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“Great for active kids” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Roanoke Island Festival Park

Roanoke Island Festival Park
Downtown Manteo, Roanoke Island, Manteo, NC 27954
+1 252-475-1506
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Ranked #5 of 11 Attractions in Manteo
Type: Historic Sites, History Museums, Ships, Outdoors
Activities: Group tours/walking tour
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Attraction details
Owner description: History comes alive with a replica of Elizabeth II's era and costumed-sixteenth-century characters.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Top Contributor
71 reviews 71 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
“Great for active kids”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2013

The Festival Park, as it is called, is right in the middle of downtown Manteo. You drive over a bridge and enter an area with extensive parking just a short walk from the entrance. Once you pay, you get a sticker to wear and that gives you free access to the entire area. Of course the Elizabeth II replica is the high point of the visit, and the kids loved exploring from stem to stern. You walk around the beautiful forested grounds and find various displays---Indian sites, settlements, hands on materials---at some times there are costumed historic interpreters in each area but the morning we were there that was true only on the ship. There is also a small museum area because that is being refurbished we were told and a large and diversified gift shop. Be sure and ask when you enter about the time of the movie because it was being shown only every 2 hours on our visit. It lasts about 45 minutes and is a wonderful, educational, entertaining story about how the conflicts between the English settlers and the Indians came about. You see the friendship develop among the different Indian tribes and then see how the English caused a rift. There is enough action that even our 9 and 12-year-old boys were kept interested in the story. I have visited the Park before and never saw the movie; for me it was the high point of the visit. I think it would be very helpful to see the movie prior to seeing "The Lost Colony" (which is a can't miss attraction by the way!)
You certainly need to allow at least a couple of hours, and you are welcome to stay as long as you wish.

Visited July 2013
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202 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
10 attraction reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“History presented in a creative manner.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2013 via mobile

Great for children. Creative outdoor exhibits with actors dressed in period costumes. Interesting 16th century ship to view and board. Allow time to view the movie about site. Last show is at 4 pm.

Visited July 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Williamsburg, Virginia
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
15 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“A must-see site in Manteo”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2013

Our first impression was not good. When we walked into the visitor center, there were three young women standing around in uniform, but none of them addressed us until we asked about admission. Once we paid for our tickets, one of them hurried through her spiel, telling us where to go and how to get there, but she talked way too fast and it was not a good introduction.

Fortunately, the rest of the visit was better. The ship, Elizabeth II, was interesting and is open for guests to explore. The interpreters on board were in period costume but inexplicably spoke with awful fake Irish accents. There is a recreation of an Indian village which was well-done, but it was a little bit too hot for us to spend much time inside. The English village was small, but had a working blacksmith, which kids always find interesting.

Back at the museum, which was under construction, we were greeted by the nicest employee at the place. I can't remember his name, but he was a man with longer hair. He was very pleasant and was doing a good job of answering guests' questions.

To end our visit, we watched the fascinating movie about Manteo and Wanchese. It tells the story of the colonization from the Native American point of view and was very well-done. The only question we had at the end was whether or not Skyco was a real person! Honestly, I think this film was one of the highlights of the trip was far as giving some real perspective of what the colonization - and the place - was like.

This is a good site for families with school-aged children. The amount of time spent will certainly be dependent upon your level of interest.

Visited July 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Williamsburg, Virginia
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
15 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Pleasant visit”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2013

I visit places like this all the time and work at one as well. The interpreters on the ship were not particularly welcoming, telling us that we were free to walk around and ask questions. It was neat to explore the ship and imagine 50+ men living in such a small space. What bothered me was that all the costumed interpreters were attempting to speak in Irish accents - bad Irish accents, unfortunately.

Nevertheless, I am a champion of history, particularly North Carolina history, so I do recommend a visit, especially for school-aged kids. The visitor center has a really well-done film about Manteo and Wanchese, too.

Visited July 2013
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Monroeville, Pennsylvania
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“History Comes Alive”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2013

The cost is $10 per person, which considering that this is a very small exhibit, seems a bit steep. The best part was the ship, which actually had 2 "crew members" aboard who spoke to guests about the history of this ship. The other parts were somewhat interesting, but there were only guides at the blacksmith area too... but they didn't speak at all. It seems like they could do a lot more with this exhibit, or lower the price.

Visited June 2013
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