Live Out Your Colonial History Fantasies in Greater Williamsburg

Throw an ax & fire a musket at Colonial Williamsburg. Drill with the Continental Army at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. Steer a Colonial-style ship at Jamestown Settlement. Live out your historical fantasies and step into history in the Greater Williamsburg area!

Jamestown Settlement Museum
Jamestown Settlement Museum
Colonial Williamsburg Fife & Drum March
Colonial Williamsburg Fife & Drum March
American Revolution Museum at Yorktown
American Revolution Museum at Yorktown

What's more fun than looking at history? Experiencing it. The virtual world may be at your fingertips, but real-world experiences are just a trip to Greater Williamsburg away. Check out these ways to travel back in time and find out what it was like to live in Colonial times. Just don't tell the kids all that fun is really “participatory” learning. 


Sign Up for the Revolution

Outside the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, you can join in periodic wooden-musket drills in a re-created Continental Army encampment complete with historical interpreters, military drills, and a daily artillery demonstration at 3 p.m. where you might learn to help fire the big gun. 

Photo Courtesy of the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown

Go Down on the Farm

Also at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, explore the 18th-century family of Edward Moss, whose life is well documented in York County, Va., records. Historical interpreters will explain life on the farm, which included fields for wheat, corn, tobacco and cotton. Historical interpreters cook over an open hearth where you'll have the chance to mix ingredients, some grown in the nearby kitchen garden.



Converse with the Builders of a Nation

At Colonial Williamsburg, meet and speak with the wide range of people who built a young nation, everyone from Thomas Jefferson to James Armistead Lafayette, an enslaved man who infiltrated the British army as a servant for Lord Cornwallis. He paved the way for the siege of Yorktown by reporting key information to the Marquis de Lafayette.

Photo Courtesy of Colonial Williamsburg


Fire a Musket

Step up and fire five live rounds at a target from two different reproduction 18th-century flintlocks used during the Revolutionary War at Colonial Williamsburg. Take the target and a small souvenir musket ball home to show your friends how skilled you are at using very old weapons.  

Throw an Ax

Yes, ax-throwing has become hipster cool, but here's a chance to get instruction from the experts at Colonial Williamsburg. You want to do it right, of course. You'll get a lesson in the history of ax throwing, the uses of belt axes, and tips on the proper technique. Then you can return home and wow the patrons at the local bar ax-throwing contest.


Defend the First Permanent English Settlement

Sign up for a premium tour at Jamestown Settlement and you can "charge your pike" by participating in a special pike drill. What's a pike? It's a 16-18-foot pole with a small bladed head effective against cavalry charges. As part of the tour, you'll see a matchlock musket loaded and fired and get a book of instructions for wielding a pike in case you sign up as an extra on the next big historical drama. 

Photo Courtesy of Jamestown Settlement 

Learn the Ropes

Moored at Jamestown Settlement's pier are re-creations of three ships that ferried the first permanent English colonists to Virginia in 1607. Walk up the plank to explore them. Learn about the more than four-month-long voyage from England. Steer the tiller. Tie sailors' knots. Or squeeze into the cramped sailor's bunk. And be thankful you’ll be sleeping on land tonight.


Looking for more to do this fall? Check out Greater Williamsburg's family fun things to do and seven essential things to visit.

Then plan your visit today.


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