March 28, 2023

When planning a household street journey we pulled out a map and took a have a look at all of the doable locations to go inside 4 hours drive from our household in New Jersey, and in some way Gettysburg, PA captured the curiosity of my nine-year-old. I wasn’t positive how a lot she would get out of it since I wasn’t positive what there was to do there apart from have a look at the Battlefield and youngsters usually don’t even research the Civil Struggle till eighth grade.

As soon as I began wanting into it although, I used to be stunned by all of the issues to do in Gettysburg, even for youths! After doing analysis and getting some assist from Vacation spot Gettysburg, we had been capable of put collectively a jam-packed itinerary for two days in Gettysburg that had one thing for everybody and confirmed us that there was a lot extra to Gettysburg than simply the Battlefield.

Past that, we discovered the Gettysburg Battlefield to be far more impactful than a discipline full monuments. The world’s devastating historical past had a profound influence on us, touched our hearts, and ended up being a spotlight of our journey.

So in case you are planning a household journey to Gettysburg, PA, here’s a pattern itinerary with loads of enjoyable issues to do in Gettysburg with youngsters and a pleasant steadiness between historical past and household enjoyable.

Issues to do in Gettysburg, PA

Cannon at Devil's Den at Gettysburg PA

Day One

Disclosure: Our go to, together with lodge, points of interest, excursions and a few meals had been generously hosted by Vacation spot Gettysburg and the Hilton Backyard Inn Gettysburg however the opinions are completely my very own.

Go to the Gettysburg Nationwide Army Park

Gettysburg Cyclorama
Scene from the Gettysburg Cyclorama

I at all times assume it’s a good suggestion to begin off your day with museums when youngsters are contemporary and fed versus later within the day. As you drive by Gettysburg you possibly can simply get caught up by glimpses of assorted monuments and need to get proper out on the Battlefield,

Nonetheless, I consider that spending time within the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum will assist create a greater understanding of the occasions main as much as the battle and foster higher comprehension throughout your Battlefield tour.

Should you haven’t finished so already, e book your excursions and take a look at the Junior Ranger and Nationwide Park applications whenever you arrive. You’ll want to begin your go to with the Cyclorama. Earlier than we went to Gettysburg many pals and kin mentioned, “You HAVE to do the Cyclorama,” however I had no concept what it actually was.

Mainly earlier than there have been IMAX theaters, there have been cycloramas, that are 360 diploma work that depict a scene (on this case, the Battle of Gettysburg ) and are surrounded by artifacts and landscaped foregrounds to create a three-dimensional impact. Painted by Paul Dominque Phillipoteaux and his assistants, the Cyclorama of the Battle of Gettysburg was first displayed in Chicago in 1883.

Earlier than you enter the precise Cyclorama, you’ll go to a theater to look at a 20-30 minute movie about slavery and the problems main as much as the Civil Struggle, an summary of the primary occasions of the Civil Struggle main as much as the Battle of Gettysburg, culminating with an summary of the three days of combating that occurred in July 1863.

From there, you’ll transfer upstairs to a theater housing the Cyclorama. Place yourselves wherever alongside the rail and when the presentation begins, you’ll hear how the final day began with Pickett’s Cost. Utilizing gentle to spotlight parts of the portray and sound the scene will come alive. Afterward, you’ll have a number of moments to maneuver round and have a look at the opposite parts of the portray. You’ll want to search for a person standing close to a tree holding a sword, that is the place painter Phillipoteaux put himself into the image.

After taking within the Cyclorama, you’ll want to spend about an hour exploring the Gettysburg Museum of the Civil Struggle. That can assist you perceive the timeline, the museum leads you thru the displays beginning with the occasions main as much as the Battle of Gettysburg and the by every of the three days of the Battle and the aftermath. Every part encompasses a video that takes excerpts from what you noticed within the Cyclorama and expands upon them to offer a greater understanding of who’s who and the Battle timeline and places.

The museum ought to hold your youngsters intrigued with so many multimedia displays. Along with the movies, there are numerous touchscreen, interactive displays all through the museum to convey historical past to life. Additionally it is an excellent preparation for a go to to the precise Battlefield. After exploring the museum, guests may also cease in to the useful resource middle to analysis any ancestors which will have fought at Gettysburg.

The customer middle is situated on Baltimore Avenue, simply south of downtown Gettysburg. Plan on spending 1.5-2 hours on the park museum and customer middle.

Downtown Gettysburg

After the museum, you could begin to get a bit of hungry. I’d advocate heading into Downtown Gettysburg. Positioned at 20 Lincoln Sq., proper within the coronary heart of downtown Gettysburg (5 minutes from the Battlefield), The Pub & Restaurant is a Gettysburg traditional that gives a really in depth menu that ought to hold the entire household glad.

After lunch, take a while to walk by downtown Gettysburg and do some procuring. You’ll want to cease and take your image with Abraham Lincoln proper within the sq..

