Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Touring Boston - What to Know About Visiting the Plymouth Plantation with Kids

Recently we headed down to Plymouth to see the Plimouth (original spelling) Plantation.  There they have  recreated the village to mimicked the original one, and they have actors who walk around talking like old English people and answering questions etc.  It sounded cool and we had heard lots of good things about it.

What to Know About Visiting the Plymouth Plantation with Kids

On the plantation you start by visiting the Indian Village and I was a little hesitant about this part, not because I didn't want to see and learn from the Native Americans, but because I was afraid it would seem... I don't know, exploitative and wrong somehow. The Native Americans were dressed in traditional garb, but they didn't speak like actors, instead they told us about what life used to be like for their tribes and it was really cool.

These Native Americans were part of a matriarchal society, the elder women got to decide when someone was old enough to be married, and that was based on their ability to do the chores and other things that needed to be done.  Once they were established as old enough the woman would go out and pick a husband and bring him back to her village.  Food was said to be plentiful and they only needed to work around 3 hours a day to maintain their lifestyle, the rest of the day was for them to do whatever they wanted, which didn't sound too bad to me...

What to Know About Visiting the Plymouth Plantation with Kids
Then we walked over to the pilgrim village.  The village was fairly big and all of the houses were both open and furnished, so you could walk in and sit on a rough feather bed, and pick up a brass kettle... which meant our son was trying very hard to play with all the ceramic pottery... eek.

We went in early September and the bad part about the village is it was dry and so so hot.  It felt like walking through a dessert.  The baby was hot, we were all sweating, and it was hard to plow along for long periods of time.  We met up with one of the actors and got to ask her some question.  My husband said her expression was priceless when I asked I could take a photo with her, you could see her not knowing how to respond while saying in character.  Anyway, she let me.  The village was cool, and it was a lot of fun to be able to direct the history lesson and experience it in such a hands on way.  

Things to Note: 

What to Know About Visiting the Plymouth Plantation with Kids
1) Price
So if you're going to make the trip to Plymouth you will probably want to see more than just the plantation.  In a near proximity to the plantation there is also the Mayflower II (patterned after the Original Mayflower that you can climb on and ask actors questions about) and the Gist Mill, where you can see how flour and the like was ground.  You can buy a ticket to see any one of the attractions or a ticket to see any two or even all three of them.  For all three the tickets run about $30/person, two of the three is generally about $20/person.   You can view more specific details here:

2) Parking
Parking is free at the Plantation and there is nice big lot.  They also offer golf cart rids to those with mobility issues, which makes for a pretty fantastic family visit with the old and young.

3) Stroller Friendliness
Yes!  This is mostly an outdoor attraction and there are trails and paths everywhere, as well as lots of walking involved.  Bring a stroller is your child still uses it. 

4) Child Friendliness   
Perfect for children.  Lots of big open spaces, plenty of space to run around in and hands on exploration.  Kids can climb on the beds, sit in the chairs, hold the pots, visit the farm animals and interact with the actors.  My son was only 1.5 years old at the time and he loved it, everyone I've talked to with older kids said they also had a fantastic experience.

Summary and Rating ★★★★☆

Dressed up Plymouth Plimouth plantation tour actress
Four stars.  It was a little bit expensive, but I thought this place was a blast.  We went during the off season, but I've heard that there is even more to do during the on-season... and probably a few more actors populating the villages, when we went there were only five or six and the village is quite big.  There is a lot of open space for kids and it's really fun to be able to talk to the actors, ask them questions, learn about why they did the things they did etc.  I also thought it was really fascinating to be able to compare the lifestyles of the early pilgrims to those of the Native Americans, it would have been nice if they could have picked up a few tips from the Natives who seemed to have life pretty well figured out.   I would highly recommend this trip, it was one of the most engaging and interesting history lessons I've ever gotten to experience.

Have you been here before?  If so I'd love to know more about your experience and any tips or tricks you have in the comments section below. 

Plimoth Plantation 
137 Warren Avenue
Plymouth, MA 02360

Phone: (508) 746-1622
Hours: 9am-5pm 7 days a week