Charles Towne Landing preserves the original site of the first permanent English settlement in Carolina. Originally opened in 1970 to commemorate South Carolina's tricentennial, this 664-acre (269 ha) site is home to an exhibit hall, rental facility, a natural habitat zoo, ongoing archeological excavations, miles of trails, dozens of picnic tables, a replica tall ship, six fireable replica cannon, and much more.
The Adventure is a replica of a ketch, a popular style of 17th-century cargo vessel. Similar ships carried commercial goods, foodstuffs, and even livestock between New York, Barbados, and everywhere in between. Renowned 20th century naval architect and historian William Avery Baker designed The Adventure in 1969. The first Adventure served Charles Towne Landing from 1970 until 2004. The Adventure II was constructed in 2008 by Rockport Marine in Maine and sailed to Charles Towne Landing in October, 2008.
The Fortified Area of the site is bounded by a reconstructed palisade wall. Colonists constructed the original palisade wall to defend the young colony from a land-side attack from the Spanish, or their native allies. The Fortified Area also contains reconstructed earthwork fortifications and six replica cannon. The colonists mounted a battery of cannon facing the Ashley River, and a second battery defended Towne Creek (present day Old Towne Creek). Both the palisade wall and earthwork fortifications are both partially reconstructed on their archeological footprint.
The Animal Forest, a natural habitat zoo, is home to species indigenous to Carolina in the 1670s. Some of these animals, such as puma and bison, are no longer native to the South Carolina Low Country. Animals at the zoo include:
Archeology is key to uncovering Charles Towne's history. Archeological finds include Native American, English, and enslaved African artifacts. Professional archeology at the site began in 1967, and continues through the present day.