35 Cool Places for Kids
Kids 'R' Crazy for Theme Parks!
1. Paramount's Kings Dominion in Doswell is rated tops by toddlers and teens and by 'tweeners, too! This popular theme
park features 12 roller coasters as well as kiddie rides and WaterWorks with wild slides, kiddie bubblers and a lazy tube
river. Nickelodeon™ characters and Scooby Doo welcome visitors, and Sponge Bob stars in his own 3D movie!
Water Country USA in Williamsburg
2. Busch Gardens Williamsburg in Williamsburg is not only popular with kids but is rated the World's
Most Beautiful Theme Park. Its 50 thrilling rides, set in various European hamlets, include plenty of
roller coasters, too! Special animal attractions, such as Jack Hanna's Wild Reserve, make this theme
park one of Virginia's greatest attractions, especially for families.
3. Water Country USA in Williamsburg is the mid-Atlantic's largest water park all set to a '50s and '60s surfing theme!
There's the easygoin' Hubba Hubba Highway and wild Big Daddy Falls with plenty of flumes and tunnels in between.
Other popular activities include the obstacle course Adventure Isle and special wet/wild entertainment!
4. Splashdown Water Park in Manassas features five different water areas with two fast cannonball slides and two 70-
foot waterslides as well as a beach area, lap pool and lazy river. This fun family place is billed as "like being at the beach
without the drive."
Children's Museums Rock!
Children's Museum of Richmond
5. Children's Museum of Richmond is for toddlers-12 and was voted 11th Best Children's Museum in
America by Child magazine! See the new Waterplay exhibit as well as explore a cave, climb to an
eagle's nest and tinker in an inventor's lab. New events this year include Harry Potter and American
Girls sleepover programs!
6. Virginia Discovery Museum in Charlottesville offers plenty of hands-on experience for children ages
1-13. One of the most popular permanent exhibits is See the Bees alive in their hive! A new exhibit is a hands-on The
Earth in Motion that explains the solar system and how it affects weather. Cool!
Paramount's Kings Dominion
7. Amazement Square, The Rightmire Children's Museum in Lynchburg has the tallest indoor
climbing tower in the nation with all sorts of pathways, tunnels and a glass elevator. Kids love the
gallery devoted to Your Amazing Body where they can walk through a human heart. New this year is
The Amazing Adventures of Lewis & Clark, perfect for the national bicentennial celebration!
Children's Museum of Virginia in Portsmouth
8. Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum in Winchester has interactive exhibits in natural history,
machinery and art as well as A Stop Along the Moccasin Trail. The Emergency Room in Our Town is
great for future medical professionals. The motto here is "to touch is to explore, to explore is to
discover, and to discover is to learn!"
9. Children's Museum of Virginia in Portsmouth is the largest children's museum in the
commonwealth. The most popular exhibit here is the antique toy and model train collection, one of the largest on the East
"Mad" for Science Museums!
Experiment at the Science Museum of Virginia
10. Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond has everything imaginable for inquisitive kids -- from
bugs to space and what's inside human bodies -- to explore! The IMAX DOME & Planetarium is the
biggest in Virginia and puts the audience in the middle of all the action! This year, see live footage
from MARS from the Rovers named Spirit and Opportunity!
11. Danville Science Center features special programs for children that encourage science
exploration. See the Butterfly Station, and look for cocoons, mix nectar and map a Monarch's
migration. The awesome Outdoor Sound exhibit is another popular attraction!
12. Science Museum of Western Virginia in Roanoke features a 45-station Science Arcade, all hands-on fun! Children
also love the Illusions Gallery, where things aren't all as they appear. The Hopkins Planetarium and MegaDome Theater
are part of the total package of this kid-friendly fun place.
Dinosaur Land is full of life-size creatures!
13. Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville presents exhibits that fascinate kids, such as
the Age of Dinosaurs and Lions, Tigers & Bears, Oh, Deer! Special events include Saturday programs
for kids and field trips throughout the year.
14. The Luray Reptile Center Dinosaur Park in Luray displays the largest collection of cold-blooded reptiles in Virginia as
well as other wild and wooly creatures. See the life-size dinosaur replicas, too!
15. Dinosaur Land in White Post has been a popular roadside attraction for more than 30 years with more than 34
dinosaurs featured in a replica of a prehistoric forest! Bring your cameras!
Let's Go to Zoos, Marine and Nature Centers!
Children love to get up close and touch animals, crabs, reptiles and sharks!
16. Maymont Nature and Visitor Center in Richmond features a 20-foot waterfall and 13 giant
aquariums. Children especially enjoy the funny antics of the river otters! The native wildlife exhibits,
Children's Farm and carriage collection are popular, too!
17. Mill Mountain Zoo in Roanoke features more than 55 species of mammals, birds and reptiles, including a Siberian
Tiger, Snow Leopards and Red Pandas. On top of Mill Mountain, the zoo overlooks the spectacular Roanoke Valley. Ride
the Zoo-Choo train, too!
