Visiting Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse is one of Victoria’s favourite family activities and, stepping through the front gates, it’s not hard to see why. With admission charges starting at only a couple of bucks, a visit here is also one of Victoria’s most economical activities. You can make your visit here last a full day, or a few hours, since walking around the site and taking in all that there is to learn here (even when you include a trip to Fisgard Lighthouse) only takes maybe an hour and a half.
Highlights of Fort Rodd Hill
- Day or annual passes availabl
- Park-like setting
- Self-guided tours
- Refreshments available during the summer
- Unique camping experience
- Special events venue
- Open from February to November
- Picnic facilities
- Access to Fisgard Lighthouse and Esquimalt Lagoon
Time spent here is not just about the learning, though, especially if you have children. Down the short path just after the front gate, you’ll see a large field with a covered picnic area and a BBQ that you are allowed to use, on the side closest to the path. At the other side, you’ll see a neat row of 5 large canvas tents. These are heated oTentik cabins, which can accommodate up to 6 people comfortably. The rental price (a modest $120) includes the use of a fire pit for cooking, furnishings, and dishes. These tents may be rented on a nightly basis, so that you can have a unique weekend getaway only minutes from town, and all you have to bring are your sleeping bags and your food.
Military History at Fort Rodd Hill
Throughout the park, you’ll find old cannons and Howitzer guns out in the open, for photo opportunities. Young children, in particular, love to climb on these and pretend to be little soldiers firing off the big guns. In the various batteries, command posts, guardhouses, barracks and searchlight emplacements, you’ll find interesting displays showing typical scenes from the days when Fort Rodd Hill was a functioning artillery fort. Many of the displays are interactive, with audio or things you can touch. On some days, there are gun firing demonstrations performed by an expert, using guns that would have been available to the soldiers when Fort Rodd Hill was operational.
For the lovers of the paranormal, rumour has it that the Fort is haunted. In the dim underground rooms, among all of the historical artifacts, it’s not hard to imagine a ghost or two from days gone by wandering through the buildings, unaware of that a century has passed.
Whether you are there to explore or spot a ghost, though, you’ll get the best bang for your buck by planning to spend a day there. Although you can be in and out of that place in less than 2 hours, why not pack and lunch and let yourself relax? With a BBQ and eating area readily available, you can pack up a picnic and bring the whole family. The field is wide open, so you can let the kids run around and play. Besides, with so many nooks and crannies to explore, the kids can have an epic game of hide and seek!