Philadelphia is known for its Revolutionary War history, but drive less than an hour south, and you can be taken back to the time of the Civil War. A short boat ride from Delaware City, DE will take you to Fort Delaware in the middle of the Delaware River. This imposing 32 foot high pentagonal structure has charged with protecting the Philadelphia area from a naval invasion by the South and holding up to 12,000 captured Confederate officers, soldiers and Southern sympathizers. Reenactors bring this turbulent time to life as you watch the soldiers fire big guns and muskets. You can also get a glimpse at the daily lives of the civilian workers there as you watch and talk to the blacksmith, laundress, cook and others. Much of the fort and grounds are open for you to view at your own pace. However, for a small additional fee, daring visitors can go on the behind the scenes tour that takes you to areas still undergoing refurbishment or areas more difficult to access for many people; that tour is well worth it. Note that no food is available at Fort Delaware, but you are free to bring your own and enjoy it at the various shady picnic areas. Be sure to check their web site for boat departure times and additional information.
During October this tour is the only way you can see the Fort. Tour was awesome.Fort was awesome.Hope to visit during another time of year so I can get the full historical tour.
Not much to do there, but I liked learning about the history. It would make a good field trip for school students.
Fort Delaware was a confederate prison during the Civil War. Very interresting to see. Take a Ferry ride over to it and spend several hours. An open bus picks you up at the ferry pier and takes you to the entrance. Lots of displays and period actors perform daily. The kids and adults will find something to do and see. Take food and water with you and have a picnic on the grounds. My wife and I enjoyed it very much, as long as you like Civil War history.
It is on a really cool island in the middle of the Delaware River. This [lace is full of neat things about history you do not want to miss the opportunity to explore this gem... LOVE IT!!!!
My 12-year-old son was interested in seeing the prison and so we took a day tour. We arrived at 3 o'clock and toured the officers barracks first. While interesting, we really came to see the actual prison area. We were very suprised to learn that we could not see it because the special tour guide had already left. So be aware that although Fort Delaware may close at 4:30, if you want to see the actual prison you need to get there before 3:00 and ask for the Fish & wildlife tour guide.
If you are in the area it is worth it, but I wouldn't go out of my way. Not much going on when we were there. Short ferry ride to the island. Introductory tour was good but short. Online info was confusing, Make sure you eat before getting on the ferry or bring your own food and drink. There in NOTHING on the island. $11 fee was reasonable.
I think the store is open Wed-Thurs. They also hold vehicles for online auctions here. The park itself is about as exciting as a parade ground without the parade.
Decided to do Fort Delaware on a whim since we had a little bit of time before we had anything to do. We were glad we stopped by for a stroll around the fort. It was really nice to walk around an old fort and look out into the river. The day was gorgeous and the structure was incredible. A nice little area for a quick visit.
We took the ferry to Fort Delaware from NJ (the ferry fee covers the fort). The fort is in better shape than I expected. We took a brief guided tour that gave us good insights into the development, structure, and use of the fort over the years. Then we had a chance to tour the grounds independently. The time you spend at the fort is limited by the ferry schedule, and the service does not continue on a regular basis beyond early October. So plan to visit during the late spring, summer, or early fall. There is an orientation film that provides some insights into life at the fort but leaves out some of the more interesting details about the inhabitants of the fort over the years, including German POWs from World War II, who are buried in the cemetery on the NJ side. The film was shown in a room that is open to a space where the staff give lectures, so it was distracting to watch the film and hear the lecture at the same time. We were especially fascinated by the information we received about the bat population and the efforts the park makes to prevent the spread of the white-nose disease that is killing off bat populations in the Eastern USA. All told, it is an interesting sight, and the staff are friendly and informed. We were glad we had a chance to visit. Main criticism--the orientation film could have been better and perhaps some additional written information or signage would be helpful. Tip: don't miss the cemetery on the NJ side with its monument to the Confederate soldiers who died of typhoid fever and were buried in a mass grave. There also is a Union monument to provide an opposing perspective to the huge Confederate monument. The WWII German POWs were buried respectfully with individual gravestones. This cemetery has a more current history too. It is the place where the murderer of the fashion designer Versace stopped on his way south, killing the cemetery caretaker who lived there in a cottage, and stealing his truck to drive south and kill his target in Florida.