Celebrate the First English Settlement

09/03/2009  |  HANNAH HARRISON
educational travel

Twenty-three years before Jamestown, there was Roanoke Island. The settlement didn’t survive, but the history, adventure and family fun did.

Roanoke Island Festival Park is an interactive family attraction that celebrates the first English settlement in America. Visitors board and explore the park’s centerpiece, a representational ship called the Elizabeth II, which looks just like one of the seven English ships from the Roanoke Voyage of 1584. Climb aboard and help costumed 16th century sailors set the sails, plot a course with an astrolabe, and swab the decks. Try traditional woodworking, play Elizabethan games, and watch the blacksmith fashion his wares at the Settlement Site. Discover 400 years of Outer Banks history in the interactive Roanoke Adventure Museum. See The Legend of Two-Path, a mini-movie about two famous Native Americans, Manteo and Wanchese. Learn about the vital and vibrant culture, heritage, and traditions of American Indians from the region in our new American Indian Town, which includes a wide variety of true-to-scale structures, role-play environments, and places to explore, plant, dance, build and play. The Museum Store offers historically themed gift merchandise in the Elizabethan section, a nautical section inspired by the Elizabeth II, a Civil War section, an American Indian section and much more. Enjoy the on-site Art Gallery with exhibits that change monthly, the Fossil Pit full of treasures, the Outer Banks History Center and marsh-side Boardwalks that surround the site.

Walk across the bridge to the Roanoke Island Maritime Museum, just a block away in downtown Manteo, which features a working boathouse and the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse. The 25-acre island park sits across from the Manteo, NC waterfront and is an easy 5 miles from the Nags Head beaches.

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