Virginia is full of weird and wacky facts and places that make a fun and memorable experiences for the whole family. Read on to find your next weird and wacky adventure.
Dinosaur Land — White Post
Virginia's Dinosaur Land is home to about 37 fiberglass prehistoric creatures ranging in height from 3- to 30-feet tall and as long as 90 feet.
The man who built Dinosaur Land in the 1960s was Joseph Geraci, which sounds like the movie, Jurassic Park.
Luray Caverns — Luray
Luray Caverns is home to the World's Largest Musical Instrument, a stalacpipe organ that plays Oh, Shenandoah. Mr. Leland Sprinkle explored the vast chambers in the caverns searching for the perfect music tones on the stalactites in 1954. He then wired the stalactites with rubber-tipped mallets and connected the individual wires to an organ. Something very special awaits visitors when they hear the cavernous tune.
Mr. Sprinkle's name probably influenced his choice of hobbies, as driplets of moisture actually cause the formation of the stalactites themselves!
Note to photographers: Be sure to put an upright person in your pictures so you can tell afterwards whether you shot stalactites or stalagmites.
American Celebration on Parade — Shenandoah
Where in the world can tourists go to see retired parade floats and big slices of bacon all in the same location?
Impossible, you say? Well, not so in Virginia! Go to Shenandoah Caverns after breakfast and by lunchtime get your picture taken on a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade float at American Celebration on Parade!
General Stonewall Jackson's Arm — Fredericksburg
The final resting place of General Stonewall Jackson's amputated arm is in The Lacy Family cemetery, now part of the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. Visitors who wish to visit the arm grave must first check in at the Chancellorsville Battlefield visitor's center.
Civil War buffs can tell you all the why-fors surrounding the decision to bury his arm separate from his body . . .
Flying Circus Airshows — Bealeton
See the Flying Circus Airshows in Fauquier County every Sunday from May - October. Just like the old Barnstormer shows, you'll thrill to the whirling daredevil stunt pilots, crazy wing-walkers like in the 1920s and skydivers and hot-air balloons falling out of the sky! You can even pay to ride in a biplane after the show.
Science Museum of Virginia — Richmond
Ever hear of a kugel? Us, neither! But we've got a kugel in Virginia! Just head on over to the Science Museum of Virginia to see it up close. Touch it, make it move, kiss it like the Blarney Stone. You won't believe it! While you're there, see some other weird things inside!
The Walton Family — Nelson County
Visit the set of The Waltons on Walton's Mountain in the childhood town where the author of the series, Earl Hamner Jr., grew up. See where John Boy escaped from the rest of the family and wrote all his stories. Notice there's no TV in his room or video games; no posters, even.
See the parlor and the kitchen where everyone congregated — Mary Ellen, Jim-Bob and the rest of the kids alongside Grandma and Grandma and Grandpa Walton, Olivia & John.
Visit Ike Godsey's General Store, too. Sniff... it will bring back memories of when you watched the show on TV and ate lunch from your Walton's lunchbox and played with your Walton's paperdolls. (If you still have those items they are now worth a small fortune!)
Morefield Gem Mine — Amelia
Find those gems and take home a 5-gallon bucket full of them for just the price of admission to the Morefield Gem Mine! The turquoise-colored amazonite is plentiful here. Other gems include garnet, topaz, feldspar, pyrite, quartz and a huge mound of polished marble, like stepping stones for your garden. Closed from mid-July to late September.
Smithfield Ham — Smithfield
Guinness World Records officially named Smithfield's 250th Anniversary Ham Biscuit as the World's Largest!
See the interactive-screen exhibit of this 2,200-pound delight at the Isle of Wight Museum, where you can also see the World's Oldest Smithfield Ham — 105 years old — protected in a glass case in one of the museum's ham galleries. Be sure to ask which ham gallery.
