New axe-throwing range opens at Colonial Williamsburg this weekend

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) — A new axe-throwing range will open Saturday at Colonial Williamsburg that allows people to revisit a pastime from the American Revolution.

So-called “belt” axes were standard issue in many units involved in the American Revolution. They were used for clearing brush, cutting wood for heat or cooking and as an unconventional battle weapon.

Contrary to fictional depictions, they were not thrown in combat. An axe thrown was an axe lost. Instead, axe-throwing was among troops’ downtime activities. It was even barred under one order to preserve Williamsburg’s trees.

Colonial Williamsburg’s axe-throwing range offers guests a presentation on the history of military axes during the period, followed by instruction on safe throwing at poplar stump targets — which is said to be more a test of skill and technique than of strength. After instruction, visitors then move to individual lanes with corresponding targets.

“Our increasing numbers of Historic Area guests enjoy engaging, hands-on experiences that enrich their visit and support Colonial Williamsburg’s core educational mission,” said Colonial Williamsburg President and CEO Mitchell Reiss. “Like our popular kids’ archaeological dig, educational Musket Range and other new offerings, the Axe-throwing Range offers guests a chance to experience the 18th century like the people who created our nation.

The axe-throwing range is located in the Historic Area at the intersection of Nicholson and Boutetourt streets. Programs begin on the hour and half-hour daily between 10 a.m. and noon, and then from 1 to 3 p.m. A special ticket is required: $10 and $9 for members of the military. Participation is limited to guests ages 12 and older. Guests younger than 17 must be accompanied by an adult age 18 or older.

“Kids – and kids of all ages – don’t try this at home, try it at Colonial Williamsburg,” Reiss offered jokingly.

Tickets and additional information are available at Colonial Williamsburg ticketing locations, online at or by calling 855-296-6627.