I was excited this week when I learned that Groupon is offering discounted admission to Colonial Williamsburg (affiliate link) in Virginia. Guests can purchase a single day youth admission for $6 or an adult admission for $12. The only caveat is the tickets need to be used by March 16, 2014.
So I could just leave it at that and move on my way with the promotion of the deal. However, I wanted to elaborate on the annual attendance to Colonial Williamsburg and talk about how great it is. That is when I learned more of what is going on with our nations historic colonial capital.
Going back through the annual reports and other sources, I discovered attendance to the landmarks, as well as the finances of the organization are not as strong as one would anticipate. Even with 651,000+ paid tickets in 2013, this is on a steady decline year-over-year. Despite 1 $780 million endowment, Colonial Williamsburg appears to be having financial troubles due to lack of funds. Just yesterday it was announced the Historic Triangle Shuttle Bus Service Discontinued after being in service since 2005.
During our visit to Colonial Williamsburg for Thanksgiving in 2012, I was quite surprised to see how open and accessible the entire city was for everyone. Entrance to the historic area is free to anyone, but admission tickets are needed for access to certain buildings. So if you wanted to walk through the streets and see the reenactors, shop for historic items, or dine at the restaurants, you could do so without paying a cent to the foundation that manages the city. The only portion off limits and requiring admission is entry to the historic buildings, but only select ones.
This admission policy was quite astonishing to me, because after visiting other historic villages such as Greenfield Village and Sauder Village, they are wholly enclosed sites that require tickets to enter the property.
That being said, I see it as an obligation for all of us to support such great sites such as Colonial Williamsburg, as they tell the stories of our past in a way that everyone can understand. It is a lot easier to see how our ancestors lived by seeing it in real life versus reading it in a book. I encourage everyone to consider visiting Colonial Williamsburg and support this national treasure.
The Groupon deal for Colonial Williamsburg, mentioned above, provides an excellent opportunity to see the Living History Museum at discount.
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2013 Colonial Williamsburg Annual Report
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