Have you ever seen a photo of a place so unique that you knew you had to visit? That was my reaction the first time I saw a photo of the Ruins of Presidents Park. The image I saw was so eerie and creepy, I just had to add it to my bucket list. Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out what I was looking at or where the picture was taken. I spent days at a time google searching images and finally figured out that the photo I had found was taken at the Ruins of Presidents Park in Virginia. And then, I was further disappointed to learn that this was actually just that, ruins from a park that was once open and had long since closed to the public. I never quiet gave up hope that one day I would figure out how to see this place. Then, about 3 years after I first saw that photo on Pinterest, I joined a travel group on Facebook and one of the members posted information on how to book a visit to see these ruins in person! So, this is how my family ended up taking one of my bucket list trips during the middle of a pandemic.
First, here is a little back story of the Ruins of Presidents Park. An artist, David Adickes, was inspired after a visit to Mount Rushmore and created 43 President sculptures. These sculptures would eventually become a 10-acre open air park in Williamsburg, VA called Presidents Park. The park closed in 2010 and these sculptures were set to be destroyed. A man in nearby Croaker, VA decided to spend $50,000 to move these sculptures to his family land. In the process of moving, all of the sculptures were ruined and now sit in all their damaged glory on his property.
To visit these ruins, you must purchase a ticket through John Plashal Photo’s Facebook page. He is a photographer that has some kind of connection to the family that owns these sculptures and is allowed to host events every few months. If you are interested in visiting this site, please like his page on Facebook and check in every week to see if he posts event dates/ticket links. Once tickets are purchased, you will get more detailed instructions via email about the location, where to park, what to bring, etc.
There are 43 President Sculptures, from George Washington to George W. Bush. They range in height from 18-20 feet. Most are in terrible shape with crumbling features and water discoloration. This only adds to the character and eeriness of the site! When arriving, you will meet John Plashal and he’ll give out instructions, get you checked in, and then you pretty much have free range to explore during your ticketed hours. Masks and social distancing are required. Since it is outdoors, we felt very safe in regards to our health!
Some people have asked if it was worth it… of course my answer is YES! I really enjoy learning about our country’s history and presidents, so this was a top destination on my bucket list. Some people may not feel that way about history, so I can’t say how much you would enjoy it. Regardless of being a history buff or not, it’s still really cool to see and explore in person. Not to mention how close it is to Washington DC (only 2 hours) and it’s right outside of Williamsburg, so you’re close to the Historic Triangle. We flew into Richmond, VA and rented a car for the week. We stayed in Colonial Williamsburg during our trip, which was only about 15 minutes away from The Ruins of Presidents Park. We were able to visit Colonial Williamsburg at Christmas, Jamestown Settlement, and The Revolutionary War Museum in Yorktown. So, be sure to hit up this historic triangle during your stay!
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