Care to touch a horseshoe crab?
The Virginia Living Museum in Newport News is one of our kids' favorites for "touchy-feely" fun.
After a serious upgrade and facelift several years ago, this museum/zoo/planetarium has become one of our frequent stops in the Virginia Beach area.
The museum showcases the habitats, wildlife and plant species you'd see during outdoor adventures in Virginia.
Want to see what bees do with pollen when they enter the beehive? It's here.
Want to traipse through a mini replica of an underground mine? This is the spot.
Want to see how flounder change their colors to blend in with their surroundings? Look no further.
Our kids' top spots at the museum are these:
Personally, I always like to see the snakes (don't know why, but I find them fascinating...not that I'd ever have one for a pet). The museum has a selection of the slithery fiends you'd find in Virginia...in fact, all the animals at the museum are ones you'd find in the state ("Virginia Living Museum...get it?).
The Virginia Living Museum also has great visiting exhibits (our kids loved their "Scoop on Poop" visiting exhibit, especially the game where you make dung beetles race each other as they push their spherical dung balls up the hill).
May 26-Sept. 3, see "Dinosaurs", featuring a robotic T-rex, Apatasauruses, Pteranodons, and one of only 50 albino alligators in the world. It's free with admission!
When you've had enough of the inside stuff, there's an outside boardwalk/nature trail, featuring an aviary, foxes, eagles, skunks, etc...perfect for a stroll on a nice day.
There's also a planetarium, but since we've never visited it (there's always been so much else to do!)-- we can't comment on it.
The Virginia Living Museum is open daily 9 am to 5 pm, Labor Day to Memorial Day. (From Memorial Day to Labor Day the hours are the same, except that Sunday hours change to Noon to 5 pm. It's closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.
Admission to the Virginia Living Museum is $17.00 for adults and $13 for children age 3-12. Museum and planetarium tickets are $21 and $17.
Members are free, and since the museum participates in the ASTC Science Museum Program, membership gets you into other participating museums for FREE (Click here to find out how you can visit museums for "free").
Try as I may, I couldn't seem to find an ongoing military discount. But, here's a link to many local attractions, resorts and hotels which DO offer military discounts, including Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Great Wolf Lodge.
Virginia Living Museum address: 524 J. Clyde Morris Blvd, Newport News.
Virginia Living Museum phone number: 757-595-1900
Virginia Living Museum website: www.thevlm.org
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Virginia Aquarium (located near the Virginia Beach downtown area) has over 300 hands-on exhibits and 700,000 gallons of tanks featuring sharks, huge sea turtles, and exotic fish and creatures, such as a rare albino alligator.
My kids love Virginia Zoo because of its natural habitats and its petting zoo. One of our favorite outings is to go there in the morning, then hop on over to nearby Rowenas Tea Room for their special Children's Tea.