One day this past weekend I was out running errands with my youngest daughter Melody. She had been a little cranky and in-between stops she fell asleep and I knew that I had to do whatever I could to ensure she got a nice long nap. I just started driving and eventually found myself on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. I really was just trying to find someplace nearby that I could set the cruise control and not be stopping at a red light every one hundred yards. Since I was heading out towards King of Prussia I knew that the Valley Forge park was nearby and was always on my to-do list. As I get older I find myself more and more interested in American History (where you when I was in high school). You can check out a previous visit to Gettysburg, PA here (Part 1 and Part 2). As luck would have it just as I was pulling into the parking area Melody woke up and seemed ready to stretch her legs a bit, and what better place than a park.
Valley Forge was the camp where the American Continental Army spent the winter of 1777-78 during the American Revolutionary War. More than 2,500 American soldiers perished here due to starvation, disease, and exposure to the harsh winter.
I’m no historian so I won’t go into much more detail about what happened at Valley Forge since I will most likely quote something incorrectly. Instead be sure to stop by the Historical park and check out the visitor center.
I will say it’s always nice to be greeted upon arrival by the great General George Washington.
There are some very detailed exhibits throughout the Visitor Center museum detailing what Valley Forge. What the conditions were like, how the soldiers spent their down time, living conditions and more.
There was also an interesting collection of weapons on display and detailed descriptions of each. If you take your time visiting each exhibit you could easily spend an afternoon here, but there are many other places to see and things to do. There is also a theatre showing a movie about the events at Valley Forge. It’s not long only about 20 minutes or so but well worth the price of admission (did I mention this is all free? yup free). After we finished checking everything out we headed back down to the main area of the visitor center for their gift shop.
Named the Encampment Store there is plenty of T-shirts, Christmas ornaments, shot glasses and books just like you would find in most of these little shops. Over to one side of the store I came across one of the other reasons I had always wanted to visit this park.
It just wouldn’t be a weekend trip without coming across a penny machine somewhere. My family always laughs when I try to play it off like I didn’t know the machine was here. Ahh they know me all too well.
The designs available here include The National Memorial Arch, a Revolutionary Cannon, America’s First Army, and Dogwoods.
I would have loved to spend even more time here, and we didn’t get to wonder around the park. The wind was really making it hard to stay outside for too long and as I saw Melody’s cheeks getting red I knew she was ready to head back to our car. Hopefully I’ll get back here in the near future when it’s a little warmer so I can really experience all there is. Be sure to stop by and get a bit of a history lesson, a nice walk through the park and of course don’t forget to press a set of pennies before you go.