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Family Vacations and Reviews
Jamestown Settlement is a re-creation of the first permanent English settlement in North America. The site includes several outdoor exhibits including James Fort, a Powhatan Indian village, and re-creations of the ships that carried the settlers to Jamestown. There are live actors in costume on site playing original roles from Jamestown such as John Smith, a gunsmith, blacksmith, and more.
Memorial Tower with Museum on left
Go here to learn more about the history of Jamestown.
What to See and Do
There is a lot to see and do at the Jamestown Settlement. You can spend anywhere from an hour to maybe half a day at the site. When you pay for your ticket you will get an easy to follow map of the outdoor exhibits and museum.
One of the largest exhibits is James Fort. Inside the fort there are a number of buildings to explore including the settler's homes where you can see just how they would have lived. There is also a church, an armory, blacksmith, John Smith's home, and more. We got to watch the blacksmith work on the bellows and a gunsmith load and fire a musket. We also talked to an actor playing John Smith about his adventures.
A home in James Fort
Following the trails to the end of the site, you will come to a seaport with a re-creation of the three ships used to carry the original settlers to Jamestown: the Susan Constant, the Godspeed, and the Discovery. You can go onto these ships and see how the settlers travelled. The beds are very small! Actors onboard can explain the different aspects of the ship such as how the travelers cooked meals and navigated through storms.
At the Powhatan Village you can learn about the Native Americans that lived near Jamestown when the first settlers arrived. They played an important role in the history and survival of the site. At the village you will be able to explore Powhatan homes, see how they made their clothes, how they prepared their food, and carved out canoes. The most famous Powhatan is Pocahontas, daughter of the Powhatan Chief. She rescued John Smith from getting killed and then married Virginian John Rolfe. You can learn more about Pocahontas here.
The Susan Constant Ship
There is also a very good indoor museum at the Jamestown Settlement. It was much larger than we expected and had some interesting exhibits that walk you through the timeline of the settlement of Virginia.
Where is it?
The Jamestown Settlement is on the east coast of Virginia near the city of Williamsburg. Nearby cities include Richmond, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach.
How much does it cost?
At the time of this writing, a single day ticket is $16 for adults and $7.50 for adults. There are various packages available that include the Yorktown Victory Center and Colonial Williamsburg.
Fun Facts about the Jamestown Settlement
- If you want to see the original Jamestown site you can visit the nearby archeological site of Historic Jamestowne.
- Queen Elizabeth II of England visited Jamestown in 2007 in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown.
- The museum first opened in 1957. It is generally open year round except for Christmas and New Year's Day.
- There is a gift shop and restaurant near the entrance.
- There are special events throughout the year including the "Party on the Pier" which helps to raise money for the museum.
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