Nestled between Richmond, Virginia and Washington DC, Fredericksburg gushes historic small town charm. It’s hard to believe that it is actually a robust city! The blend of friendly atmosphere and city convenience make the whole region a great place to spend a day with the kids!
Enjoy a morning learning about George Washington from his boyhood home, and an afternoon freestyle jumping, at SkyZone. Maybe you’d rather spend the day immersing yourself in the area’s rich African American history with stops at the John J. Wright Educational & Cultural Center, and the African American Heritage trail. Then finish the evening off with an authentic Southern dinner, at Foodie. Did you know that Abraham Lincoln, our 16th president, visited the building it’s now in, on May 23, 1862? It was once the National Bank of Fredericksburg which served as a Union headquarters.
So…how will your family spend the day in Fredericksburg?
Learn about George Washington and Colonial history at…
George Washington’s Boyhood Home at Ferry Farm- See and experience how Washington grew up!
The Mary Washington Monument and Historic Kenmore Plantation - Located across the street from each other. Kenmore Plantation is a beautiful, Georgian-style, brick mansion that was built by George Washington's sister, Betty Washington Lewis, and her husband, Fielding Lewis. Mary Washington Monument is the only United States monument erected for a woman by a woman. It was to be built to honor the mother of George Washington after her death in 1789. Mary Ball Washington, mother of George Washington, is burred in a small plot, behind the monument.
Mary Washington House- This is where Mary Washington lived in this house for the last 17 years of her life
Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop- Learn about the medical practices of the 1700s, including what was used for aspirin, how to soothe a sore throat, or why sulfur was considered a good lotion.
Government Island- See the Quarry where the stone that was used to build two of the nation's most significant buildings - the White House and the U.S. Capitol - was sourced. Government Island is an historic 18th century quarry site that provided Aquia sandstone for the construction of the White House and U.S. Capitol when our nation was very young.
Try a unique educational experience…
Rappahannock Railroad Museum- Learn about our railway history and tour retired train cars! Weather Permitting, you can also take a roughly 45 minute open-air train ride, traveling approximately 1 mile from the Museum out to the RF&P mainline.
Fredericksburg Area Museum- Learn about the history of the city of Fredericksburg and its development from a colonial to a modern city. Follow their social media pages for upcoming events and exhibits!
Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont- A National Historic Landmark, Gari Melchers Home and Studio is one of just 30 of America’s most significant artists’ spaces included in the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios consortium.
White Oak Civil War Museum- View their unique collection of hundreds of Union and Confederate artifacts collected from encampments and battle sites, around the Fredericksburg area.
The Children’s Museum Fredericksburg - New exhibits coming soon! The mission of the Children’s Museum is to inspire growth in all children by engaging families in learning through play.
Learn about African American history at…
John J. Wright Educational & Cultural Center- Built on the original site of the first high school for blacks in Spotsylvania County, this permanent exhibit tells the story of African-American education, in Spotyslvania County. The board of directors is constantly adding rotating exhibits that aim to inspire and educate visitors, and to connect the events of the past with those of today. The building, known as the Spotsylvania Training School or Snell Training School, was built in 1913 by the Spotsylvania Sunday School Union, and led by principal John J. Wright.
African American Heritage Trail- Approximately 41 sites were designated as having historical significance around the County. Of the 41 sites, a site selection committee narrowed down the actual trail stopping points to 11 sites. These 11 sites combine 23 historic African American events, people or places.
Chatham Manor- In 1805, there was a slave uprising of over 100 people on these grounds. Later, Chatham was occupied by the Union army. The manor and grounds hauntingly remain much as they were during that time.
Fredericksburg National Cemetery- Visit the final resting places and learn the compelling stories, of several African American soldiers.“Whether they served among the 300,000 United States Colored Troops of the Union Army like Charles Sprout, or in later wars like WWI physician and Distinguished Service Cross recipient Urbane Bass, their stories are compelling. They are honored with a final resting place in the hills of Fredericksburg, where lighting of luminaries is a favorite Memorial Day event.”
*Your family should definitely include visiting battlefields, in your itinerary. Revolutionary and Civil War history runs deep, in Fredericksburg. Here are a few articles and links for more info ( here, here, and here ).*
Note: If we had a vin diagram, a few spots would definitely overlap in the educational and physical activity categories. Those would be Fort Pure Play, The Children’s Museum, Mary’s Rock, Battlefields, and Governor’s Island. For families with active kids, these are prime.
Get those wiggles out!
Fort Pure Play- New to the Fredericksburg region, Fort Pure Play offers open ended play using sensory rich materials. Check out their website for times and schedules.
Central Park Fun Land - The recently announced they will be opening a go-kart track in 2019!
SkyZone- What could be better than wall to wall trampolines?
SUP (for older kids)- Rent a paddle board and enjoy the Rappahannock River with the kids! Be sure to remember life-jackets!
Bowling at Splitsville or AMF- Perfect activity for rainy or extra hot/cold days!
Fredericksburg trails- Did you know that we’re home to several family friendly trails? Two that we especially love for strollers are:
- The Virginia Central Railway (VCR) Trail -is a 2.7mile’s with a ten foot wide asphalt trail that goes through Alum Spring Park. You do need to be cautious with small children when crossing Rt3.
- The Canal Path/Rappahannock River Heritage Trail - The Canal Path is a paved pathway that is 1.8 miles long and and winds along the canal from Fall Hill Avenue to Princess Anne Street.The Rappahannock River Heritage Trail is a 1.6 mile asphalt stretch that connects the two parts of the Canal Path making a 3.1 mile loop, just about right for a 5K run.
Liberty Towne Arts
You will need to call ahead and make sure there are spaces available during studio times. This may require more planning.
There are many family friendly places to gather and eat, in the Fredericksburg region. Here are a few we love as far as ease, menu, and atmosphere go:
Malawi Pizza - Watch their page for family “make your own pizza,” events.
Buffalo Wild Wings- Located conveniently in Stafford County, Fredericksburg City, and Spotsylvania County.
Basilico’s- Kids (and adults) will love their gorgeous pastry and gelato display!
Tito’s Diner- Kids eat free during the week!
Harry’s AleHouse- Don’t let the “AleHouse” name deter you! They are great with kids, have a wonderful kid’s menu, and even have pictures of local dogs on their front wall.
Orofino’s Italian Restaurant
*Chickfila is always a great, fast option and they are all over the region.8
You’ll definitely want to end your day with sweets!
Carl’s Frozen Custard
Sugar Shack Donuts
Sweet Frog’s Frozen Yogurt
Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt
Written by Brenda Sapanghila