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Fort Delaware State Park, located on Pea Patch Island, in Delaware City (tel. 302/834-7941; www.destateparks.com), is about 16 miles south of Wilmington, in the Delaware River. Take Route 13 or I-95 south from Wilmington to Route 9 (turn left), which will take you to Delaware City. A 5-minute ferry ride will take you to the park, which surrounds a five-sided granite fortress where prisoners of war were held during the Civil War. Serious business went on here but it doesn't stop a costumed reenactor from using a little humor as he greets visitors just before they enter through the sally port and explains the fort's role in 1864. Presentations throughout the day include guided tours and musketry and blacksmithing demonstrations. Not to be missed are the armory, the re-created laundry, kitchen, and offices, and the view of the Delaware River from the battlements. Nature lovers should save time to walk the trails beyond the fort and visit the observation tower to see the nesting birds and other wildlife. The ferry departs from Battery Park in Delaware City about every hour. Once on the island, a trolley will take you from the dock to the fort.

The ferry fare, which includes admission to the park, is $11 for adults, $10 for those 62 and over and $6 for children 12 and under. The site is open on weekends April through October, plus Wednesday through Friday from mid-June to Labor Day; call for exact hours, the ferry schedule, and the schedule of events. Reenactments and living-history demonstrations are held throughout the summer. The witty guided tours by Confederate and Union reenactors and the very loud musket, artillery, and cannon demonstrations are great for both children and adults. Ghost tours and paranormal investigations have added a spooky dimension for autumn visiting.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.