Recently, I made my second trip to Colonial Williamsburg and I never ceased to be amazed. A visit around July 4 is a real treat.
Colonial Williamsburg pioneered living history. It is preserved by a private foundation, not the U.S..S. government. A mix of historians and reenacters stroll the park. You never know when you'll run into such a character. We were lucky enough to find a prisoner in the jail who told us about the dangers of those involved in the revolution.
Colonial Williamsburg is also full of taverns, bookstores, great places to spend a few hours. You can eat and drink 17th century faire. Rebels and English troops face off several times a day - a real treat for kids.
To get the most from your trip, get a weekly guide. Everything is not offered everyday. One of the most interesting conversations we witnessed was between two slaves and one freed black discussing the pros and cons of supporting each side. In addition to conversing with themselves, they involved the audience, answering questions and even asking their advice. This particularly conversation was available only on two days, hence the importance of careful planning.
Colonial Williamsburg prices are comparable to other amusement parks. I think it's about $35 for adults. It's well worth it. If you can't afford it, though, you can give your family a taste for the park by visiting the merchants mall connected to Williamsburg. From here, you can see some of the comings and goings. It's nothing like being in the park, but if you don't have the money for tickets, it beats nothing. (Go ahead - put the tickets on the charge card and work a few extra hours. You won't regret it!)