when we found ourselves in the Williamsburg area for the first time, we took advantage of it and paid a visit to this well-known living history museum. This was definitely a splurge for us as the attraction is quite expensive, and looking back on it I wish we had waited to visit in September during the homeschool days event. Still, we had a blast, learned a lot, and don’t regret going for a second.
When you go to purchase tickets, you have a few choices. You can buy a sampler pass which allows you to see 4 of the dozens of buildings, or you can buy a day pass or multi day pass. We chose to buy the sampler ticket since we we needed to stay within budget and we needed up with an extra building because one employee’s hole punch wasn’t working properly. Honestly, I recommend a multi-day pass if you can swing it, but the sampler was fine, and filled almost the entire day.
The place is laid out just like an 18th century town or maybe even what would’ve been considered a big city at the time. Some of the reenactors stay in character very well and will speak to you as if they are actually from the 1700s. However, many do not take on characters, something that was a bit disappointing for me. Even so, we really enjoyed chatting with the actors and recommend asking as many questions as you can.
Included in the town is a little bit of everything with a few homes open for tours, tradesmen demonstrating their crafts, a courtroom with actual trials, and a coffeehouse. You pick and choose which places to visit.
We decided to visit the courthouse, book bindery, blacksmith, and the Geddy House. We also ended up at the coffeehouse when we discovered we had a bonus punch on our cards. We loved everything we saw. However, the Geddy House was our least favorite, and I wish we would’ve seen the plantation instead.
The book bindery was fascinating and as a person who loves books, I had a great time learning about how they were made in times past. That said, the binder was not the most talkative person, and you had to ask questions to get answers rather than simply listening to him talk.
When we got to the blacksmith we found that he was more talkative and very knowledgeable. There were a few people working in the shop, and we got to see a number of things being made. Super cool stuff!
The Geddy House was interesting enough in that it allowed us to see what a typical, upper middle class family would’ve lived like during the time. Brendon got to play with some colonial toys, and we got to check out the various rooms of the house as well as the shop and garden.
We attended a trial in the courtroom, and my husband and I found it all very interesting, if unfair at times. Brendon had a hard time following along, but the experience did spark plenty of discussions after the fact.
Finally, the coffeehouse was probably my favorite of the buildings. We learned about what coffeehouses were used for at the time (the same sorts of things they’re used for now, actually) and why they really weren’t successful here in America. We also got to try some drinking chocolate which was super strong and not at all sweet.
All in all, we had a fantastic (but super hot) day. We will likely be back, but will use the quick tips below to make our visit even better.
- Try to visit during homeschool days in September. During this time, homeschoolers receive steep discounts and free educational classes and activities.
- If you don’t visit during homeschool days, ask for a homeschool discount. These are available throughout the year.
- Try to visit during the spring or fall. Summer is incredibly hot and winter can be quite cold.
- There are restaurants onsite, but they’re all pricey. Therefore, you may want to consider packing a lunch.
Books to Read
- The Magic Treehouse: Revolutionary War on a Wednesday – by Mary Pope Osborne
- If You Lived in Williamsburg in Colonial Days – by Barbara Brenner
- American Girl: Original Felicity Series
- Hogsheads to Blockheads – by Barry Varela
Videos to Watch
Activities to Do
- Make a meal using colonial recipes.
- Wash laundry the colonial way.
- Make a corn husk doll.
- Make and use a quill pen (or just buy one to use).
Things to Discuss
- What would your day have been like as a colonial child?
- Why did the Revolutionary War happen?
- Do you think the court hearings in Colonial Williamsburg were fair?
- Which colonial trade would you most like to learn and why?
Other Area Attractions
Below are some of the other great attractions in this area. We try to keep things affordable, sticking to free and cheap attractions or museums and zoos on reciprocal lists. If an attraction is affiliated with a reciprocal program or offers free admission, I have noted that beside the attraction listing. To learn more about saving money using reciprocal programs see this post.
- Jamestown Settlement – Homeschool Days/Ongoing Discount Available
- Historic Jamestowne – America the Beautiful Pass (discount only)
- Yorktown Battlefield – America the Beautiful Pass
- Revolutionary War Museum at Yorktown – Homeschool Days/Ongoing Discount Available
- Busch Gardens Williamsburg – Busch Gardens Pass
- Water Country USA – Busch Gardens Pass
Closest Places to Stay on a Budget
- State, County, and City Parks: Chickahominy Riverfront Park – 10.5 mi
- Thousand Trails: Williamsburg RV Campground – 10.5 mi
- Thousand Trails: Chesapeake Bay RV Campground – 40.6
- Passport America: Williamsburg Campark – 8.8 mi
- Passport America: Anvil Campground – 3.5 mi
Related Attractions in Other Areas
- Plimoth Plantation – Plymouth, MA – WWWW Roadschool Guide
- Jamestown Settlement – Williamsburg, VA – Homeschool Days in Sept
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