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Approaching The Old State House of Delaware from behind which is located on The Green at Dover, Kent County, Delaware in the First State Heritage Park

For those who love looking at historic sites and buildings, a visit to First State Heritage Park is something you should be interested in.

Nestled in the heart of Delaware’s capital city, Dover, the park has several such sites that are open to the public, including the Old State House, Legislative Hall, the Johnson Victrola Museum, and the Delaware Public Archives. These sites are connected by a network of walking trails and pathways that wind through the city’s historic district.

The Old State House is the most prominent building in the park and serves as the centerpiece of Delaware’s state heritage.

It is a Georgian-style structure that was built in 1791 and was the first permanent capitol building in the state. It has since been restored and serves as a museum and visitors center.

Open year round, this Delaware state park offers fascinating guided tours of its buildings, as well as educational programs, and events which showcase the history and culture of Delaware and its people.

Activities

Visitors to First State Heritage Park can enjoy several points of interest during the time they spend there.

Outlined below is an overview of some of the main things you can see and do at it.

Historic sites and buildings at First State Heritage Park

Encompassing over 25 acres of land, the park has more than a dozen historic sites and buildings to explore, each with its own unique story and significance.

One of the most prominent buildings in the park is the Old State House, which was the first permanent capitol building in Delaware. It served as the seat of government for the state until 1933. Today, visitors can explore the building and learn about its history and significance through exhibits, tours, and educational programs.

Another important site in the park is Legislative Hall, which is the current home of Delaware’s General Assembly. The building was constructed in 1933 and has been expanded and renovated several times over the years to accommodate the state’s growing legislative needs. Park patrons can take guided tours of the building to learn about the history of Delaware’s legislature and how laws are made in the state.

The park also includes several smaller historic buildings and museums, including the Johnson Victrola Museum, which tells the story of the inventor of the Victrola record player and his impact on the music industry.

There is also the John Bell House, a restored 18th-century home that provides a glimpse into colonial life in Delaware, and the Delaware Public Archives, which houses important historical documents and records related to the state’s history.

Walking Trails at First State Heritage Park

In addition to these historic sites and buildings, the park offers a network of walking trails and pathways that wind through Dover’s historic district.

Visitors can stroll through the city and explore other historic buildings, such as the Old State Capitol and the Delaware Governor’s Mansion.

The park also hosts several events and festivals throughout the year, such as the First State Heritage Park’s Annual Market Fair, which features period reenactors, live music, and traditional crafts.

Educational programs at First State Heritage Park

First State Heritage Park offers a variety of educational programs for visitors of all ages, as well as schools and other groups, including field trips, workshops, and outreach programs.

These programs are designed to enhance visitors’ understanding of the history and culture of Delaware, and they cover a wide range of topics, including colonial life, the state’s role in the American Revolution, and the evolution of Delaware’s government.

Some of them involve hands-on activities and demonstrations which are well received as being a lot of fun.

Picnicking at First State Heritage Park

One of the nicest things to do at First State Heritage Park is enjoy a picnic.

Throughout it, there are several areas where you can enjoy an al fresco meal. Probably the most popular spot is Dover Green, which is a large open space located in the heart of the park.

This green features plenty of shade trees and benches, making it an ideal spot for a picnic lunch or snack.

Visitors are also welcome to bring blankets and set up a picnic on the lawn. Additionally, several nearby restaurants and cafes offer takeout options, making it easy to grab a meal to enjoy in the park.

Pets

Pets are generally not allowed in the buildings or on the grounds of First State Heritage Park, with the exception of service animals.

However, there are nearby parks and trails that are pet-friendly, including the Dover Green and the Capital City Trail, which is a paved multi-use trail that runs through the city.

For further clarification about its pet policy, it is worth contacting the park’s main office.

Camping

There are no camping accommodations within the park. However, there are several campgrounds located near it which offer a variety of options for visitors who wish to stay overnight in the area.

One of the leading options is Killens Pond State Park. This is located about 20 miles from the park and offers a range of camping sites, including tent and RV sites, as well as cabins and yurts. The park also features a swimming beach, hiking trails, and a nature center.

Another nearby campground is Dover KOA, which is just a few miles from First State Heritage Park. It also offers a mix of tent and RV sites, cabins and cottages. Amenities within it include a swimming pool, a mini-golf course, and a playground.

For those who prefer a more rustic camping experience, Tuckahoe State Park is a good choice. You will find it in Maryland, about 30 miles from First State Heritage Park and it offers primitive tent sites.

Park Location

First State Heritage Park
43 The Green
Dover, DE 19901
Phone: 302.739.9194

Park Website

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at First State Heritage Park: