This post was made possible by Visit Fred, Fredericksburg, Virginia’s tourism office who arranged complimentary admission for us at many Fredericksburg attractions. We appreciate their support of Jersey Family Fun that allows us to share with families information about Fredericksburg attractions we think families will enjoy.
Trolley Tours of Fredericksburg
We started our family vacation with a trolley tour of Fredericksburg, Virginia. We arrived just in time to catch the 1:30 pm trolley leaving from the Visit Fred Visitor’s Center in front of the Courtyard Fredericksburg Historic District. This was the perfect way to start our Fredericksburg journey. Being on the trolley tour allowed us to see a lot of Historic Fredericksburg attractions from the outside.
As the trolley navigated through the area, we took some great pictures (see them here) through the open air windows and learned about the history of the area and some unique facts. With so much to do in Fredericksburg this was a great way to see a little bit of a lot of the area and determine which attractions we would want to go back and explore more during our #VisitFred trip. That’s where the below attractions first caught our eye and I knew we had to visit them.
Trolley Tours of Fredericksburg take a continuous 75 minute tour of Fredericksburg. There are times when the tour stops, but there is no getting on and off the trolley once the tour stops. You can learn more at their site http://www.fredericksburgtrolley.com.
Visit Fred’s Children’s Walking Tour
In the Visit Fred’s Visitor Center, your child can pick up a map detailing the Frederickburg’s Children’s Walking Tour. You can download it here. The map details the different historical buildings and attractions in Fredericksburg you can visit. There are 20 different buildings along the paved sidewalks.
As you walk from one historic site to the next, you’ll also find cute gift shops, and tasty eateries. At 6 of the buildings kids can earn a special stamp on their map. So be sure each child has their own map. Those maps will make for a great free Fredericksburg souvenir. The descriptions on the map will also help your child remember what they learned. I grabbed an extra map for myself and used a highlighter to map out the path we wanted to take. I knew my kids might not want to visit everywhere, but we were able to do most of the 6 stamping locations by following a rectangular path. Our favorite stops on the path were the James Monroe Museum and the Historic Kenmore Plantation. Read more about them below.
A couple things to know about the Visit Fred’s Children’s Walking Tour:
- Give yourself plenty of time. It doesn’t take a lot of time to walk the path, but you may find yourself spending anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or so at each location. You could easily take a day or two to visit all of the Children’s Walking Tour attractions.
- The sidewalks are paved and stroller accessible.
- Most intersections do not have traffic lights. Proceed carefully as you approach an intersection.
- Some locations will have an admission fee.
- Most of the historical buildings close and stop giving tours between 4 and 5 pm, so plan accordingly.
- Also be aware that due to the artifacts within some buildings, photography may not be allowed.
- Street parking is limited but there are some free and affordable parking lots along some side streets.
James Monroe Museum
The James Monroe Museum might have been built in honor of our fifth president, but this Fredericksburg attraction surely must have been designed by a mom. Yes, you can see elegant china and fancy clothing used in those times, but on the Fredericksburg Children’s Walking Tour we found this to be the most child-friendly location. This Young Patriot’s Corner had so much to see, do, and touch my kids could easily have played for over an hour while I relaxed in the chair.
At the James Monroe Museum kids can
Dress a colonial person or dress up themselves.
Design a patchwork quilt.
Read a story about colonial times.
Historic Kenmore Plantation
While a mom likely designed the James Monroe Museum, it was a grandma that lead us on our tour of the Historic Kenmore Plantation, another Fredericksburg attraction. This Fredericksburg historic site caught my attention from the trolley tour windows. It looked so magnificent from the outside, I knew I had to visit to explore the grounds.
Even though the Historic Kenmore Plantation is part of the walking tour, we took the short drive over since it was our last Fredericksburg vacation stop before we headed back to New Jersey. Thankfully, we got there in enough time to catch the last tour of the day. In fact, we had a few of those extra oh no I hope my kids behave moments before the tour began. That’s where we met our tour guide Miriam. Her grandmother senses must have been working because she came over to talk to the boys about some of the exhibits in the first building. At a time they could have been bored and antsy, she engaged them in learning and had them hanging on her every word.
Then bestill my heart in certain buildings Miriam took them behind the ropes and showed them special artifacts to reward them for their good behavior. How awesome is that? You can’t take photos in the buildings, so you’ll have to trust me. We all learned so much. She had them searching for cannon balls in the wall, understanding how to tell if an oven is just right when you don’t have a thermometer, how a trunk for luggage got its name, and so much more. She made history fun even for me.
At at time when my boys could have been tired and ready to go this was a great way to round out our family vacation to Fredericksburg.
