Henricus Historical Park near Richmond is the site of one of the oldest settlements in America. The site was founded in 1611 by English colonists as the second settlement in Virginia (the first was Jamestown). Today the site is a living history museum with recreated English and Native American structures. It has reopened after being closed for the coronavirus pandemic, and since it is mostly outside, it is a great place to visit with your family.
The site itself is full of history, from the Native American settlements to the English colonists. A few years after it was established, Pocahontas was brought to Henricus where she was baptized and given the English name of Rebecca. The site was also the location of several pivotal American Revolution and Civil War battles. Read more about its history here and watch this great 10-minute video about its early history.
Throughout the site, there are costumed interpreters that are ready to answer questions and provide more in-depth lessons. In the recreated Powhatan town of Arrohateck, your kids can learn about the native population that lived at this location before the English colonists came. They can even help carve out a canoe using oyster shells!
Then kids can march through the gates of the English fort and see how soldiers lived in the early 1600s.
My favorite building here is the church where you can imagine the colonists worshipping alongside Pocahontas. Your kids can even practice some chores that helped the English to survive!
In the Coxendale section, you can step into history by seeing the homes the English colonists constructed, including the first hospital in the New World, Mt. Malady. You can also see Rocke Hall, the home where Reverend Whitaker took in Pocahontas and converted her to Christianity.
Don’t miss seeing the Procter Plantation, where Mrs. Procter and her son defended her farm from the 1622 Native American attack. Ask your children if they think they could be so brave!
If you can’t make it to Henricus in person, watch this virtual tour hosted by one of my favorite historians, Dr. Edward Ayers. To learn more about the 1622 Native American attack and the retaliation poison attack, listen to the NBC12 podcast, How We Got Here, season 3, episode 5.
Henricus is a great place to visit during this pandemic to learn more about the life of the English colonists. It is outside and with all of the precautions taken, it is a relatively safe place to visit. Make plans to visit with your family today!
Helpful hints (be sure to verify current restrictions/closures due to the coronavirus pandemic):
- Cost: $9/adult; $7/children 3-12
- Recommended: all ages
- Tour time: 1 hour
- Gift shop located onsite
- Transportation: Accessible by car only (you will drive through an industrial area for around 5 miles before you get to Henricus)
- Dining options nearby: The nearby Route 10 and I-95 interchange has several options, including Cracker Barrel and Chick-fil-a. For a nicer option, check out the historic Halfway House.
- Hotels nearby: See my Richmond guide for suggestions!
- Nearby attractions include: Drewry’s Bluff (part of Richmond National Battlefield Park), Halfway House (site of Susanna’s Midnight Ride), and Dodd Park
Books to Read: