If you ever get a chance to visit Gettysburg Pennsylvania, you must follow this advice:
Drive straight to the Visitors Center.
At the Visitors Center there are four main attractions, for lack of better word, to see and can be purchased in a bundle package, which I highly recommend.
The first attraction is a History Channel film on Gettysburg narrated by Morgan Freeman. I know what you're thinking.
"You just drove all the way to Gettysburg to watch a movie on Gettysburg??"
Its all part of the experience. It gives you the history and background on the famous battle fought there shown on one of the largest screens I have ever seen to prepare you for what comes next.
After the film you are lead upstairs to see the Gettysburg Cyclorama.
Whats a Cyclorama?
A cyclorama is a panoramic painting on the inside of a cylindrical platform, designed to provide a viewer standing in the middle of the cylinder with a 360° view of the painting. The intended effect is to make a viewer, surrounded by the panoramic image, feel as if they were standing in the midst of a historic event or famous place.
The original painting was 42 feet high and 365 feet in circumference.
As you look at the pictures below see if you can distinguish between whats the recreated scenery in the foreground and where the painting starts. I've never seen a cyclorama painting before but I can assure you if I'm ever anywhere that has a cyclorama in the area, I will pay to go see it, no matter what it is.
They are amazing.
Due to not being allowed to use flash photography, I didn't get too many good pictures. So its possible you're thinking:
"Well that was a pretty picture but you just paid how much to see that?"
Let me introduce you to the (illegal) video I took to give you a small portion of the experience of seeing this painting.
Impressive isn't it? Even more so in person.
After watching the film and viewing the cyclorama, you can stay in the visitors center to go through the Civil War Museum. We didn't have time for that so I cannot say whether its worth it or not. OR you can grab a bus tour of the battlefields. And after everything you've just learned, its all put into perspective.