Fort Delaware State Park is now closed for the season with the exception of our October weekend-only, evening paranormal tours.We are still accepting school group field trip requests for October 2023.
We will reopen for our living history programs on Saturday, April 27, 2024.
Travel back in time with a first-person interpreter dressed in period clothing and experience what we think life was like during the Civil War. Meet park staff members dressed as soldiers, commanders, the fort blacksmith, and others who may have lived in the fort during the war.
View the island from the ramparts at the top of the Fort and watch the Columbiad cannon fire. Park staff tell the story of the gun and how it was loaded and fired. You'll feel the percussion from the firing and smell the burnt black powder during this engaging program!
The island where Fort Delaware is located is also home to the Pea Patch Island Nature Preserve. This nature preserve contains a heronry where herons, ibises, and egrets nest. Hike the Prison Camp Trail to see the heronry, and climb the Heronry Overlook to see birds in the trees across the marsh.
Plan your next family reunion, corporate outing or other special event at our new pavilion! Fully enclosed, handicap accessible and with electric available, this one-of-a-kind venue is the perfect place to make an impression. Learm more on our resetavtions page
Situated on Pea Patch Island in the middle of the Delaware River, Fort Delaware was initially constructed in the mid-1800s to protect Wilmington and Philadelphia from enemy attack. Fort Delaware served that role through WWI. The fort was among the most state-of-the-art in the nation when it was completed and housed prisoners of war during the Civil War due to its relative isolation. Within the walls of Fort Delaware, visitors can also see Battery Torbert. Along the Prison Camp Trail lies the entrance to the mine casemate that controlled the mines that were deployed in the river in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The Pea Patch Heronry is one of the largest mixed species nest colony for herons, egrets, and ibis in the eastern United States. Other nesters that can be found on the island include osprey and bald eagles. Paranormal tours are offered in the fall and living history interpretation is offered year-round.
The State of Delaware deeded Pea Patch Island, located in the Delaware River between Delaware and New Jersey, to the U.S. government in 1813, and construction of Fort Delaware was completed around 1859.
Originally built to protect the ports of Wilmington and Philadelphia, Pea Patch Island also became a Union prison camp during the Civil War, housing up to as many as 12,595 Confederate prisoners of war at one time. Manned only briefly during World Wars I and II, the island and fort were finally abandoned and declared surplus property in 1944, when ownership was transferred back to the State of Delaware. Fort Delaware became a state park in 1951.
Today, costumed interpreters take you back to the summer of 1864 -- tour the parade ground, officers' quarters, barracks, kitchen, blacksmith shop and ordnance room, hear stories of great escapes, and watch as the Fort's Columbiad cannon fires a live gunpowder charge! Engage with fort historians dressed in period clothing, and hear stories of those who lived at the fort in 1864. Fort Delaware is well-known for “ghostly” activity and has been featured on Ghost Hunters and other television shows. Paranormal tours are offered in the fall.
Pea Patch Island is a summer home to nine different species of herons, egrets, and ibis. The remote marshes provide an outstanding habitat for one of the largest wading bird nesting areas on the East Coast. A hiking trail and its observation platform provide opportunities for photography and nature study. The Prison Camp Trail traverses part of this area and features a bird observation tower along the trail.
Tuesday, December 5, 2023
Ever wonder what Fort Delaware is all about? Come find out in this special program! We will talk about how Fort Delaware was built, and why, and about its special use during the American Civil War. This program will be held via Microsoft Teams. It is free, but registration is required to get the sign-on link. Please register by emailing Jake at Jacob.firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 302-601-6382.
Tuesday, December 19, 2023
Fort Delaware is primarily known for its role as a Civil War POW facility. Find out what life was like for the prisoners at Fort Delaware, from the day they arrived until the day they left, in their own words. This program will be held via Microsoft Teams. It is free, but registration is required to get the sign-on link. Please register by emailing Jake at Jacob.email@example.com, or by calling 302-601-6382.
Tuesday, February 27, 2024
After the Civil War ended, former Confederates were left needing to make sense of a devastating defeat, and the nation as a whole needed to find a way to reconcile and heal. In order to try to explain their defeat, many Southerners came up with the idea of the 'Lost Cause'. What does that mean? This is your chance to find out! This program will be held via Microsoft Teams. It is free, but registration is required to get the sign-on link. Please register by emailing Jake at Jacob.firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 302-601-6382.