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Need Advice for a 2.5 Day Agenda (clarified)

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Michigan
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Need Advice for a 2.5 Day Agenda (clarified)

We'd like to know which historical sites to visit during our mid-June 2.5 day visit with our 9-year-old son. Specifically-what sites give the most information? Do you get alot of the same info at several sites. Are certain sites busier on certain days or at specific times of the day? Is there a good route of certain sites to visit? In any specific order? Are there any sites not really worth paying to go into? We'd appreciate ANY advice anyone can offer. Thanks!

P.S. Are there any fun site (like Waterparks) to visit close-by?

Gettysburg PA
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1. Re: Need Advice for a 2.5 Day Agenda (clarified)

Stop at the park service visitor's center first. There's a museum there; you can decide whether to book a licensed guide for a tour; there's an electric map program, although that's a little old fashioned. There are brochures that tell you how to follow the battle in order seeing sights on days 1,2,3 of the battle. The info is basically the same from place to place if you're talking about going on tours, so there's not a lot of difference in perspective. There is a new film out on route 30 at the Gettysburg Gateway about the battle. I personally found it gory, but others enjoy it. It's about $8 for a 20 minute movie.

There aren't any waterparks within an hour or so. There's one in Lancaster inside Dutch Wonderland but it caters to younger kids.

You may want to read the responses to other questions in this forum for more information.

TECUMSEH
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2. Re: Need Advice for a 2.5 Day Agenda (clarified)

If you're in the area on a Tuesday and have time, I'd highly recommend taking a tour of Martin's Potato Chips. This was a highlight of our trip to Gettysburg and the surrounding area. Martin's is located in Thomasville, PA. I believe it's only about 30 minutes or so from Gettysburg. Tours are only given on Tuesdays. Their web site is martinschips.com.

Lincoln, NE
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3. Re: Need Advice for a 2.5 Day Agenda (clarified)

I'm wondering about the electric map. Is it worth the money? We are going to the Civil War Museum in Harrisburg before we come to Gettysburg. Also, we are going with the personal guide so I'm wondering if we should spend the time or money on the map. With so much to see, we could spend the time or to other things if it won't help.

Gettysburg PA
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4. Re: Need Advice for a 2.5 Day Agenda (clarified)

It's a small auditorium setting. There's a large topographical map on the floor. They use small lights on the map to show you troop movements while a narrator explains the battle. Very 1950s-1960s technology; nothing like an interactive laser show.

Dundee, Michigan
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5. Re: Need Advice for a 2.5 Day Agenda (clarified)

Two attractions that we felt weren't worth the cost were the Jenny Wade House Museum and the Hall of Presidents Wax Museum.

The Jenny Wade House is a small, brick house that housed the only civilian casualty of the battle, Jenny Wade. It is very quaint, and if you enjoy seeing the interior of period homes then you might like it, but it only takes about 10-15 minutes (self-guided) to see and cost our family of four over $20. The main drawing point seems to be the bullet hole in the door that was the point of entry for the bullet that killed Miss Wade, but you can see that from the outside without paying the steep admission price. I just remember that we found ourselves standing in the gift shop (of course they route you through there on your way out) after the very brief tour, thinking, "Wow! That just cost us over $20!" There is a mannequin dressed like a Union soldier in the kitchen area where Miss Wade was killed that serves as narrator and has one of those computer-generated faces that is supposed to look really natural, so I wonder if it was an expensive purchase and is the reason for the high cost just to walk through a tiny house.

The Hall of Presidents museum is an excellent concept, but the last time we visited, the place was in major need of an overhaul and the "Presidents" looked like they hadn't been touched up since about the mid-'70's. They were even wearing "70's-era mens' dress shoes, lol. Some of the wigs are a bit cockeyed, and the whole place just reminds me of something that someone thought up and decided to milk for all it was worth while spending as little as possible on it. Since your son is 9, he might still enjoy it and overlook the tattiness of it, but personally I just hate to visit attractions where the admission price goes up regularly while no upkeep or improvements seem to go along with it.

