Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Brave the maze! Will you survive the American Adventure?

The Virginia Living Museum to host the American Adventure exhibit from January 19 through April 21.

It’s 1607 and you are among 104 colonists arriving in the New World. Your goal? To survive for one year. Taking on the role of an actual colonist, you will wind your way through a maze facing engaging challenges that prompt you to make your own decisions to “survive” the perils and pitfalls facing the English settlers in their first year at Jamestown.

Ride a zipline to safety!

“Better than a video game, better than reading facts, you will step off a ship’s gangplank into a three dimensional game where you make decisions and face the luck of fate under the conditions facing the early colonists,” explains Virginia Living Museum Senior Director of Exhibits Fred Farris.

From Jan. 19 through April 21, the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News will host this immersive exhibit that puts visitors into the shoes of the original Jamestown colonists.

Enter the Maze!

To add to the realism, each participant will grab a life chart of an actual colonist. You may start the game wealthy or poor, in good health or poor, but through good decisions, hard work and lots of luck you may be one of the few colonists to survive the first year at Jamestown. As you exit the exhibit, you can compare the actual fate of your colonist in real life and then choose to try again as another colonist. Less than 40 of the original 105 colonists survived into the second year at Jamestown!

Can you survive the rock wall?

Search for gold, climb over rocky waterfalls in search of a water passageway to the Far East, slide down a zip-line as you struggle to capture a 14-foot sturgeon, meet unusual wildlife never seen by European colonists, crawl through a cypress log, search for resources to make a profit back in London, experience these activities and many more in “American Adventure.”

Take on the challenge!

Come experience the natural side of Jamestown! What types of massive trees lined the shores of Virginia? What types of wildlife filled the dense woodlands around the fort? What wild plants were used for food or medicine? What water sources were available for the colonists? What pests and diseases plagued them? What abundant types of marine life filled the clear waters of the Chesapeake Bay as the colonists arrived? Enjoy the blending of history, science and nature in this a-“maze”ing experience.

Extend your Experience!

In the museum’s permanent galleries and along its outdoor boardwalk, visitors will also come face-to-face with many of the wild animals the colonists encountered. Hear the colonists’ own words as they encounter strange animals in a new world with the Museum’s free Uniguide audio tours. Look for Jamestown Connection signage throughout the Museum to see how the environment has changed since 1607.

Visitors will also meet live animals that were new to the early colonists and discover how to tell if an animal is poisonous, venomous, or edible with Jamestown Animal Mystery programs every Saturdays at 12 p.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Guest will explore the vital role astronomy played in the journey to and survival in the New World at 1:30 p.m. in the Abbitt Planetarium with the show Skies of Jamestown. Dates may vary.

“American Adventure” was created by Minotaur Maze Exhibits of Seattle, Wash., in collaboration with the Virginia Living Museum and had its debut at the Newport News museum in 2007. Its return visit is sponsored by American Evolution as part of Virginia’s commemoration of the arrival of the first Africans in 1619.

The museum is located at 524 J. Clyde Morris Blvd., Newport News, Va. (I64, exit 258A). It is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Admission is $20 adults and $15 children (ages 3-12).

For more information call 757-595-1900 or visit the web site at

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