Ready for me to share Day #2 of my family’s spring break adventure in Greater Williamsburg?
If you missed my post from last week, we took the kids to explore Greater Williamsburg for spring break the week of April 17th. We were thrilled to see all that Greater Williamsburg has to offer families on vacation, way more than we ever imagined! Family travel is extremely important to my husband and me because it’s a wonderful way to create memories and bond with your family on a deeper, more personal level. Throughout my childhood, my parents always tried to bring us (I’m one of 4 kids) on one big family vacation each year. My parents never wanted to repeat a destination – they always wanted to bring us on a brand new adventure, a brand new place. I look back on those family vacations as some of the best times from my childhood. And yes – Greater Williamsburg was one of those destinations from my childhood!
Throughout the next month, I will be sharing our family vacation to Greater Williamsburg on the blog! Photos, videos, information on the places we visited… everything will be shared! I highly encourage you to print out these blog posts or bookmark them because you’re going to want to head to Williamsburg, I promise! As I mentioned in my last post, I’m bringing you through our 3 days, showcasing each day in its own separate blog post – today being Day #2! There’s so much to do there, you’re going to be truly amazed by how much you can offer your family on vacation.
Let’s get into Day #2!
We kicked off the morning at Duck Donuts. I feel like I should be calling it “HEAVENLY Duck Donuts,” that’s how good it was for our family. We weren’t sure what to expect, we knew we were going to have donuts, but we had no idea just how spectacular it would be! Essentially, what you do is customize your own donut. It’s a GENIUS idea for a donut shop and I wish (wish, wish) we had one like this in Rhode Island! You pick the donut coating… then you can add on your topping… and then you can add on your drizzle. I went with a pretty solid powdered donut. It’s what I love. My kids and husband? Oh, NO. They went full-on with some crazy and delicious combinations. Let’s just put it this way… my husband added BACON to his donut as a topping. BACON! The toppings and the coatings are out of control incredible! I’m telling you right now, if one of these Duck Donuts were in New England, we’d be there every Saturday morning in an hours-long line! Breakfast was AMAZING! I highly suggest checking out Duck Donuts while in Greater Williamsburg, not to mention there are lots of other locations, too!
After we fueled up on donuts, coffee and chocolate milk, we headed to Colonial Williamsburg.
The city of Williamsburg was the capital of the Virginia Colony from 1699-1780, and now, Colonial Williamsburg serves as a living-history museum and historic area where actors in period costume depict daily Colonial life in the streets, stores and workshops.
Colonial Williamsburg is absolutely, positively fascinating… it’s a community that’s returned to its 18th-century appearance. You are literally transported back in time and it’s extraordinary. My sons couldn’t believe it when we got off the tour bus and entered into “town.” The period costumes. The food. The transportation. The houses. The shops. The tradesmen. Everything was Colonial Williamsburg. Two of my sons are learning about Colonial Williamsburg in school, so to be here and to be part of this world for them was the BEST kind of education possible.
What can you expect to see and learn here?
Their mission is to be a center for history and citizenship, encouraging national and international audiences to learn from the past through the preservation, restoration, and presentation of 18th-century Williamsburg and the study, interpretation, and teaching of America’s founding democratic principles.
We began by touring the town. It was a rainy morning so the Dig! Kids, Dirt & Discovery that we wanted to do with the boys was canceled. I’m telling you, if you have time to do that while you’re here, DO IT! We weren’t able to, but everyone raved about it and strongly suggested when we come back that we sign up for it. Since it was canceled, we had the morning to explore the town and take our time walking around. The kids (ages 12, 11, 10, 8, 3) were mesmerized. It was truly fascinating to see everyone in the 18th-century livelihood. On our walk, we visited the Silversmith, Blacksmith, Basketmaker, Apothecary, Printer & Bindery and Carpenter. What I loved was that at each stop there was someone to explain what they were doing and to answer questions and be open to allowing kids to explore, touch, see and feel. I loved the hands-on learning for my kids. They were truly able to immerse themselves in this world and it was wonderful to see and to experience.
One of the coolest stops for the kids was the Public Gaol (jail). They couldn’t get over how small the brick cells were and that the prisoners were chained inside, too. We walked around and were able to go inside and really see and explore what it was like for prisoners of the time. Simply fascinating to see this part of Colonial Williamsburg, just fascinating!
One part of the trip that my sons LOVED while visiting Colonial Williamsburg was playing an outside game with other kids there, facilitated by two very friendly and knowledgeable employees. It was a game resembling baseball and my 4 sons took to it like bees to honey! They loved it! I’m not kidding, they played for 30 minutes and we had to drag them away! It was really cool to see them laughing and enjoying an activity that kids back in the 18th-century played, too. The boys played while the girls perused the outdoor marketplace – you know I love shopping! I can find it anywhere!
Colonial Williamsburg was just a stellar destination to visit. It’s absolutely worth a visit every time you come back to the area because you really are brought back into time. You get a firsthand look at how people worked and played and existed… and how doable life was, even without technology!
After spending over 2 hours touring Colonial Williamsburg, we were all starving. We couldn’t wait to dig into some lunch. We headed to an ultra-cool place called DoG Street Pub. We had a reservation set-up for us, so we didn’t have to wait in line… thank goodness because this place was packed!
