Gettysburg National Battlefield Visitors Center & MuseumPennsylvania . Road Trip Stops . Washington DC
Gettysburg National Battlefield Visitors Center
Our first trip to Washington DC started several hours earlier than expected and resulted in me driving for close to 12 hours straight. We had two stops on day two of our trip but it was another long day of driving. We ended up arriving at our hotel in Arlington, Virginia right after rush hour on the second day of the trip.
As we lay on our beds resting, I was reviewing our Roadtrippers itinerary and I wasn’t super excited about what I had planned for the area. When I had planned it, I didn’t know that zooming in on the roadtrippers app would make more stops available in the area. I guess it’s probably common sense but I had never used the app so I wasn’t real familiar with it.
My son and I did a little research from the hotel and discussed what we found. We decided to abandon our itinerary at that point and just do what we felt like doing each day. Mainly because there were several things we wanted to see that weren’t on our itinerary. I simply didn’t remember to look for them or know about them when I was back home planning the trip.
The Gettysburg National Battlefield Military Park was a definite must do while we were in the area. It was actually quite a bit out of the area but we decided we’d make the drive up to Gettysburg from our hotel in Arlington on day 3. We knew that was on the top of our bucket list for the area so we made it happen first and foremost.
The drive to the park was a few hours each way which gave us a great opportunity to see the country side of the area and to talk. When we arrived, we parked and took a picture to remember how to find our rental car. Then we went inside the visitor’s center and looked around. After looking around, we talked and compared options. We ended up purchasing an audio tour that we could play in our car while we toured the battlefields so that we could hear the history relative to the specific areas we were driving in.
Gettysburg National Battlefield Museum
The visitor’s center led us into the museum where we could see the old artifacts and begin learning and reviewing the history of the battlefields there.
We spent a good hour and a half to two hours walking through the visitor’s center and museum, taking everything in.
In the museum, there was a film and the cyclorama which gave great insight into the battle, as well as the stories and personalities of key players.
The 22 minute film, A New Birth of Freedom, narrated by Morgan Freeman, allowed us to follow the events from the first shots of the war to the Battle of Gettysburg and finally to Lincoln’s immortal address.
The sights and sounds of Pickett’s Charge in the cyclorama was something we had never experienced before. I had never heard of anything like it, it was such a cool experience! My son was absolutely fascinated with it.
After the cyclorama experience, we walked through the museum looking at the authentic artifacts and exhibits from the Civil War and the Battle of Gettysburg before setting out for the battlefields tour.
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About Gettysburg National Battlefield Visitors Center & Museum
The Gettysburg National Battlefield Visitors Center offers a few different packages and options for tours. To see everything and take a bus tour, the value package would have cost me about $70 for the two of us. The cost is $42 per adult and $27 per child between ages 6 and 12. Free for children under 6.
I paid for just the Film, Cyclorama, and Museum Experience which was $15 per adult, $14 per child. And then I bought an audio tour for the car that we could listen to while touring the battlefields on our own.
The Museum Experience only does not include the cyclorama or short film. It costs $9 for adults and $7 for children.
The Museum and Visitor’s Center are open 9am – 5pm each day throughout the year with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. They close early, at 1pm, on Christmas Eve.
The Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center are located at 1195 Baltimore Pike, Gettysburg, PA 17325. Their phone number is (877) 874-2478.
My only regret about this stop is that I didn’t know about the Eisenhower National Historic Site or the David Wills House. So we missed those.
We will definitely go back and make it a point to see those two on the second time around.
But the museum and visitors center are a must see if you are going to the battlefields. They set the tone for the rest of tour. Combined with the battlefields, it was a very, very humbling experience.
I highly recommend this stop, it’s an absolute must do at least once in your lifetime. Have you been there? I’d love to hear what you thought of it. Please drop a few lines in the comments box below and let me know how your visit went.
In the meantime, safe travels!
Written by Kris M.
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