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Brave the 17th century like early colonists in Virginia Living Museum exhibit, ‘survival’ maze

Posted at 6:20 PM, Dec 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-31 18:21:47-05

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Will you survive?

The “American Adventure” exhibit will be open at the Virginia Living Museum from Saturday, January 19-Sunday, April 21, 2019, challenging visitors to “Brave the Maze” and journey through the experiences of the early colonists.

In 1607, settlers created the first permanent European settlement after landing on the shores of Virginia and calling it home. However, less than half of them would survive in the New World.

Minotaur Mazes’ “American Adventure” takes guests on an immersive, educational role-play adventure that asks them to survive the year as one of the original Jamestown colonists. Visitors will choose a unique identity of one of the colonists and track a series of life choices on an easy-to-use abacus representing “life points” for health, wealth, food and morale. You have to maintain all of them in order to “survive” the exhibit.

Related: ‘Ambassador Pass’ gives Newport News residents free one-time admission to 7 attractions

Guests will also encounter four content-rich “Season Galleries” and engage in hands-on activities that will result in choices relevant to their character. Survival is based not only on visitor knowledge and ingenuity, but also the abilities and priorities of chosen identity.

The “American Adventure” experience quickly reveals the reality of what Jamestown’s settlers faced in addition to how everyday decisions and interactions with the environment can be a matter of life and death.

“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,” Senior Director of Exhibits Fred Farris said.

Originally co-developed by the Museum and Minotaur Mazes as “Survivor: Jamestown,” “American Adventure” is a 2,000-square-foot interactive maze that provides a kinesthetic learning experience about surviving and thriving in the natural world of the 17th century Chesapeake Bay region. Guests will also learn how this part of Virginia has changed throughout the years and how it established the framework of living in 1619 and beyond.

The production has been adapted for a national audience and a broader early colonist viewpoint. It won the Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH), as well as the Leading Edge Award for Visitor Experience from the Association of Science and Technology Centers.

The hands-on exhibit also includes an indoor rock wall and a zipline.

Visitors will also get the opportunity to meet live animals that were new to the early colonists and discover how to tell if they were poisonous, venomous or edible with “Jamestown Animal Mystery” programs every Saturday at 12 p.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.

With “Skies of Jamestown,” guests will also explore the vital role astronomy played in the journey to survival in the New World at 1:30 p.m. in the Abbitt Planetarium. Dates may vary.

“American Adventure” will be included in Museum admission, which is $20 for adults and $15 for children ages 3-12. All daytime planetarium showings are free for Museum members and $4 plus Museum admission for non-members.

The Virginia Living Museum is located at 524 J. Clyde Morris Boulevard in Newport News.

Click here or call (757) 595-1900 for more information.