Go to the Shriver Home Museum

2 Days in Gettysburg, PA - visit the Shriver House Museum

Within the morning, you’ll have discovered loads concerning the Battle of Gettysburg, however a go to to the Shriver House Museum will present you what it was like for the civilians on the town. From guides in interval gown you’ll learn the way Mrs. Shriver left their residence and saloon and took her household out to the household farm into the center of the battle.

When the household returned they discovered their home had been shot up, changed into a hospital, and utilized by Accomplice sharpshooters through the battle. The museum is situated between downtown and the customer’s middle at 309 Baltimore Avenue. Excursions run each half hour and take roughly one hour.

Dinner on the Dobbin Home Tavern

2 Days in Gettysburg, PA - dinner at the Dobbins House
Hen and shrimp on the Dobbin Home

When you find yourself prepared for dinner, an excellent historic choices is the Dobbin Home. There are two eating choices on the Dobbin Home; the downstairs Springhouse Tavern for informal eating and the upstairs eating rooms for positive eating in a interval ambiance.

We opted for the interval eating upstairs and I used to be so glad to see their youngsters’s menu had choices apart from the standard rooster fingers and french fries. I had the rooster and shrimp dish (scrumptious) and my daughter selected strip steak (from a child’s menu that provided Pasta, Baked Hen, Baked Shrimp, Filet Mignon and Strip Steak.) Should you go to you also needs to try their museum upstairs that exhibits how the Dobbin Home was a cease on the Underground Railroad.

Dobbin Home Tavern is situated at 89 Steinwehr Ave, Gettysburg, PA 17325.

Take a Ghost Tour

Apparently professionals assume there’s loads of paranormal exercise in Gettysburg, which is conceivable with what has occurred there. If you’re all in favour of exploring the paranormal, there are a selection of ghost excursions obtainable in Gettysburg. I’ve a daughter that’s simply spooked so we didn’t reap the benefits of these excursions.

Day Two

Tour the Gettysburg Battlefield

2 Days in Gettysburg - touring the Gettysburg Battlefield

There are various methods to tour the Battlefield, together with bike excursions, horseback excursions, bus excursions, audio self-driving excursions, and even segway excursions! However the best way I’d advocate on your first go to to Gettysburg with youngsters can be with an official Battlefield Guide. Should you go this route, make your reservations a minimum of 3 days upfront by calling 877-874-2478.

Our guided tour of Gettysburg Nationwide Army Park was extremely informative and transferring. I might extremely advocate reserving a registered information. Renae MacLachlan, our Licensed Battlefield Information, actually introduced historical past to life for us with graphic descriptions of the sounds and smells of the Battle of Gettysburg to seize our consideration, as a result of solely by making use of our creativeness to all of our senses might we start to fathom the dimensions of this devastating battle.

“Throughout the Battle the bullets had been flying so quick and thick it seemed like hundreds of hornet nests, but after the battle no birds could possibly be discovered, they had been all scared away,” defined Renae. “Individuals lay dying for days as they solely saved these price saving, not burying the final individual till April of the next 12 months — the stench could possibly be smelled as far-off as Harrisburg.”

“The sulphur from gunpowder burnt the within of soldier’s and native’s noses and affected their sense of odor for as much as 5 years after the battle.” Renae didn’t simply inform us concerning the battle logistics, she took us again to that day and helped us think about what it was prefer to be a soldier and a civilian through the Battle of Gettysburg.

I requested Renae what it took to turn into a Licensed Battlefield Information and she or he gave me a glimpse into the hassle it takes to achieve this place. It isn’t only for historical past buffs. Along with studying and finding out a stack of books, candidates are screened to see how they work together with guests, together with households.

They should know the right way to interact the know-it-all historical past buff whereas nonetheless making it fascinating for his or her teenage youngsters, and the right way to hold the eye of school-aged youngsters by making the historic sights accessible to all ages and pursuits. Not solely that, she must know the placement of all 1,320 monuments and memorials to assist guests which are searching for sure states or ancestors.

That’s almost 6,000 acres of land to cowl in simply two and half hours in a manner that’s significant, partaking and academic. Not a simple job, however they do it they usually do it exceptionally effectively as a result of they aren’t simply guides, they’re storytellers.

The story begins with the method of Lee’s military, pondering they might encounter just some Union troopers and stunned by the scale and energy of the drive they encountered. We actually noticed the benefit that the excessive floor afforded Union Basic Meade, as we launched into a path following the three-day battle step-by-step.

Instantly the monuments started to make sense as we began to establish which belonged to which military primarily based on the placement and the route they had been dealing with (matching the place of the suitable military and regiment.) We discovered how regiments custom-made their monuments with symbols like a Celtic cross or their canine mascot. Renae additionally described the right way to establish which of the 410 cannons had been unique versus reproductions.

With Renae driving our automobile, we had been capable of concentrate on all the knowledge she was relaying, whereas feeling free to go searching and picture the armies marching throughout the fields. And despite the fact that I wasn’t driving, we had been nonetheless capable of cease and discover any of the areas we thought appeared fascinating, together with climbing as much as the highest of Little Spherical Prime, scrambling across the rocks at Satan’s Den, and taking within the view from the highest of the Pennsylvania Memorial.