Poconos
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6. Re: Need Advice for a 2.5 Day Agenda (clarified)

I take my 9-year-old niece to Gettysburg at least 2x's/year at her insistance - in fact, our next trip begins tomorrow morning, and this will be her 11th visit! She adores it, although she's really not too interested in seeing the museums & attractions - she prefers spending her time in the park at the battle sites with which she's most familiar - Devil's Den, Little Round Top, the Wheatfield, Culp's Hill, etc. She has a basic understanding of what happened at each of these spots and delights in showing off her "expertise" to anyone whom might be traveling with us at the time!

There is one museum she absolutely loves, though - the Rupp House on Baltimore Avenue. They offer "scavanger hunts" for kids, where they tour the house searching for answers to CW questions and get a prize for their efforts. I think she's done every one they have, but you can bet by noon tomoorow, we'll have visited again! Admission is free, but donations are very much appreciated. If your son likes history, he'd probably love the Rupp House - very educational, and still a lot of fun!

I'd avoid the scenic train rides - we spent about $70 to sit on a train for over an hour, seeing nothing more than a few monuments, a couple of farms and lots & lots of trees! 1/2 hr into it, we were all bored to tears and couldn't wait for it to be over.

For the most part, I agree that the Jennie Wade House is a waste of money - it's exactly as another reviewer has described. Still, it's a big part of Gettysburg history, so if you're looking for the historical experience,... One thing that has really turned me off about this site is that they now offer ghost tours (who in Gettysburg doesn't??). When I first began visiting Gettysburg only 7 years ago, it seemed like maybe there were 2 or 3 ghost tours in town - now, they are on every corner! It's funny - I'd never heard anything about the Jennie Wade House being haunted before, but now, they're packing them in on the tours!

Have a great time in Gettysburg - whatever you decide to do, you'll have fun!

Gettysburg, PA
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7. Re: Need Advice for a 2.5 Day Agenda (clarified)

I would also agree that the Jennie Wade House and the scenic railroad are way overpriced and overrated.

Dundee, Michigan
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8. Re: Need Advice for a 2.5 Day Agenda (clarified)

I forgot to mention something that our family did the last time that we were in Gettysburg that was one of the best things that we have ever done on any vacation--the horseback tour of the battlefield. We took a two-hour guided tour and it was so cool because you get a totally different perspective when riding, and you can go places where driving tours can't. They are very safety-oriented and will give you a horse based on your riding experience. All kids under the age of fourteen are required to wear a helmet too. Our tour guide was a history professor from New York, and he was fantastic--knowledgable, funny, etc. We each got a headset with earphones so that we could all hear what he was saying, even though we were stretched out single file. I think that there were about 8-10 of us on that tour. The price was a little steep at $58/person (in 2004), but it was very well worth it and I would do it again in a second if we ever get back to Gettysburg.

If you do want to do it, then I remember that it fills up pretty fast and that you want to have your reservations in at least a couple of weeks ahead of time. We took the tour out of National Riding Stables located in the Artillery Ridge Campground, but there is also another stable that offers battlefield tours called Hickory Hollow Stables. Here is the contact info for both:

National Riding Stables

610 Taneytown Rd.

Gettysburg, PA 17325

Phone:717-334-1288

Hickory Hollow Horse Farm

219 Crooked Creek Rd

Gettysburg , PA 17325

Phone: 717-334-0349

One last thing: if you want to eat somewhere with a delicious buffet at a very reasonable price, try General Pickett's Buffet on (I think) Steinwher Ave. The food is good, and the place is usually filled with Civil War buffs, reenactors, etc. and you can overhear some pretty interesting conversations, lol. Apparently, the cast and crew of the film "Gettysburg" ate there frequently while they were in town and there is a photo gallery of pictures taken while they were there making the movie located inside the rear entrance to the restaurant.

Gettysburg PA
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9. Re: Need Advice for a 2.5 Day Agenda (clarified)

There are also now two bicycle tours of the battlefield. One is led by a licensed battlefield guide; the other a private company. For a while there was a business that rented out Segways; I haven't noticed if that's open yet this year.

10. Re: Need Advice for a 2.5 Day Agenda (clarified)

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