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A living-historian portrays a Civil War soldier cooking over an open fire in a re-created military encampment area at the Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier in Dinwiddie County. (Contributed Photo)

FORT LEE, Va. -- Labeled as one of Virginia’s “best places to visit” by the nationally televised Travel Channel, Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier in Dinwiddie County is a nearby off-duty destination that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Sprawled across 424 acres, this national historic landmark features four high-tech museums and special exhibits, three antebellum (pre-Civil War) homes and fortifications, the Breakthrough Battlefield of April 2, 1865, a year-round Civil War Adventure Camp, living history demonstrations and more.

Pamplin has earned accolades for its unparalleled hands-on and living-history experiences that take visitors back in time. During the summer and fall, guests can find historians in Civil War-era costumes at the military encampments or fortifications demonstrating the “necessary life skills” of firing a weapon, taking care of one’s equipment and clothing, and more.

The park also hosts a military encampment where children can try on uniforms and dresses and learn to play drums. These real-life experiences appeal to people of all ages.

Opened in 1994, the high-tech historical park includes a three-quarter mile stretch of well-preserved Civil War earthworks constructed by Confederate troops of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia.

The Museum of the Civil War Soldier – a $13-million, 25,000-square-foot facility – features a remembrance wall and an elaborate, seven-gallery exhibit that brings visitors face-to-face with the nearly three million Americans who became soldiers during the Civil War.

Pamplin tours include a choice of two hand-held digital devices. One is intended for children and school groups. Another is for daily visitors and features a 5-inch color display allowing users to view images and videos in addition to artifacts and displays. Both devices present the museum’s audio programming at over 80 indoor and outdoor stations, as well as along some of the trails of the park.

Parents should check out special programs for youths including a unique overnight Civil War Adventure Camp. Also, one of the audio tours is geared toward the fifth-grade level. The park offers a special activity for ages 3-12 and provides field trips for schools.

Visitors to Pamplin at 6125 Boydton Plank Road should allow at least four hours to see all the offerings. It is open daily, through November, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Through Labor Day, take advantage of the park’s $1 Days of Summer Admission. This does not apply for groups. For more information, call 804-861-2408 or visit www.pamplinpark.org.