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Virginia: Richmond,  Free or Almost Free Family Vacation Fun.328VARichmondPatriots For kids seeing and hearing about moments in history will make a lasting impression and in Richmond it’s not only easy but also fun to step back in time and introduce your children to Colonial Virginia. Meet Patrick Henry, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson and feel the tension in the air as reenactors discuss the volatile issues leading to the Revolutionary War.
 
Mingle with patriots - Patrick, George and Tom. The summer season of weekly public reenactments at St. John's Church continue to thrill audiences as Richmond's longest running historical performance. Bring your friends and family to a free reenactment performed by the Patrick Henry Committee of St. John's Church at the original location of the Second Virginia Convention of March 1775, where in the presence of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and other notable Virginians, Patrick Henry delivered his passionate call for liberty, credited with having swung the balance in convincing the Virginia House of Burgesses to pass the resolution delivering the Virginia troops to the Revolutionary War.

Professional actors in 1770s attire portray ten of the "founding fathers" who participated in the animated convention debates culminating in Patrick Henry's passionate speech.  Performances occur each Sunday in the summer beginning Memorial Day weekend and run through Labor Day weekend. Bonus points: Free tickets are distributed at the front door and each reenactment is preceded by a patriotic music program performed on the rare Adam Stein organ.  Reenactments last approximately 45 minutes and a voluntary donation is collected at the end of each performance.  Need to know: The Anniversary Reenactment is held on the Sunday in March closest to March 23, the actual date of Henry's speech. (2401 E Broad St., Richmond, VA 23223.  www.HistoricStJohnsChurch.org)

Stop by St. John’s anytime. St. John’s Church a National Historic Landmark making it a living memorial to American liberty. Although Patrick Henry doesn’t hang out in the church every day his message is obvious. This was at the church that more than 100 Virginia colonial leaders, including Patrick Henry, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Richard Henry Lee, and Peyton Randolph met in March of 1775 to avoid the wrath of Royal Governor Lord Dunmore in Williamsburg. Patrick Henry’s famous “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech was delivered on 23 March 1775 inside the church. The American Revolution began the following month when shots were fired at Lexington and Concord.

The permanent exhibition explores the history of the church and Richmond, political elections in the eighteenth century, events leading to the American Revolution, the delegates to the Second Virginia Convention, and Patrick Henry’s political career. Bonus points: The gift shop features the PBS documentary “Liberty or Death” DVD and publication Liberty or Death: St. John’s Church and the American Revolution and they carry a unique collection of colonial books, games, and crafts for children. (St. John's Church 2401 E Broad St Richmond, VA 23223. (804) 648-5015, 649-0263 or www.HistoricStJohnsChurch.org)

Join the Wilton house encampment. In May of 1781, General Lafayette and his troops bivouacked on the grounds of Wilton House. This encampment event will take place on May 15 - 16, 2010 and will portray members of the infantry, artillery, and rifle companies of the rear guard of General Lafayette's army, which stayed behind long enough to make sure the British did not sneak up behind the main body of American troops. During the day there will be drills, firing demonstrations, and camp life interpretations for children and adults of all ages and everyone will have a chance to drill with the troops in the afternoon. Need to know: Admission and parking are free. (Wilton House (282) 5936 x 4 for information or www.wiltonhousemuseum.org)
 
Try Jammin’ on the James for free.  During the summer months visitors are invited to bring a picnic dinner and lawn chairs and enjoy family-friendly music on the grass terrace overlooking the James River at Wilton House and take a walk-through tour of Wilton- Richmond’s only public plantation home and view the summer exhibit, “Keeping Cool in Colonial and Federal Virginia”. Kids will be entertained with face-painting, a balloon artist and games while parents enjoy the Jazz. Need to know: Admission and parking are free. Seating is on a first-come basis. (Wilton House (282) 5936 x 4 for information or www.wiltonhousemuseum.org) 328VARichmondSummerCamp
 
Colonial summer camp in August. What was it like to be a kid in 18th century Colonial Virginia and live in an authentic plantation home? Just imagine hearing Patrick Henry's famous "Give Me Liberty" speech? In August Wilton House Museum and St. John's Church will be conducting a five-day collaborative living history camp for children. Participants will learn about how children would have dressed, played, and lived in Colonial Virginia. They will prepare colonial meals, churn butter, decorate a floor cloth, stencil designs, create watercolor paintings, uncover Richmond's architecture, and learn how to play and dance as if living in 18th century Virginia. Bonus points: There will be a chance to take part in an archeological "dig" at Wilton. Kids will tour and explore historic Church Hill, "meet" famous personalities buried in St. John’s Church’s graveyard, make a colonial wig and participate in the Second Virginia Convention. Need to know: Pre-registration is required for all participants. (Wilton House 215 S. Wilton Road Richmond VA 23226. (804) 282-5936 x 4 or www.wiltonhousemuseum.org)

About St. John's Church. Their mission is to provide quality educational programming at St. John’s Church, a National Historic Landmark in recognition as the original location of Patrick Henry’s “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech, and to preserve the site as a symbol of the American Revolution, for the education of present and future generations. They provide quality educational programming that engages, educates, and reinforces classroom instruction for students and adults from across our nation and around the world, by exploring and interpreting the events in Virginia that led to the American Revolution. (St. John's Church 2401 E Broad St Richmond, VA 23223. (804) 648-5015, 649-0263 or www.HistoricStJohnsChurch.org)

Make it happen. Richmond Family Vacation Fun - 400 years of history and Colonial spirit plus all of the fun stuff for a perfect family getaway. Check out family vacation packages, special events, and deals.  Richmond Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau 401 North 3rd Street Richmond, VA 23219 or www.visitrichmondva.com
 
Content researched by FTF and images provided by St. John’s Church and Wilson House. Updated copyright 2014.
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