The first time I ever visited Fort Necessity, Hurricane Irene had hammered Pittsburgh and we had lost power. There are two sureties in Pittsburgh, 1) Yes that Hill is STEEP and 2) NO your utilities will not be restored soon after a storm. My sister lived outside of D.C. at the time and our other sister was visiting so it seemed like prime opportunity to load my 2 year old in the car and head down to visit, after I called and found out she still had power, and therefore air conditioning. So I began a leisurely drive making it almost to the edge of PA when a deluge of rain began and I had no visibility. I pulled into the first parking lot I saw, and it happened to be Fort Necessity. We ran inside and my toddler at the time was fascinated by the buttons under the displays of the clothed mannequins. I quickly payed our admission and pursued him through the interactive displays. We got back on the road after the storm and he slept the whole way there, the storm hit 30 my sister’s house 30 min before we arrived knocking her power out for three days!
Every time we have visited Fort Necessity the display has drawn my children in and they learn a bit about the French Indian war each time. As the battle that opened the war, the site is well designed to be the foundation for starting that time period in American History. If the weather is nice there is a great walk out to the recreation log fort and wall, as well as beautiful wild flowers. Don’t be afraid to stop if the weather is terrible though, there is a great introductory film and the interactive exhibits tell the stories from multiple perspectives and are well set up. George Washington’s story ties in here which is nice to give context to young children. There is also some great information about the National Highway. During the summer they have recreation events and people in period uniforms which was a lot of fun!
On this particular visit we ran into 8 inches of ice on the road on the way back from D.C. and had decided to stop somewhere in Maryland. So when we awoke to a balmy day we decided to stop again to see Fort Necessity. The great thing about traveling with young children is they almost never remember things we’ve done before so every time is the FIRST time! The badge program was interesting and well done. In this program the kids each had an option on whether to complete it as a Recruit, Captain or Colonel, regardless of their age. The competition kept them both in the game, no one wanted to be under-ranked! As you can see the badge is a great wooden one. It is bolder and cut more cleanly than some of the other wooden ones we’ve seen. A Ranger told me that if you smell it smells like campfires and it totally does!