While Dover’s historical sites alone beckon a visit, Delaware’s capital has something to see, do and explore for a full-range of interests and ages. If you are traveling as a family, or remain young and curious at heart, add these 10 kid-friendly activities to your itinerary.
Delaware is known as the first state in the country, and the state’s capital claims this historic past with gusto. There is much more to Dover than historic intrigue, though, from pristine natural wonders to agritourism, racing to a burgeoning food scene. Here is the best of the best to see with kids in tow.
First State Heritage Park
First State Heritage Park is the first urban “park without boundaries” in the state. It recognizes Delaware’s status as the first state in the United States, as well as Dover’s two-century-claim to the seat of state government. The park links many different sites, from green spaces to historic homes, so your family can grab a map and start exploring with ease. There is a little bit of everything to see, all with an interesting backstory. The park also offers tours that are hosted by engaging, costumed interpreters and tailored to fit a range of audiences.
102 South State Street
The Delaware Public Archives
Are you a family full of history buffs (or keen on pretending to be)? The Delaware Public Archives is definitely worth a quick stop, especially if you’re already in the area, visiting First State Heritage Park. In addition to birth records and marriage certificates, the mammoth collection includes interesting historical documents that had a profound impact on the country’s founding. The building also houses exhibits on Delaware history and culture.
121 M.L.K. Junior Boulevard North
Johnson Victrola Museum
While the kids might be a little too young to remember the Johnson Victrola brand and its iconic mascot, Nipper the RCA Dog, they may be entranced by this huge collection of victrolas and the unique sounds they produce. The small museum’s two stories make for a quick visit. Beyond its expansive victrola collection, the museum features a recreated 1910 record shop, an exhibit solely dedicated to Nipper the RCA Dog and victrola-inspired artwork. There are even a few Grammys, as the award boasts the shape of, yes, a victrola.
375 South New Street
John Dickinson Plantation
John Dickinson, one of America’s Founding Fathers and a signer of the U.S. Constitution, grew up in Dover. See his childhood home up close when you visit the John Dickinson Plantation, a working plantation with historic interpreters and plenty of educational opportunities. The Early Georgian main house was built in 1739, with additions completed in 1752 and 1754. Later, however, it suffered major damage during a British raid in 1781.
340 Kitts Hummock Road
Air Mobility Command Museum
The only museum in the world dedicated to airlift and air fueling history, this museum is an absolute must for avgeeks and kids who love airplanes. Marvel at more than 30 aircraft that are yours to explore, from giant cargo haulers to vintage presidential aircraft. Guided tours are available daily and filled with unique insights. Set aside a good few hours for this stop on your Dover itinerary.
1301 Heritage Road
Delaware Agricultural Museum & Village
If you can’t make it out to Kent County, home to Delaware’s fantastic farms, stop in at the Delaware Agricultural Museum & Village to discover the state’s rural heritage and the importance of agriculture to its past. Along with antique farm equipment exhibits, there is a recreated rural Delaware village that transports travelers back to the 1890s. Visit the general store, a farmhouse, school house, train station, church, barbershop and more, all bustling with interesting locals and maybe even a friendly animal or two.
866 North Dupont Highway
The Old State House
Catch one of the free, daily guided tours of The Old State House and learn about Delaware’s early history. Built in the late 1700s, the Old State House was the first permanent capitol building in central Delaware and served its role until the early 1900s. Now, guests can peruse the beautiful architecture and admire the Georgian façade, dual stairways, gilt ceilings and 18th-century courtroom. Pull up a chair in the state legislative chambers and hear about the earliest workings of American democracy.
25 The Green
The Golden Fleece
The Golden Fleece isn’t just a tavern — it’s a vital part of American history and one of the most important watering holes in the nation’s past. During the Revolution, the Golden Fleece was a meeting place for rebels and revolutionaries. Delaware legislators used the tavern as a makeshift statehouse, ratifying the Constitution and Bill of Rights at its tables while possibly sipping some of the same local beers you can still find on the menu today. After the Old State House was completed, local politicians moved down the street, and the Golden Fleece resumed its role as primarily a place for drinking and good fun.
132 Loockerman Street
Dover International Speedway
Get up close and personal with one of the most famous racetracks in NASCAR, the Dover International Speedway. Take a tour of the track to learn how it operates and what it takes to put on a NASCAR race. (Note: Tours are on a brief hiatus during the 2019 summer, due to construction, but will resume in October.) Tours take place each Thursday at 10 a.m. Be sure to also check the track’s calendar for fun events like the annual Firefly Music Festival.
1131 North Dupont Highway
Biggs Museum of American Art
The Biggs Museum of American Art is far from your average art museum. In addition to an impressive collection of paintings, sculptures and other mediums, the museum also displays fine decorative arts that include early-American cabinetry and silverwork. Families with kids are encouraged to make use of the Biggs Kids Kits, which take families through a self-guided tour filled with kid-friendly creative and educational activities. Simply request a kit at the front desk.
406 Federal Street