One of our favorite Junior Ranger programs is at Fort Frederica St. Simons Island, Ga. Fort Frederica guarded the coast from the Spanish who occupied nearby St. Augustine (at the Castillo de San Marco – another one of our favorite field trips).
The fort is now a National Park Service site that is an exceptional place to bring history alive for children and adults. My kids had a great time and were eager to return. Here’s why.
Although the south is well known for Civil War history, St. Simons Island off the coast of Georgia is also the site of a Colonial English settlement that pre-dates the American Revolution by forty years.
The town of Frederica and the fort are ruins now, but the National Park Service has created a unique and fun way to bring the buildings, and those who lived there alive through the Jr. Ranger program. Even if you don’t have kids with you, you might want to check out the Jr. Ranger program for this site, it’s one of our favorites.
Fort Frederica History is hands on at the Museum
Fort Frederica, St. Simons Island has a small, but engaging museum where children can dress up in period outfits, sit at a Tavern table, play colonial games and even write a letter with a quill. There is a short film that explains the site’s history. The movie is well done and engaged our group of children from ages 6 – 8 years old.
Fort Frederica Junior Ranger Program
Whenever we visit a state or national park, we always inquire about the Junior Ranger program. Fort Frederica’s program is the best one I’ve ever seen. Kids pick up a haversack of materials along with a booklet and a colonial hat. The booklet is more than just puzzles and games. It takes children on a hunt through the town of Frederica to find Mr. Demere and give him an important letter from General Oglethorpe. Along the way they learn about interpreters, tavern keepers, candle makers, soldiers, and what it was like to be a kid in the town of Frederica. When kids finish the activities, they bring the booklet back to the ranger station for a certificate and Junior Ranger badge.
The Fort Frederica program is so unique, you have to complete it on site, so plan to spend a decent amount of time so you can get your badge at the end.
Fort Frederica Tips for your Visit
Fort Frederica is located along the coastal waters of Georgia, which means in summertime it can be hot and buggy. The National Park Service site warns visitors to keep away from the Spanish moss which is loaded with chiggers (small biting bugs), wear bug spray with DEET to keep the mosquitos, biting flies and sand gnats away, and warns to check everyone for ticks once you leave. With that glowing recommendation, we opted to visit Fort Frederica in December. It was a bit windy and cold, but completely bug free.
Ft Frederica Hours and Prices
The Fort Frederica Georgia is open daily from 9 am – 5 pm, (except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day) Currently they do not charge a fee for the Fort Frederica park.
What: Fort Frederica National Monument
Where: 6515 Frederica Rd., St. Simons Island, Ga. | 912-638-3639