What really makes DoG Street Pub is that it’s been transformed from an eighty-year-old bank into the only Gastropub that belongs on the most historic avenue in all America. In June 2012, Chef David Everett opened DoG Street Pub committed to honoring the dignity and heritage of its namesake, Duke of Gloucester Street. DoG Street Pub’s focus is simply presented, excellent food without the rubbish. With an understanding that a superb beer is the perfect complement to a perfect meal, we scour the globe to craft a beer menu to please all tastes from the casual fan to seasoned enthusiast whose favorite is “something new.” It was the coolest place to eat and the craft beer selections were incredible. My husband loves to try different craft beer and he simply couldn’t believe the options available. It was the perfect pub to relax and enjoy a delicious meal before heading to our next activity. We sat below in the lower level, which made us feel like we were in a bank vault… the kids couldn’t get over how unique it was to eat there! Really recommend checking out DoG Street Pub and get a burger – they are phenomenal.
Next up for us?
To say that my kids were excited is an understatement! The day was perfect for a day at the park because the rain had stopped and the sun was peeking out, ready to brighten up for the rest of the day.
Why were my kids thrilled for time at Busch Gardens?
Fun is always in season at Busch Gardens ® Williamsburg in Virginia. From thrilling coasters and kid-friendly attractions to world-class dining and shows, there’s something for the whole family. Invade uncharted territory on InvadR™, an all-new wooden roller coaster that features a 74-foot drop and nine airtime hills. Take a behind-the-scenes look at our newest attraction with construction updates, fan involvement and videos. Spring into fun with a host of family activities, including a visit from celebrity animal expert Jack Hanna and the return of KIDsiderate® concerts. Meet your favorite characters at Sesame Street ® Forest of Fun ™ or head over to Wolf Haven to learn more about some of our North American predators. If you’re traveling with little ones, check out our KIDsiderate ® website for tips on things to do, ride suggestions and much more.
I’d just want to hone in on the KIDsiderate activities/rides/attractions for kids at Busch Gardens because it’s an excellent “kid-friendly” (or KIDsiderate®, as they like to say) bonus to have if you’re traveling with children ages nine and younger.
Since Victoria and Henry are really the prime age, it was INCREDIBLE to have for us while visiting. To dig a little deeper for you, KIDsiderate offerings and services are located throughout the parks to make it easy for you and your family. You can visit their height check station in England and look for the KIDsiderate “K” logo to know which rides your kids can enjoy. Henry and Victoria were both looking for the “K” logo throughout the day! Busch Gardens makes super sure that everyone is having equal fun and I love that, from shows to attractions to animal encounters and more.
The best part about Busch Gardens on the particular day that we visited was that it wasn’t that busy at all. Everyone kept telling us that we picked the best day because the lines were short and the crowds were minimum. We got very lucky! Everything was available to ride and we took full advantage of it all. We all like to stay together, so we took turns doing rides for Victoria and then rides for the “big guys!” It was so much fun and I hope I can convey properly through the photos and video just how much fun we had! With 4 tweens… you can gauge a good time by all because NONE OF THEM wanted their phones or iPads!
We literally went on every ride at the park, we were able to take our time and just enjoy and check off everything on our must-ride list. We didn’t even sit down to eat dinner, we just kept grabbing snacks… the boys didn’t want to stop! My favorite was the InvadR, the new wooden roller coaster! It was ridiculously fun!!! My sons didn’t think I’d do it, but I jumped on and showed them! We went from ride to ride and enjoyed the entire afternoon. Victoria would have stayed in the Sesame Street area all day if she could have, she loved it so much. Busch Gardens is an entire day of fun and a definite must-stop for a family!
And on a personal note, I have to commend the staff at Busch Gardens immensely. They didn’t know I was there on a press trip, so this just happened organically and I was truly touched. We were all boarding the Skyride heading to France… the Skyride is just like a ski lift and it was something that we all wanted to check out. The cool thing is that it brings you to the different areas of the park. I was hopping into the Skyride with Matt, Victoria and Henry… and William, Ben and Alex were hopping in the next one behind us. After we loaded, there were technical issues, and when things started up again, they weren’t loading any additional people, so me, Matt, Victoria and Henry were in the Skyride moving to the other side of the park while William, Ben and Alex were not. Someone from the Busch Gardens team stood with my sons the entire time, making sure they were OK and letting them know that everything would be fixed and fine. When we started moving, she called out to me that she was going to walk with the boys (and our stroller!) to where we could be getting off and that she wouldn’t leave them until she got them to me. This touched my heart. And she did JUST that! She walked them through the park to where we got off and reunited them with us… and I couldn’t thank her enough. I was so touched by that gesture from the staff because she was just so kind, compassionate and incredibly responsible to and for my children.
So… a HUGE thank you to the team there, too!
The park closed at 8PM and afterwards we drove to a local Sonic (we don’t have one near us in Rhode Island) and grabbed some ice cream shakes! They were so yummy!
We checked into the Great Wolf Lodge Resort, which has an Indoor Waterpark.
We have stayed at Great Wolf Lodge Resorts in the past and they’ve always been a HUGE hit for the kids. There’s something for everyone, which is great for families, especially big families like mine. When we arrived at the hotel, it was too late to head into the Waterpark portion, so we walked around exploring. And then… believe it or not, the kids asked to head to bed! The day was filled with so much excitement and they just crashed!
We had a 2 bedroom suite at Great Wolf Lodge, so there was plenty of space. The boys had their own bedroom and we had our master suite with Victoria. It was perfect to stretch out and relax for the night.
Greater Williamsburg is a place where you can enjoy your family, learn new things, explore new places and just have FUN! As you can tell, Greater Williamsburg is a place to have a great time while enjoying each other with so much to do and see and experience.
Check out our full day here over on YouTube, I created a day in the life each day!
Thank you to Greater Williamsburg for giving us a 2nd day that my family will cherish forever!