This week’s Travel at Will covers historic sites! Ever wish you could step back in time to experience life before BlackBerries, before poodle skirts, even before electricity? You can relive the past, and learn a thing or two, by touring historical sites and museums. Historic attractions come in many guises, from entire villages like Colonial Williamsburg to walking trails, lighthouses to mansions, battlefields to ships. Before you set back the clock, consider these tips for planning visits to historical sites.
Make sure the site you want to visit will actually be open when you’re there. Popular travel periods fall on national holidays, when most sites operated by national and state departments are closed. These may include Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Columbus Day.
If necessary, check beforehand to find out if the sites have wheelchair accessibility. Most were built long before this was a consideration. In some cases, the ground floor will be accessible, but not the top levels.
Ask if discounted admission is available for seniors, students and children. Some sites may offer an AAA or AARP discount. Always check with the local tourist office or visitors bureau, since they may have coupons or promotions.
Look into the cost savings of admission ticket books, “passport” or discount programs for a collection of sites. The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass ($80) grants access to any National Parks Service site for an entire year.
Historic sites may set age limits for children. They may not be suitable for, or interesting to, kids under a certain age (generally, 12 and under). Check to see if the site offers specialized tours designed for children. These programs are usually wonderful, hands-on educational experiences!
Be prepared for increased security measures. Your bag, purse, etc. may be inspected upon entering the site.
To protect the sites, the following are generally prohibited: flash photography; pets; food and beverages.