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June 29, 2018

Visit Virginia: Thomas Jefferson's Monticello


Virginia is full of historic places to visit, and one National Historic Landmark is Thomas Jefferson's Monticello.


The third President of the United States is most commonly remembered as the author of the Declaration of Independence.

He inherited the 5000-acre Monticello plantation from his father, and it was home to not only his family, but also to many slaves who worked on the grounds.

There are several different types of tours you can opt for when visiting Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, and we chose the Family Friendly Tour and Day Pass, which is designed for families with children ages 5-11.  This guided 40-minute tour took us through the home, while our guide explained interesting features of the home and shared information about Thomas Jefferson's life.  Slavery is touched upon briefly during this tour, and for those who wish to learn even more about this aspect of Jefferson's life, a Guided Slavery at Monticello tour is included with this ticket type (also included in the Family Friendly Tour is a Guided Garden and Grounds Tour, and Summer Archaeology Walking Tours).

I thought the this tour was great for my kids (ages 11, 9, and 7).  There were a handful of other families on the tour, and our guide was great in engaging all of the kids with questions and props, as well as answering all of their questions.  Kids are also given an Exploring Monticello guide with all sorts of fun facts.

Photographs are not allowed in Monticello, but we did get to see so many fascinating things, such as the Great Clock that displays both the time and day of the week, his Book Room, where he kept over 6,000 books, and an ingenious door that Thomas Jefferson built to not turn his back to his guests when closing it while entertaining.

Shuttles take visitors between the Visitor Center and mountaintop, the site of Monticello, and all tours are timed.  Before or after your tour, you are free to explore other areas of the property.

We went through the cellar passages and saw the Kitchen and Wine Cellar, and the kids tried their hand at ironing and delivering wine by dumbwaiter.





I took a stroll next to the Vegetable Garden.


I also took a peek into a reconstructed servant's house.



The kids also spent some time at the Mountain Top Activity Center to color, play with fun toys, and write with quill pens!



Back at the Visitor Center is a cafe, gift shop, and more exhibitions, but one that is really great for kids is the Griffin Discovery Room.  Several hands-on stations, including replicas of the Monticello house, give kids a chance to learn even more about this historic home.





Our entire family learned so much on the Family Friendly Tour at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello.  It was such a great history lesson!


Thomas Jefferson's Monticello
931 Thomas Jefferson Pkwy
Charlottesville, VA 22902

Mahalo to the sponsor for the complimentary admission.

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