Plimoth Plantation is a living history museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts that replicates the original settlement of the Plymouth Colony. The first colony was established in the 17th century by English colonists, now known as Pilgrims. Step inside 17th century homes, speak with Pilgrims and Wompanoag Indians. A day trip to Plimoth Plantation makes for a wonderful Massachusetts adventure. Learn about and explore days passed with the family.
One of the first lessons we learn about US history is the story of the pilgrim’s journey to the new land. Plimoth Plantation is a re-creation of the 17th-Century English Village that was built by the settlers along the shore of Plymouth Harbor. You get the chance to speak with actors portraying Pilgrims and find out what a day in 1623 was like for them. Plimoth Plantation mixes fun with learning and makes a great Massachusetts day trip with the family.
Massachusetts Day Trip to Plimoth Plantation
A day trip to Plimoth Plantation is an authentic look at what life was like for the settlers in the 1620’s. Both of my children learned about the Pilgrims in 3rd grade. There is a short film when you visit that provides a really good overview of the Pilgrim’s journey across the sea.
There are three types of staff working at Plimoth Plantation:
- Village actors, each playing the part of a settler
- Wompanoags, who are not actors
- Museum Guides, who are around to answer any questions you might have
All of the staff at Plimoth Plantation are knowledgeable and add to the experience. Stop and talk to everyone you see!
Explore the village
Although not the original site, Plimoth Plantation has been re-created to closely resemble the original settlement. On your visit, stop in and explore houses filled with reproductions of the types of objects and furniture that the Pilgrims owned. Walk through their expansive gardens, and visit the animal pens. Who knows, you might even come across a chicken walking around the village.
Along the way, you are sure to run into some townspeople who are eager to tell you about their new lives in Plymouth Colony. You might walk in on the some of the Pilgrims as they eat dinner or bump into one tending their garden. You can help them out by participating in hands-on activities that vary with the season. The actors playing Pilgrims really bring the whole village to life.
Museum Guides are available on site and speak from a modern point of view. They can give you additional background information on what life was like in the 1600’s.
Meet the First Settlers
The actors wandering around the village speak and dress the way the early colonists did. They only speak from the perspective of 1623 and will not come out of character. Each actor has adopted the names and viewpoints of one of the people who lived and worked in the original colony. They each have a unique and interesting story to tell.
If you bump into a Pilgrim, ask them about religion, cooking, gardening – anything. They are happy to engage with visitors. The actors have no knowledge about modern day conveniences. The actors are very happy to answer questions.
Meet the Wompanoag Indians
The staff in the Wampanoag Homesite are not role players. At the homesite, the natives are from the Wampanoag tribe or other Native Nations in the area. They are dressed in historically accurate clothing and speak to visitors from a modern perspective about Wampanoag history and culture. They love to share farming practices, typical daily routines and how the community ran with visitors.
You will view different kinds of homes at the Wompanoag Homesite. One of the homes is a mat-covered wetu, the Wampanoag word for house. The other house is a bark-covered house or nush wetu, meaning a house with three fire pits inside. You might even get to see men making a mishoon, the Wampanoag word for boat, using fire to hollow out a tree.
The staff in the Wampanoag Homesite are very proud of their Native heritage. They are very knowledgeable of the traditions, stories, and history of the people who have lived in the region for thousands of years. Ask lots of questions, they are happy to answer questions.
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More about Plimoth Plantation
A day trip to Plimoth Plantation is completely self-guided. You can go at your own pace.
Combo tickets for the Mayflower II, a replica of the ship that brought the Pilgrims across the Atlantic, are available. The Mayflower II is a short drive from Plimoth Plantation. The Plymouth Rock is next to the Mayflower and there is no charge to view it.
TravelingMom Tip: If you are local to Southeastern Massachusetts, check your local library for a discounted pass.
If you are heading to New England and are looking for a fun Massachusetts daytrip, I always recommend a day trip to Plimoth Plantation. Plymouth is where it all began.