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“Antietam luminaries the Memorial Illumination”

Antietam National Battlefield
Ranked #2 of 18 things to do in Sharpsburg
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: The Bloodiest One Day Battle in American History: 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing after twelve hours of savage combat on September 17, 1862. The Battle of Antietam ended the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia's first invasion into the North and led to Abraham Lincoln's issuance of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. Antietam National Battlefield is located in western Maryland, 10 miles south of Hagerstown in Washington County. The best place to start your visit is at the park visitor center. The GPS address for the visitor center is 5831 Dunker Church Road, Sharpsburg, Maryland, 21782. We have brochures, museum exhibits, a film, a museum store, and park rangers and volunteers on duty to help you get oriented. The battlefield is approximately 3,000 acres that you can explore in your car or by walking. Operating Hours & Seasons: Open All Year, The Visitor Center is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Park Grounds are open daylight hours. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day The park has an entrance fee of $5.00 Per Person (age 16 or older; 15 and under FREE) or $10.00 Per Vehicle.
Useful Information: Stairs / elevator, Wheelchair access, Activities for older children, Activities for young children, Bathroom facilities
Reviewed December 8, 2015

Each year, the Federal Government's Parks Service organizes 1,000 volunteers to place 23,000! luminaries on the battle field in memory of those who were killed or wounded on the bloodiest day in American history. The sight of the endless candles is very moving. You can drive through. This year, we opted to take a bus organized by Shepherd's Spring Outdoor Ministries. The reasonable charge includes dinner and a narrated drive. Overnight accommodations are also available. The evening was very well done. No having to drive or be concerned about the cars around us made the evening better. The date varies from year to year but I believe it is the first
Saturday in December, although the battle was in September. It probably would be helpful to tour the battlefield during the daylight before taking the tour if you have not already done so. And when you are in Sharpsburg, go to Nutter's for ice cream. TA wants to know who for, so I did Family with teens; note that the drive takes an hour or so because cars stop to take in the memorial, so it might not be appropriate for those who are used to a faster pace.

Date of experience: December 2015
Thank njbnjb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed December 6, 2015

Our tour guide was outstanding. This is the best way to get the full impact of your visit. I was part of a 50 party bus trip. We came for the evening illumination on December 5, 2015. It was a sight to see. The tour was during the day. The tour guide was so knowledgeable and enthusiastic.

Date of experience: December 2015
Thank bigsr2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 4, 2015

This is a great stop for a family wanting to learn history on a budget. Even if it's a rainy day, it is still worth visiting the museum; watching the movie inside; and if it's not pouring so hard that you can't see, taking the car tour CD and driving through the 8 1/2 mile tour.

Plan to spend three hours if you do the museum and the car tour, and dress appropriately add more time if you want to get out and walk the battlefield. If you are the type that likes to look at and read every display, follow tours, and read monuments, then there's hours and hours worth of history for you at this site. Take a couple of days and explore everything, if you are a history buff. The orientations are at set times, so call ahead for the times if you want to make that.

Cost: $10 per car for a three-day pass which includes the museum, movie, and grounds.

In the museum:There are artifacts and lots of informative displays and paintings; an observation deck where orientations are given (we missed that); a gift shop with educational items and fun things, some reasonably priced, e.g. $10 and under for book that would be good for a report on the visit; and an almost 1/2 hour video that is very well done with reenactments, narration, and on the field commentary. The full one-hour version of the video can be purchased in the gift shop for about $20.

Even though we missed the orientation, the park ranger on duty was informative and answered our questions after we watched the movie and then he found us in the museum to give us more info and to explain one of the displays to us.

Car tour: a little over $20 to purchase a CD tour and booklet that guides you through an 8 1/2 mile tour, stopping at significant places. You put in your CD player in the car or download it to your phone. It was interesting and informative. A perfect rainy day alternative to walking the grounds. The CD is not necessary, however, in order to tour the grounds and following the guideposts.

Plan to drive around if you want to see everything.

This is a battlefield so if don't want your child to see any images of battlefield casualties, you will have to divert or redirect your child's eyes at times in the museum and during the movie. But there is still plenty to learn about by touring the grounds.

Also, if your child is young and uninterested in history, then you can just do the movie in the theater, the orientation on the observation deck, take a brief look in the museum, buy something fun at the gift shop and then walk the battlefield.

Date of experience: December 2015
1  Thank unefamillede8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 25, 2015 via mobile

My parents especially really enjoy history so this was an interesting place. I find the stories very interesting but the scenery was really beautiful the day we were there.

Date of experience: July 2015
Thank WVExplorer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 23, 2015

We only had two hours to dedicate to the battlefield but we found the video very helpful, the park ranger was terrific!!!!, and the car tour was enlightening. The cemetery reminded me of Gettysburg.

Date of experience: November 2015
Thank Wayne H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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