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Best things to do in Petersburg

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Where in the world: USA  /  Virginia  /  Petersburg

Top 15 things to do in Petersburg

1. Petersburg National Battlefield Park

Petersburg National Battlefield consists of four units spanning across 37 miles of land in South Side Virginia. From June, 1864 - April, 1865 Union forces sought to cut off all supply lines into the City in order to starve the Confederate troops who were protecting Richmond's main supply base. Four visitor centers, a park tour road, and self-guided trails provide an opportunity for visitors to learn more about the longest military event of the Civil War in which 70,000 soldiers became casualties.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Petersburg National Battlefield Park

2. Pamplin Historical Park

Pamplin Historical Park is a 424-acre private sector historical park located near Petersburg, Virginia. The park preserves open space near Richmond, Virginia in Dinwiddie County, Virginia and serves the dual use of preserving a significant fragment of the Petersburg Breakthrough Battlefield, a National Historic Landmark, and key components of the Third Battle of Petersburg. The park also provides a footprint location for the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier, which is located within the park.
The Pamplin Historical Park cooperates with owners of adjacent parcels of Third Battle of Petersburg property, the Petersburg National Battlefield and the American Battlefield Trust, in preserving much (not all) of the physical space on which the battle was fought and interpreting it for the general public. In particular, a decisive segment of the battle, the Boydton Plank Road breakthrough by the 5th Vermont Infantry and other units, occurred on Pamplin Park property at dawn on April 2, 1865.
The park includes several pre-Civil War structures that are interpreted to 1864-1865 and presented as an integral part of the park landscape, including Tudor Hall Plantation (c. 1812). 3 miles (4.8 km) of park trails include close-up looks at the Confederate trenches that were the target of the climactic Federal assault. The park bears the name of its founder, businessman and Civil War enthusiast Robert B. Pamplin, Jr.

A. Wilson Greene helped develop Pamplin Historical Park and served as its executive director from 1994 to 2017. It is a Virginia Historic Landmark, was designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Pamplin Historical Park

3. Blandford Church and Cemetery

The Brick Church erected in 1736 on Well's Hill, now known as Old Blandford Church of Bristol Parish, is located in Petersburg, Virginia adjacent to Blandford Cemetery. During the American Revolution the Battle of Blandford also known as the Battle of Petersburg was fought nearby in 1781. Following the battle Major General William Phillips was ordered back to Petersburg to meet Lord Cornwallis who was moving north From Wilmington, North Carolina. While in Petersburg awaiting the arrival of Cornwallis, Phillips fell ill and died on 13 May 1781. He was secretly buried somewhere in the churchyard.
The church building was abandoned in 1806 after the construction of another Episcopal church in Petersburg when the Town of Blandford in Prince George County was absorbed by Petersburg. Necessary repairs for its preservation were made by the City of Petersburg in 1882. The church originally had clear glass compass windows but after more than 75 years of abandonment and neglect the windows and doors were long gone. As part of the restoration project, the Ladies' Memorial Association solicited funds from each former Confederate state for the creation and installation of a stained glass window in memory of the Confederate soldiers from that state. Louis Comfort Tiffany's studio was commissioned to design the fifteen memorial compass windows. Each of the large windows contains the image of a Saint and symbols associated with the Saint. The four smaller windows were designed to complement the larger ones.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Blandford Church and Cemetery

4. Bacon's Castle, Surry

Bacon's Castle, also variously known as "Allen's Brick House" or the "Arthur Allen House" is located in Surry County, Virginia, United States, and is the oldest documented brick dwelling in what is now the United States. Built in 1665, it is noted as an extremely rare example of Jacobean architecture in the New World.

The house became known as "Bacon's Castle" because it was occupied as a fort or "castle" by the followers of Nathaniel Bacon during Bacon's Rebellion in 1676. However, contrary to popular folklore, Bacon never lived at Bacon's Castle, nor is he even known to have visited it.

