Family Fun in Coastal Virginia - Hampton Roads

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    Virginia's Historic Triangle - Jamestown, Yorktown and Williamsburg - and Virginia Beach have long been popular vacation spots for families. Explore these and more family-friendly offerings in the region.

    Jamestown Settlement Ships 

    Jamestown

    A "must see" is Historic Jamestowne, the first permanent English settlement in the New World, which celebrated its 400th anniversary in 2007.

    Nearby Jamestown Settlement is a re-creation of the fort as it looked in the early 1600s. Climb aboard replicas of the tall ships. Children can take part in chores at the Powhatan Indian Village, too.

    Yorktown Victory Center showcases the drama of the American Revolution with a Continental Army encampment, a 1780s farm and a Children's Kaleidoscope Discovery Room.

     

    Yorktown

    In the city of Yorktown, the Watermen's Museum tells the story of "Wooden Boats and Iron Men" with models, tools and artifacts of the folk who harvest the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

     

    Kids get hands-on in Williamsburg.

    Colonial Williamsburg

    North of Jamestown is Colonial Williamsburg, the nation's largest living history museum where everyone in town dresses in period clothing. It's one of the most popular destinations in the United States.

     

    City of Williamsburg

    Right down the road is Busch Gardens, voted "America's Most Beautiful Theme Park," and Water Country USA, the mid-Atlantic's largest water play park.

    Why not see something unusual? Check out Ripley's Believe it or Not! Museum and 4D Theater to catch a peep of the Berlin Wall, a two-headed cow, and a genuine shrunken head, among many other oddities.

     

    Virginia Living Museum - Earth Day!

    Newport News

    From Williamsburg, travel south to Newport News to see the Virginia Living Museum. This indoor/outdoor attraction is a spectacular combination of native wildlife park, science museum, aquarium, botanical preserve and planetarium.

    Check out the new exhibits at the Mariners' Museum in Newport News. See the tattoo man along with the museum's unrivaled collection of figureheads, antique navigational instruments and the famous Crabtree Collection of miniature ships. The ironclad USS Monitor is there, too!

    Before you leave Newport News, see the Victory Arch, built in 1919, for returning troops from World War I.

     

    Hampton

    From Newport News, travel east to Hampton and the exciting Virginia Air & Space Center with hands-on exhibits and an IMAX Theater.

    Across the street from the Virginia Air & Space Center is the The Hampton Carousel, one of only 70 working wooden carousels in the nation.

     

    See Nauticus, the Hampton Roads Naval Museum and the USS Wisconsin all in one shot!

    Norfolk

    See Nauticus, a maritime science museum with more than 150 exhibits including interactives, exotic aquaria, touch pools and even a shark petting station.

    Nextdoor is the Hampton Roads Naval Museum. Official tours of the USS Wisconsin, berthed at Nauticus, are led by Naval staff. Also see the Tugboat Museum.

    Located on the downtown waterfront is Town Point Park, the site of many events throughout the year, most of them free and family-friendly.

    Before you leave Norfolk, visit Virginia Zoological Park, home to about 300 animals, reptiles and birds.

     

    JT's Grommet Island Park

    Virginia Beach

    There are so many family activities at Virginia Beach in addition to 28 miles of oceanfront and the famous boardwalk. There's something big (and free) is going on every weekend throughout the spring and summer.

    From June to October, Bottlenose dolphins choose Virginia Beach as a prime destination. Go to the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Museum to book a two-hour boat trip and see them up close.

    Pontoon boat trips in the salt marsh are popular, too. The museum itself delights children with sharks, whales, harbor seals and sea turtles. They also can touch all sorts of creatures, too.

    At 25th Street & Oceanfront, see the Norwegian Lady Statue, a bronze replica of the original figurehead that washed ashore in 1891.

    Future Top Guns will enjoy watching the Navy's most sophisticated aircraft taking off and landing at Oceana Naval Air Station, one of the Navy's four master jet bases.

    In 1607, about 100 English settlers landed at Virginia Beach before heading to Jamestown. See the First Landing Cross and Cape Henry Lighthouses at Fort Story, north of Virginia Beach proper.

    Nearby is First Landing State Park with lagoons, large cypress trees, hiking trails and guided kayak ecological tours through its marshes and bays.

    Virginia Beach Ocean Breeze Waterpark offers kids special vacation fun! For families seeking 100% handicap accessible water play and beach fun, JT's Grommet Island Park is the place to go.

     

    Portsmouth

    Traveling west from Virginia Beach to Portsmouth, enjoy a visit to the Lightship Museum. Lightships were used to guide ships through treacherous waters.

    Virginia Sports Hall of Fame NASCAR simulator

    The Naval Shipyard Museum pays tribute to the oldest shipyard in the nation. See naval memorabilia and even a piece of the CSS Virginia, also known as The Merrimac.

    Families enjoy the trails at the Hoffler Creek Wildlife Preserve, a thriving habitat for native species of plants and animals.

    The trolley is a fun way to see Olde Towne Portsmouth. Passengers may disembark at High Street Landing for easy access to Olde Towne museums, restaurants and shops.

    The Children's Museum of Portsmouth is the largest children's museum in the state. It has more than 80 interactive exhibits and a planetarium.

    For sports enthusiasts, the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame includes an interactive Game Time area for basketball, football, baseball, soccer, and even a NASCAR simulator!

     

    Surry & Waverly

    North of Portsmouth is Chippokes Plantation State Park in Surry, one of the oldest working farms in the nation. This state park has it all - camping, cabins, fishing, boating, Olympic size swimming pool - as well as a living history exhibit.

    Last but not least is the First Peanut Museum on Rt. 460 in Waverly, smack dab in the heart of peanut country!

Last Updated: 4/11/2013 2:36 PM
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