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Good For Kids
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Views of the James River are good and in nice weather it’s a good place to take a walk and unwind a bit.
Closest available address
1368 Colonial Parkway Jamestown, VA 23081
Entry gate opens at 8:30 am & closes at 4:30 pm, closed some holidays.
Best time to visit
Summer, Fall, Spring
Historic Jamestowne (spelled with an “e”) is the site of the first permanent English settlement in America. It’s part of the Colonial National Historical Park. The Jamestown unit includes the first settlement ruins, two museums, a historic church and a glassmaking shop.
Jamestown was founded in 1607 by a British private company. The island was chosen because it was far enough from the sea to better defend against attacks from other Europeans, and it was not settled by Indians. The settlement’s first few years were precarious due to lack of food, diseases and periodic Indian attacks. It survived due to capable leadership, well-timed arrivals of new settlers and supplies and some luck. By the end of the 1600s, the settlement and the larger colony of Virginia had grown extensively and the capital was moved to Williamsburg. Jamestown then was used for farming and was generally neglected until preservation efforts began in the late 1800s.
An orientation film at the main museum was basic and somewhat boring. However, the more detailed museum displays offered good insight into the settlement's founding and growth. A second museum called the Archaearium is built over the ruins of a statehouse and the old foundation is visible below the flooring. The Archaearium exhibits local artifacts. If time is limited, go to the Archaearium first as the artifacts are interesting. Also worth seeing are the settlement grounds. Exterior foundations are reconstructions, but the signs and video displays are informative. This park is worth a visit for its historical significance and learning opportunities. It also provides good value for a relatively modest entrance fee. Historic Jamestowne is the main attraction here, but there also is a pleasant auto drive around the 1,500 acre island.
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Gar the Bold
11/24/2013 10:15:46 PM
My kids loved this place. However, it is very helpful to watch a PBS or National Geographic program about Jamestowne before you visit.
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