18. Virginia Safari Park in Natural Bridge is Virginia's only drive-thru zoo -- just like being on a real African safari! See
hundreds of animals roaming free! Children can feed, touch and observe camels, zebras, elk, llamas, bison, ostrich, deer
and antelope as well as giraffes! Domestic animals can be petted at the Petting Zoo, too.
Nauticus has plenty of touch-tank experiences.
19. Nauticus, The National Maritime Center in Norfolk features more than 150 interactive exhibits,
giant screen films, exotic aquaria, touch pools and shark petting experiences! Berthed next door is the
USS Wisconsin, which is one of the last and largest battleships built by the U.S. Navy and is also
open for tours!
20. Virginia Living Museum in Newport News is the place to go if you're wild about wildlife. See the combination native
wildlife park, science museum, aquarium, botanical preserve and planetarium! This place has it all! Plan to spend the
21. Virginia Marine Science Museum in Virginia Beach features the largest collection of Chesapeake Bay fish in the
world! Children can touch gentle stingrays, horseshoe crabs and other creatures of the sea. The museum has several
interactive exhibits and activities, such as build-your-own hurricane and tong for oysters! Throughout the year, various
seagoing cruises engage children, such as Whale Watching, Dolphin Watching and Ocean Collections boat trips. Children
love the adventure, and so do teens.
22. Morgan-McClure Motorsports Museum in Abingdon is a must for racecar fans! See the actural
cars that won Daytona 500 in the '90s and see uniforms, pit equipment and wrecks from other famous
races! A must for NASCAR fans of all ages!
23. The Toy Museum at Natural Bridge is the largest collection of childhood memorabilia on display in
the world! Kids will get a kick out of the toys their folks and grandfolks played with, featuring years
24. Natural Bridge Wax Museum in Natural Bridge features more than 150 figures, sound, light and animation!
Virginia Museum of Transportation
25. Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke is a great place to see trains -- models, electric,
diesel and steam! Also, see autos, trucks, carriages and the African-American transportation exhibit.
Plenty of hands-on exhibits make this museum extremely kid-friendly! So chug on down and spend
26. American Celebration on Parade at Shenandoah Caverns is full of delightful parade floats from
America's popular parades as well as props and settings from important events in entertainment and
political history! Kid's love the character floats, such as Rug Rats and Cinderella in her carriage! Most of these massive
floats are animated, too. The floats on display change often, so if you haven’t been in a while, you'll be sure to see
27. The Mariners' Museum in Newport News features more than 500 years of seafaring adventure!
Kids love the cool figureheads and miniature ship models. They also can watch the conservation of
real artifacts from the Civil War's ironclad USS Monitor, brought to the surface from its watery grave in
the Atlantic Ocean.
Virginia Air & Space Center in Hampton
28. Virginia Air & Space Center in Hampton features the new Adventures in Flight Gallery! Children can experience flight
controls and wing walking, ride in a World War II bomber and become an air traffic controller. This is such a cool place,
plan to spend the entire day!
29. Virginia Aviation Museum in Sandston has a cool supersonic spy plane, the SR-71 Blackbird! Children can get up
close to replicas of three Wright Brothers' gliders, see Richmond's own Admiral Richard E. Byrd's plane that flew over
Antarctica, as well as look at World War II dioramas, antique automobiles and other aviation exhibits.
How Did People Live in the Old Days?
Frontier Culture Museum has four farms to see.
30. Monacan Indian Village in Natural Bridge depicts Native American woodland culture with real
Native Americans explaining their way of life and demonstrating how they lived 300 years ago.
31. Claude Moore Colonial Farm in McLean features a small tenant farm family, their one-room farm
house, animals and crops of the 18th century. Children are encouraged to try their hand at many of
the farm chores, such as feeding the animals, repairing fences and churning butter!
32. Jamestown Settlement in Williamsburg is the story of America's first permanent English colony. Children love seeing
the replicas of the three ships that sailed from England to Virginia in 1607. Other highlights include the colonists' fort and a
Powhatan village. Guess what? Jamestown was founded almost 400 years ago, and plans are underway for a GIGANTIC
400th Birthday Party in 2007!
Civil War Weekend at Pamplin Historical Park features re-enactors who make history come alive for kids!
33. Pamplin Historical Park & The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier in Petersburg is one of
the nation's finest Civil War attractions. The 422-acre park has museums, a plantation home, living
history demonstrations, battle reenactments and camp setups. Kids love being right in the middle of a Civil War campsite
and talking to the soldiers.
34. Historic Crab Orchard Museum & Pioneer Park in Tazewell features Southwest Virginia from prehistoric times to the
present. Kids can take a guided tour through the park's log buildings and learn how people lived during the pioneer days
of the region. Sometimes, bluegrass bands perform on the porches, and folks picnic on the grounds.
35. Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton features life on four different farms -- German, Scots-Irish, English and
American. Kids love watching the farm animals and the farmers doing their chores. Special reenactments take place
depending upon the season, such as how various holidays were celebrated and how the farmers prepared for the winter,
sowing and reaping seasons.
For hundreds of other kid-friendly things to do in Virginia, click on the following: Family Fun Events; Outdoors & Sports;
and the Family & Kids page!