A living-history museum, Plimoth Plantation is best known for replicating a 17th-century colonial village from top to bottom (an enclave known as the “1627 Village”). Virtually everything here is now as it was then—from the foods grown and eaten to the chores and social structure.
But Plimoth Plantation also encompasses a Native American camp (called Hobbamock’s Homesite) that houses Wampanoags—not actors, but real native New Englanders whose people have lived in the area for more than 12,000 years—in their traditional homes. Thanks to the combination of perspectives experienced through these two camps, Plimoth Plantation may be one of the best ways to teach kids about America’s humble beginnings, with a slew of hands-on educational programs that teach about this slice of life through the eyes of both the Pilgrims and the area’s indigenous people.
There’s also an exact replica of the vessel that bore the first settlers here—Mayflower II—which (again, courtesy of actors playing historic characters) sheds some light on what they endured and how they lived on their journey. Rounding out the experience are the Carriage House Craft Center (where you can quiz modern craftspeople about historic trades like weaving, basket-weaving, and glass-blowing) and the Nye Barn, a major conservation effort full of rare and heritage breeds of livestock.