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At Williamsburg, 9-year-olds need not be bored.

If you're a squirmy 9 or 10, elbow- to shoulder-'igh to a tourful of adults squeezing through worthy Williamsburg interiors, perhaps you'd rather forgo the edification and hopscotch over to the "gaol" to stick your head in the stocks. You may not know it, but there's relief.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is a more comprehensive educational institution than many visiting families realize. Aside from providing specialized programs and services for adults, it also acknowledges the particular needs of younger tourists--to learn by doing (as well as by listening), to touch and handle interesting objects, and to pace sightseeing differently from adults.

The tours we list here do a vivid job of immersing youngsters in the experience of colonial life. Designed for varying ages and interests, they have enough leg-stretching action to keep the fidgets away. Children's tours ($4 each) are limited to about 20 members each, and school vacations bring many children to Williamsburg, so it's best to buy your child's ticket--at the Courthouse of 1770--as soon as you arrive in town.

Once Upon a Town introduces 4- through 6-year-olds to the arts and crafts of the colonial home. Kids parade in period attire, play with period toys, dance, and visit gardens and outbuildings to see how food was grown, how animals were cared for, and what children their age did.

Starting place is the Courthouse of 1770 at 10 and 2 weekdays June through August.

Tricorn Hat provides 7- through 12-year-olds with three-cornered hats as souvenirs. They see a flintlock fired, stop at the Gaol for some action at the stocks, visit the baker at Raleigh Tavern's kitchen, print and mail a broadside at the colonial Post Office, try lawn bowling, and stop at an 18th-century house for a snack and games.

Tours start at the Courthouse at 2 every day during spring, summer, and winter school vacations.

Townsteaders, ages 8 through 14, meet daily at 10 through summer vacation at the 18th-century Powell-Waller House (on Waller Street near Christiana Campbell's Tavern) to learn domestics crafts from 200 years ago. They dip candles, card or spin, bake gingerbread in a brick oven (and consume the product with a tankardful of lemonade), and play hoop-and-stick and other colonial games. They're introduced to one another in terms of 18th-century geography: "Oh, you're from the Island of California," a 10-year-old Sunset participant was hailed.

Lanthorn evening tours, open to all ages, have an excitement of their own. Carrying lighted lanterns, the group (limited to 20) proceeds along Duke of Gloucester Street and visits four or five colonial shops, where some details of colonial product manufacture and use are explained. Stops might include the Apothecary, the Printing Office, perhaps the Wigmaker.

Groups meet at the Courthouse at 8:30 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays all year except during January, February, July and August. Cost is $2.
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Title Annotation:Colonial Williamsburg Foundation tours
Publication:Sunset
Date:Apr 1, 1984
Words:473
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