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FAMILY TRAVEL: Colonial Williamsburg with the Kids

By Jackie Burrell
Sunday, December 2nd, 2007 at 11:42 am in Family Travel.

Mann family
The historical past comes alive in Colonial Virginia, says the Mann family in today’s Times travel section. Here’s the scoop on where to stay, what to do and how to do it…plus links.

THE TRAVELERS: Firefighter Steve, Maria and their kids Shane, 10, and Thomas, 6, and “grandma” Bettye.

THE TREK IN A SEC: A fun filled adventure back in time visiting historic Jamestown, Williamsburg, Yorktown in Virginia, and Washington D.C.

BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY HOTEL: The Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, VA. “The lodge has a rustic, Northwoods atmosphere that incorporates a Magic Quest scavenger hunt adventure throughout the resort,” says Maria. “Our favorite part of staying there was the huge, indoor water park. We had an incredible time on the nine water slides, in the six pools, on the body board wave rider, and exploring the four-story tree house water fort. Additional activities offered at the resort include a large arcade, an outside miniature golf course, and different adventures offered through the Magic Quest game. The kids continuously ask us when we are going back to Great Wolf Lodge (there are ten different Great Wolf Lodge locations in the U.S. and Canada).”

mann2 COOLEST SIGHTSEEING: “Virginia is an amazing state,” the Manns say. “There is so much history and so many fun places to visit. Jamestown is currently celebrating its 400th anniversary as our nation’s first settlement. Visiting the original historic site, seeing the current excavation sites, and exploring the same, beautiful area that was once the home of Pocahontas and Captain John Smith was very cool…

Colonial Williamsburg is a treat for all ages. It feels like you have stepped back into time. We enjoyed the opportunity of learning to write with quills, riding in a horse drawn carriage, placing the kids in the stocks, and participating in simple, popular games of the time such as rolling hoops and throwing corn husks…

“The Yorktown museum at the visitors center is a must see. The museum does an incredible job placing you there on the frontline, during the last battle of the Revolutionary War. Outside, at the center, you have the opportunity to participate in several activities located in a soldier’s camp and to visit colonists on their homestead and farm…

“And Washington D.C. was as everyone advised, too much to see and too little time. TheThe first place we visited was the top of the Washington Monument. It was a treat seeing everything from above before setting out to visit the other popular sites. One of our favorite places to visit was the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History. We enjoyed the dinosaurs, mammal collection, nature photography, but the unexpected favorite was the huge collection of natural gems. Another family favorite was the International Spy Museum, where we all learned how to be spies and had a great time checking out all of the cool spy gadgets.”

BEST RESTAURANT: The Loose Moose Cottage at the Great Wolf Lodge — “Huge buffet, freshly carved prime rib, one of the largest salad bars we’ve ever seen, Mexican, Italian, Asian cuisine, and a dessert selection beyond imagination. It was tough deciding what to eat, and not to eat too much because we wanted to get right back on the water slides.”

1) For touring Jamestown, Colonial Williamsburg, and Yorktown – purchasing a Historic Triangle Pass provides unlimited access to each site (some special events are extra), plus a break in the price. This pass can be purchased on line or in person at any of the sites.
2) For going to the top of the Washington Monument – tickets offered on site go fast, so purchase your tickets ahead of time through the U.S. Parks Service.
3) When considering hotels in Washington D.C., choose one with easy access or shuttle service to the Metro Train Line. The Metro is a great way to travel around D.C.
4) Pack plenty of snacks and water for the family. This saves a bundle!
5) Incorporate a road trip with your visit to the area. Virginia and its neighboring states offer amazing sight seeing.
6) During the middle of the trip, take a break from sight seeing and recharge your batteries at the Great Wolf Lodge.

Has your family been somewhere wonderful? Share your photos, favorite hotels and outings, and travel tips by e-mailing

Looking for more travel tips? This morning’s Times travel section had a story on the hotel quandary of every large family — how to squeeze six people into a room without provoking innkeepers’ wrath.

More family travel posts:
Cancun Family Adventures
London with Teens
New York City & DC with a Theater-Going Family
New York City with a Baseball-Loving Family
California Beach Towns
Paris avec le bebe
and Vancouver with the Kids

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