It’s time now to journey back in time to the 1700s, in the middle of the American Revolutionary War, to a place called Valley Forge.
When you arrive at Valley Forge (hopefully you don’t experience as much construction/traffic difficulties as we did!!), head right into the main entrance and begin your field trip at the visitor’s center. From there, you’ll be guided to where you watch an 18-min video (for free!) on Washington’s Encampment. This provides a great prelude for your kids and helps them better understand all that happened at Valley Forge. This video shows every ½ hour starting at 9:30AM.
It’s time now to journey back in time to the 1700s, in the middle of the American Revolutionary… Click To Tweet
Once you are done with the video, head back down to the visitor’s center. You probably noticed when you arrived that there a lot of different displays off to the right of the visitor’s center. There are displays that depict different details about how with was living in Valley Forge in the winter months. These soldiers went through a lot – snow, starvation, hunger, and separation from families. In addition, was the reality that they were at war with their mother country, England, and had to always be on guard.
Valley Forge is a beautiful park with a great driving tour option that you can do on your own. Once you are done inside at the visitor’s center and the gift shop, grab a map and head back to your car. Since the visitor’s center was stop #1, your next stop will be #2 – the Muhlenberg Bridge, where you could stop to have a nice picnic lunch. My mom, brother, and cousins picked a nice spot to have our picnic in a grassy section right by one the artillery canons. When your lunch is finished, you will see some huts up ahead. You and your kids can even take a peek inside and imagine what it must have been like to stay with 6-8 others in such a small cabin. Nothing like the bunk beds we have today!
Once you’re back in the car, you can continue on your driving tour. Don’t feel like you have to stop and get out at each spot. There is space along the way to pull over and take pictures and also to read the map which has a description of each place. Along the way, you’ll pass the National Memorial Arch, the statue of General Wayne, an artillery park, and the Washington Memorial Chapel.
My favorite along the driving tour was stop #5 – Washington’s Headquarters. I promise, you will definitely want to get out and experience this stop! You will first notice an old train station. This is the 1911 Valley Forge Station and has a bunch of neat displays and mini videos inside. Next to it is Washington’s headquarters. Inside the stone building, you’ll pretty much just see the setup of how General Washington and Martha lived during their stay at Valley Forge, but be sure to read about it inside the station.
The time spent at Valley Forge is such a crucial part of American history and it happened right in Pennsylvania! The courage of the generals and soldiers of the continental army is something to be admired. Valley Forge Park allows us the ability to appreciate all that those soldiers had to go through to fight for the freedoms that we enjoy today.
And of course, don’t miss this chance to shop at the King of Prussia mall only 5 minutes away! That is, if you and your kids aren’t too tired after all the amazingness of Valley Forge!
Previous published in the CHAP Magazine
Copyright, 2017, Rachel Rittenhouse