Today Bacon's Castle is an historic house museum and historic site open for guest visitation. Bacon's Castle is an official Preservation Virginia historic site and operates under its 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit status.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Bacon's Castle
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5. Farmers Bank

Farmers' Bank is the first bank museum of its kind found in Virginia. Farmers' Bank was incorporated in 1812 and the Petersburg, Virginia branch opened in 1817.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Farmers Bank

6. Berkeley Plantation, Charles City

Berkeley Plantation, one of the first plantations in America, comprises about 1,000 acres (400 ha) on the banks of the James River on State Route 5 in Charles City County, Virginia. Berkeley Plantation was originally called Berkeley Hundred, named after the Berkeley Company of England. In 1726, it became the ancestral home of the Harrison family of Virginia, after Benjamin Harrison IV located there and built one of the first three-story brick mansions in Virginia. It is the home to two presidents of the United States: William Henry Harrison, and his grandson Benjamin Harrison. It is now a museum property, open to the public.

Among the many American "firsts" that occurred at Berkeley Plantation are:

In 1619 settlers celebrated the first annual Thanksgiving celebration after landing at Berkeley Hundred.

In 1862 the Army bugle call "Taps" was first played, by bugler Oliver W. Norton; the melody was written at Harrison's Landing, the plantation's old wharf, by Norton and General Daniel Butterfield.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Berkeley Plantation

7. Centre Hill Mansion

Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Centre Hill Mansion

8. Trapezium Brewing Co.

Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Learn more about Trapezium Brewing Co.

9. Ammo Brewing

Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Learn more about Ammo Brewing

10. Shirley Plantation, Charles City

Shirley Plantation is an estate located on the north bank of the James River in Charles City County, Virginia, USA. It is located on scenic byway State Route 5, between Richmond and Williamsburg. It is the oldest active plantation in Virginia and the oldest family-owned business in North America, dating back to 1614 with operations starting in 1648. It used about 70 to 90 enslaved people at a time for forced labor including plowing the fields, cleaning, childcare, and cooking. It was added to the National Register in 1969 and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1970.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Learn more about Shirley Plantation

11. Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, Appomattox

The location of one of the most dramatic moments in the nation's history, Appomattox Court House National Historical Park features original and reconstructed 19th-century buildings. The park's star attraction is the building where General Robert E. Lee signed the Confederate surrender, effectively ending the American Civil War. Spanning over 530 hectares (1,300 acres), the park includes an area originally covered by an antebellum village that was once an important stagecoach stop on the Richmond-Lynchburg stage road. Take a self-guided tour through the historic village. Exhibits tell the story of that era. You'll see everything from the pencil used by General Lee to make a correction to the surrender terms to authentic Civil War uniforms and weapons.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Learn more about Appomattox Court House National Historical Park

12. Metro Richmond Zoo, Moseley

Metro Richmond Zoo is a privately owned, for-profit zoo in Chesterfield County, Virginia. It is located in the central Virginia area, off of U.S. Route 360 (Hull Street Road), about 20 miles southwest of Richmond. Metro Richmond Zoo encompasses about 70 acres (28 ha) and houses around 2,000 animals representing over 190 species, including reticulated giraffe, white rhinoceros, snow leopard, cheetah and Grant's zebra.

The zoo is accredited by the Zoological Association of America (ZAA), and has one of the largest primate collections in the United States.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Metro Richmond Zoo

13. Sylvan Heights Bird Park, Scotland Neck

Purpose and Objectives

1. To provide public education regarding the world's wild waterfowl and the important role the many and varied species play in the ecosystem.

2. To engage the public in waterfowl conservation and the preservation of habitat.

3. To provide a world class destination for school and other groups with a special emphasis on reaching out to underserved populations and high risk children.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
Learn more about Sylvan Heights Bird Park

15. McLean House, Appomattox

The McLean House near Appomattox, Virginia is within the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park. The house was owned by Wilmer McLean and his wife Virginia near the end of the American Civil War. It served as the location of the surrender conference for the Confederate army of General Robert E. Lee on April 9, 1865, after a nearby battle.
The farmhouse represents the historical style of construction in Piedmont Virginia of the mid-nineteenth century. The current building is a reconstructed form of the original using the original materials. It was carefully deconstructed in the 1890s for shipment and display in Washington, D.C. but those plans fell through, and the materials remained on site. In the 1940s it ended up in the hands of the National Park Service and was reconstructed on its original foundation. The house was made available for public viewing in 1949. It was recorded in the National Register of Historic Places in 1966 and in the National Park Service's database of Official Structures in 1989.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about McLean House

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