Peanut, Pork, and Pine Festival — Surry
In July, Chippokes Plantation State Park is the site for this popular festival named after three of Virginia's primary "P" products — the Pork, Peanut & Pine Festival. Lofty Loblolly Pines surround the park, and a barnyard of exhibits honor industries related to pork, peanuts and pine.
Visitors can buy pork chops, pork rolls, pork rinds, cracklings, ham, sausage and barbecue pork along with salted peanuts, peanut candy and peanut pie for dessert. Other attractions include more than 200 arts and crafts booths and entertainment by country, bluegrass and gospel groups. You'll get a kick out of this panegyric event!
First Peanut Museum in the U.S. — Sussex
See a peanut-sized museum devoted to the Virginia peanut at The First Peanut Museum. See peanut artifacts, such as peanut critters, antique peanut tools and peanutty displays of local products for sale down the road at peanut shops. Waverly is where the very first commercial peanut crop was grown in 1842. Did you know that the peanut is not really a nut? It's a legume, like a pea!
Mount Trashmore — Virginia Beach
Mount Trashmore Park evolved from a landfill. Three flagpoles serve as vents for methane gas... but it's really quite pretty and a nice place for a picnic.
Pony Swim — Chincoteague Island
Ever hear of saltwater cowboys? Instead of rounding up herds on the western plains, Virginia's cowboys round up about 150 wild ponies from Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and swim them across a 100-yard channel at the Annual Pony Swim & Auction. This incredible feat is something that you don't want to miss.
The ponies are the cutest little critters and appear somewhat chubby due to their diet of wild marsh grasses and lots of water. The first foal to reach the shore is named King or Queen Neptune.
Big Stone Gap Movie — Big Stone Gap
Big Stone Gap is a city in Virginia as well as the title of a book by Adriana Trigiani. The book is about fictional pharmacist Ave Maria Mulligan, who worked at the Mutual Pharmacy and served as a director in the Trail of the Lonesome Pine outdoor theatre. It was produced as a major motion picture filmed in Big Stone Gap!
See other landmarks mentioned in this best-selling book when you visit the town. Folks in Big Stone Gap love talking about "Adrie" — who actually grew up in Big Stone Gap in the '70s — and the bizarre characters in the book based on real live townsfolk!
Floyd Country Store — Floyd
Remember reading about the old-time general store, where folks stopped by to play checkers, catch up on the local gossip and get a cold coke from the cooler? Well, the Floyd Country Store was that place you read about and is now home to the Friday Night Jamboree with mountain music and dancing.
Folks in Floyd invite y'all to sit a spell. If you can't get inside, just meander down the street a bit and listen to one of the many groups playing outside. The Washington Post described Floyd as "somewhere along the way to the 4-H Fair, Floyd took a left turn into the Age of Aquarius." Also, "It's a place where there's a united interest in preserving Floyd's unique and quirky character"!
Blacksnake Meadery — Floyd
Mead was man's first fermented drink, popular in the Old Country where your ancestors lived. The Blacksnake Meadery specializes in making this wine out of honey instead of grapes. The Did you know that barrels-full of mead makers are spouting up around the country? Mead has about 10-12 percent alcohol, compared to wine's 8-10 percent and beer's 4-8 percent . . . could be the reason.
State Street — Bristol
Depending upon what side of the street you're standing on, you could be in Bristol, Tennessee or Bristol, Virginia. The town is run by two separate governments! Bristol is the place where country music was born, and both southern states can take credit.
While you're there, and have fun sleeping in one state, eating in another, going back to the first state, and then picking up souvenirs from both! And who says you don't know how to party?
Goat Walk at Westmoreland Berry Farm — Westmoreland
Last but not least of weird and wacky wonders is the Goat Walk at Westmoreland Berry Farm. Seeing is believing! These aren't mountain goats like seen in the alps, but just typical farm goats that climb up 20 feet off the ground just to get a Cheeto.
This list of Wacky Wonders hopes to grow with the passage of time, so if you don't see your favorite Virginia oddity on the list, contact us. (Please, tourist attractions only.)
Last Updated: 2/3/2020