There’s something for every student in Williamsburg, Virginia. Whether young learners are history buffs excited to travel back to colonial times, science whizzes, or thrill-seekers looking to get topsy-turvy on a rollercoaster, the region has it all. And for educators? Williamsburg does more than check the subject matter boxes – it immerses all students the way they need to be engaged while making the experience convenient, accessible, and fun.
History comes alive at Colonial Williamsburg, the largest outdoor living museum in the U.S. Costumed 18th-century interpreters engage with students throughout manicured gardens, while tending animals, blacksmithing, woodworking, or gunsmithing, using the same methods as some of the country’s earliest settlers. Step further back in time at Historic Jamestowne, the site of the first permanent English settlement that includes an active archaeological dig giving students the chance to get hands-on with artifacts like pottery of both Virginian and European origin. Students can also supplement their social studies lessons at nearby Jamestown Settlement, where the cultures of the English, West Central Africans, and Powhatan Indians converged throughout the 1600s. Interpreters bring to life the day-to-day of native people and settlers through a reconstructed colonial fort, a re-creation of a Paspahegh town, and onboard staffed replicas of English ships.
At the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, the story of the nation’s founding is a multi-sensorial experience, with films including “The Siege of Yorktown” on a 180-degree surround screen with special effects. Indoor exhibits set the stage for an outdoor Continental Army encampment, where kids learn about the life of a soldier and experience the inner workings of a Revolution-era farm.
Students can step into the shoes of George Washington and his troops at Yorktown Battlefield. They’ll see the field tents used by the first U.S. president in battle before embarking on a ranger-led walking tour of the battlefields where the decisive victory by the Continental Army and their French allies paved the way to the birth of a new nation.
STEM learning: There’s no shortage of opportunities to get outdoors in Williamsburg, while exploring science, technology, engineering, and math along the way. The trains and coasters at Busch Gardens – and slides at nearby Water Country USA – are the perfect opportunity to talk about speed and velocity. Combine adventure with nature at Freedom Park, offering heart-pounding ziplining and a botanical garden.
Phys Ed.: The action continues at Williamsburg’s plentiful parks, which include – but certainly aren’t limited to – a student-friendly playground area at Waller Mill Park. The ADA-accessible 2-acre beach at Yorktown Waterfront includes all the opportunities (and bathing/restroom facilities) students need to splish and splash, or simply gather shells. (Even better? Sails aboard a schooner include pirate- or history-themed adventures depart from here.)
Culinary arts and geography: Worried about picky eaters? There are multiple group dining options that cater to any allergy or price point. Williamsburg, Virginia is easily accessible to three international airports, and an Amtrak Station in the heart of downtown. Everything is just a 2.5-hour drive from Washington, D.C.
For educators: While there’s never a shortage of things to do in Williamsburg, the small details are all taken care of for teachers who want to plan exciting and immersive student travel. It’s easy – and fast – to submit an RFP (request for proposal) or read more about accommodations, attractions, dining, and transportation options here.