Gettysburg National Cemetary For Kids

Tips on making a visit to Gettysburg fun for the kids, including recreating battles and visiting museums.

Going to visit the Gettysburg Civil War battle and historic sites can be a fun place for kids, especially if you encourage them to use their imagination. Talking to kids of all ages, here are some things that may help your child enjoy his or her visit to Gettysburg while getting a sense of history.

¨ Charge up Little Round Top. I've gone on some class trips as a chaperone, and this is a favorite activity for every kid. They run up Little Round Top, whooping and hollering. All they are doing, really, is running up a hill, but they enjoy it.

¨ Climb Devil's Den. Devil's Den isn't always available for climbing (you'll need to check), but the rocks make a perfect playground for the kids (you do have to watch out for snakes, which is one reason why it isn't always open for climbing). Kids enjoy climbing and seeing how the snipers were able to hide among the rocks.

¨ Visit the Visitors Center. The building has a museum filled with weapons, uniforms, and other artifacts and information about the Gettysburg battles. It also has a souvenier shop with "antique" goodies that kids love.

¨ See the Presidents. I've never seen it, but my son, who was in Gettysburg this spring, says it is "like the presidents are really talking to you - it's the best museum there." His friends agreed.

¨ Honor the Soldiers. The battlefields are huge green fields, with statues here and there. The largest is the Pennsylvania Monument. It is climbable, and kids do enjoy crawling on it. But it is also the surest reminder to them that the war was real and people died. Kids enjoy the monument, but they also seem to have questions about it.

Now, one word of advice . . . the wax museum, always a popular spot, can be kind of scary. Unfortunately, the museum hasn't changed much over the years. While some of the exhibits are definitely fake, others seem rather lifelike and intense. I've seen some older kids disturbed by what they saw in the museum.

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