Fort Christina National Historic Landmark, 1110 E. Seventh St., on Wilmington’s historic riverfront — one of the seven sites that make up First State National Historical Park — offers visitors access to one of the cornerstones of Delaware history with an expanded schedule of activities from Memorial Day to Labor Day weekends.
As summer arrives, this landmark is staffed by guides who offer free interpretive tours to the public. Children can earn Junior Ranger badges throughout the summer, with specific events on first Saturdays in July and August. This special heritage site marks the approximate location where a group of Swedish and Finnish colonists from the ships Kalmar Nyckel and Fogel Grip landed on a natural wharf of “blue rocks” in 1638. It was here that the first Swedish settlement in America began — the first permanent European settlement in Delaware.
Located next to the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation and Copeland Maritime Center, Fort Christina will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays from May 25 through Sept. 2, excluding July 4. Site hours and activities are supported by a partnership between the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, the First State National Historical Park and the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation. Admission is free.
The Wilmington Pirate Festival returns from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 29 with pirate-themed games and activities at Fort Christina and the Kalmar Nyckel’s campus and Copeland Maritime Center. Ship tours, pirate and colonial demonstrations, live music, face painting, food and beverages are part of this free family festival. The event is open to the public with free parking. Fees are charged for some activities.
Fort Christina will host First Saturday celebrations open to the public. On July 6, Celebrate Sweden will mark the founding of the colony of New Sweden (now Delaware) and the anniversary of the site as a park. August will bring Celebrate National Park Service on Aug. 3 in recognition of the anniversary of the creation of the National Park Service.
Educational tours and activities will be posted at nps.gov/frst/planyourvisit/calendar.htm and at facebook.com/kalmarnyckel as they are announced.