George Washington’s Boyhood Home & The Ferry Farm
George Washington’s boyhood home and Ferry Farm are just a short drive from Historic Fredericksburg. Keep your eyes opened as you drive by though. It sits back from the road and the signage is small. So while it’s easy to miss it, you don’t want to. This is another Fredericksburg attraction that you could easily spend hours at. I loved that learning at George Washington’s home involved bits of the past combined with today’s modern technology and an opportunity to look into the future.
The main building has historical exhibits as well as an windowed hallway where you can see current artifacts being studied and examined. Yes, archaeology something we usually hear about being used to study Egyptians and dinosaurs is being used to learn about George Washington and how he lived. There is an actual dig site on Ferry Farm where archaeologists are looking for more artifacts. You can even step up to the sifting boxes and see if you can locate anything. On another area of the property work has begun on building a recreation of George Washington’s home.
A photo posted by Jersey Family Fun (@jerseyfamilyfun) on Mar 29, 2016 at 9:40am PDT
As you tour this Fredericksburg attraction, check out an iPad from the welcome center. Each numbered spot along the trail corresponds to an area in the app, that allows visitors to learn more about George Washington through pictures, stories, and videos. You can even use the app to look into the future and learn about the home they are building on Ferry Farm.
Don’t forget your lunch and snacks. The open spaces of Ferry Farm provide for a picturesque setting to enjoy your lunch overlooking the water. There’s also a nature trail if you want to explore more of this beautiful Fredericksburg attraction.
Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park National Park
Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park National Park otherwise known as Fredericksburg Battlefield was the area of one of the Civil War’s most famous battles. This spacious National Park provided us with a multitude of experiences for learning, fun, and making great memories together. I had no idea when I drove up to this Fredericksburg attraction all that was in the building and beyond it.
We entered and were immediately welcomed by a National Park Ranger. We were introduced to the Kids to Parks Day program and how the National Park Trust is celebrating the Centennial of the National Park Service and the launch of the “Every Kid in a Park” initiative, which gives all US 4th graders and their families a pass to enjoy all national parks free this year. You can learn more at https://www.parktrust.org/youthprograms/national-kids-to-parks-day.
Our friendly park ranger told my boys about the Junior Ranger program. By completing the workbook, each boy could earn their own Junior Ranger badge. With each additional visit to a National Park my boys could earn additional rings for around their badge.
They were excited and ready to learn and earn. Think of the Junior Ranger program as an educational scavenger hunt. Each page of the Junior Ranger booklet corresponded with a different location at the Fredericksburg Battlefield. My boys had to answer questions, take note of differences from then and now, and draw some images.
In between their Junior Ranger activities, they acted out scenes from what they imagined the Civil War was like. Walking around the Battlefield it wasn’t hard to imagine what it must have been like. They were so proud of their accomplishments and my 11 year old enjoyed it so much he wrote his own blog post (coming soon) about the Fredericksburg Battlefield.
A photo posted by Jersey Family Fun (@jerseyfamilyfun) on Mar 29, 2016 at 8:36am PDT
Touring this Fredericksburg attraction, could easily fill another day or afternoon of your Visit Fred vacation. There are open spaces where you can enjoy your picnic lunch. Indoor and outdoor activates and exhibits as well as short films you can watch about the Civil War.
Central Park Funland
Central Park Funland might not be a historic Fredericksburg attraction, but you will most definitely have an epic adventure here as well. Arrive early or give yourself an extra afternoon to enjoy all the fun your family can have at this indoor outdoor Fredericksburg amusement park.
Outdoors at Central Funland there are go carts for kids ages 8 and up as well as adults. My little guy was so excited to be able to drive his own car around the track. No worries mom, older kids and adults use the racetrack at a separate time than the younger kids. You can see him racing around the Funland racetrack in this video.
The outdoor area also has some classic boardwalk rides that will make your kids squeal and siblings get along. Take a look at my boys below.
When it gets chillier, if it rains, or you’re ready for more fun, head inside of the Central Park Funland. There are more rides, arcades, and a crazy cool laser tag. My oldest son, my 11 year old had such a blast working his way around the course while my younger guys wanted to stay out and play the skeeball and gigantic Connect 4 game. With a pizzeria inside, we easily could have spent hours and hours at Central Park Funland. You can see more of our Funland photos on Facebook and learn more about their ride and play packages here.
A video posted by Jersey Family Fun (@jerseyfamilyfun) on Mar 28, 2016 at 4:50pm PDT
Want to see more photos from our #VisitFred road trip? Click over to these Facebook albums.
- Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park
- George Washington’s Boyhood Home at Ferry Farm
- Historic Fredericksburg Children’s Walking Tour
- Trolley Tours of Fredericksburg
- Central Park Funland
Learn more about any of these Frederickburg attractions at the Visit Fred’s site the best source to learn and plan for your family vacation to Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Click over to see the rest of our Family Travel to Fredericksburg, Virginia series.
To arrange a feature on your location contact Jennifer Auer, Jersey Family Fun editor & publisher at firstname.lastname@example.org.