In case you haven’t surmised it already, I couldn’t have been extra impressed with our go to to Gettysburg with a Licensed Battlefield Information.

Lunch at One Lincoln

In any case that battle speak, you’re going to must decompress a bit within the afternoon. Begin with lunch at One Lincoln within the Gettysburg Lodge.

Go to the The David Wills Home 

You probably have vitality for a bit of extra historical past, after lunch you possibly can cease by the David Wills Home, the place Lincoln stayed the evening earlier than his well-known Gettysburg Handle, at 8 Lincoln Sq..

Take a Drive out into the Nation

Hauser Estate Winery on the Gettysburg Wine and Fruit Trail

Subsequent, it’s time to go to among the farms, markets and wineries alongside the Gettysburg Wine and Fruit Path. There are various locations to pattern native wine and ciders. Certainly one of my favorites is Hauser Property Vineyard.

In early October, households may even love participating within the Nationwide Apple Pageant, which has been celebrated in Gettysburg for over 50 years! Right here one can find arts and crafts distributors; vintage and traditional vehicles; hayrides; a petting zoo; pony rides; pie baking and consuming contest; scarecrow constructing; and tractor sq. dancing.

On weekends in September and October, households can benefit from the corn maze, hayrides, petting zoo, pumpkin choosing, zipline and different actions at Fields of Journey.

Discover Mr. Ed’s Elephant Museum & Sweet Store

Top-of-the-line stops for those who love quirky points of interest is at Mr. Ed’s Elephant Museum and sweet store. The place else can you discover 12,000 elephants however in Gettysburg? As soon as you might be finished looking by his in depth show, you possibly can have enjoyable procuring on the over 700 forms of candies and fudge.

Dinner at The Garryowen Irish Pub

There are many locations on the town to have dinner however in case you are in an Irish temper (or notably like bacon and need to attempt their Tuesday Bakon Nights), the Garryowen at 126 Chambersburg St. is an genuine pub with Irish fare and music.

Should you Have Extra Time in Gettysburg

You probably have greater than three days, there are extra enjoyable issues to do in Gettysburg together with:

Land of Little Horses

The Land of Little Horses is a cute interactive animal park. Open April by October, the Land of Little Horses has a big herd of miniature horses, in addition to different farmyard animals. Guests can meet the animals, see day by day performances, and even play within the reproduction western city.

Carlisle Sports activities Emporium

This mega entertainment complex has over 75,000 sq. ft. of indoor and out of doors enjoyable for all ages with three go-kart tracks, two 18-hole themed miniature golf programs, a 2-story lasertron laser tag enviornment, an arcade, an indoor mountaineering wall, curler skating and café.

Liberty Mountain

If you’re visiting within the winter, close by Liberty Mountain presents snowboarding, snowboarding and tubing for the entire household.

Eisenhower Nationwide Historic Web site

Dwight Eisenhower was stationed close to Gettysburg in World Struggle I and when he wished a spot to calm down, he returned and purchased a farm very near the Battlefield. After turning into President, Eisenhower hosted many well-known visitors right here together with Premier Nikita Khrushchev of the Soviet Union, President Charles de Gaulle of France, Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Britain, and Gov. Ronald Reagan of California.

Go Biking

Wholesome Adams Bicycle/Pedestrian (HABPI) presents a wide range of bike journey choices on the town, on the battlefield and all through the county.

Horseback Using

Nationwide Using Stables help you see the battlefield from a unique perspective by driving the precise trails the place presents rode and infantry marched through the nice battle.

Meals Excursions

I really like exploring a brand new place by my stomach and meals excursions are a good way to do that. There’s no higher method to see the city you’re visiting than to eat your manner by it.  With Savor Gettysburg Food Tours you possibly can discover the historic downtown space and style your manner by historical past.

Steam into Historical past

Experience a reproduction of the steam engine that introduced Lincoln to his now well-known Gettysburg Handle on the Steam into History practice. Alongside the best way, you’ll hear concerning the cities and villages he handed alongside the best way and the skirmish at Hanover Junction previous to the Battle of Gettysburg.

Earlier than you Go to Gettysburg with Youngsters

Notice: This submit could comprise affiliate hyperlinks. Should you click on a hyperlink and make a purchase order, I could obtain a small fee. All opinions are my very own.

When you can definitely go to Gettysburg with out having first studied the Civil Struggle, a bit of background is useful. Since youngsters normally don’t research Gettysburg and the Civil Struggle till eighth grade, studying up on slavery, Abraham Lincoln, the Civil Struggle, Gettysburg, and the Gettysburg Handle is an efficient method to create some context.

Really useful studying for youthful youngsters contains:

Older Youngsters may also get pleasure from:

Discover a Place to Keep in Gettysburg


If you are planning on visiting the Gettysburg Battlefield, there are tons of fun things to do in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania  (including things for kids!). Use this 2-day Gettysburg itinerary.

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