This museum has a mix of everything: marine life, wildlife, plants and a planetarium. It's a golden opportunity to see ... More
Virginia Living Museum
This museum has a mix of everything: marine life, wildlife, plants and a planetarium. It's a golden opportunity to see wolves, sea turtles, sharks, coyotes, pelicans and the solar system in one dizzying day.The operators are pioneers in their field; when it opened in 1987, it was the only living museum East of the Mississippi River. Its focus on public education makes it a popular destination for families. Group rates and member discounts are available. Opening hours change seasonally; check the website for details.
My one year old, four year old and I spent four hours at the living museum and absolutely loved it. We could have sped through in theory and "seen it all" in an hour but I wanted to allow the kids to enjoy it and take it all in, unhurried. The nature trail with the native animals was wonderful, all stroller accessible, beautiful forest with lots of shade. We saw wolves, coyote, a bobcat, deer, fox, turkey, opposom, raccoon, bald eagles, and vultures (off the top of my head); all were easy to observe. The habitats were beautiful and spacious in wooded areas with little manmade streams and ponds. There is a small aviary. The indoor exhibits include a mountain area and a wetlands area, basically the west and eastern regions of virginia. Each had lots of interesting information and of course flora and fauna indigenous to the areas. We got to touch a horsehoe crab in the hand-on tank. We also got to pet a screech owl in another learning lab. My children loved pulling out the different animal furs to tough and picking up each type of rock and fossil found here. We enjoyed the beautiful aquariums and the snakes, amphibians, and small mammals. The facility is spotlessly clean and modern, well-maintained and the staff was all so friendly and helpful. Overall we had a wonderful and memorable day and my four-year old chatted all the way home about the animals and the dinosaur.
I enjoyed this place, but it is small. I paid 14.00 dollars to get in and I was shocked to see how small it was. I saw the entire place in under an hour. It needs more exhibits, maybe a movie or two. Probably a good place to take toddlers...enough for them. Cafe was fairly priced but the gift shop was small too. I will only go back when my grandson comes to visit me. I thought the 14.00 was steep for what I saw. I just thought the 14.00 was a donation for the animals. There is an outside area that was basically swampy water with a few animals to see if you want to take a long walk.
Visiting the area and not sure what all there is to do here. It rained cats & dogs and we needed an indoor activity. The exhibits we saw were well done, but there weren't many. We saw everything on both levels in an hour, and we were taking our time. Would have like to see more hands-on activities for the kids.
We did this on day two of our trip to the area after the VA Zoo in Norfolk. Well done inside and outside exhibits. Seemed to me like part zoo, part aquarium, and part science museum. A very good combination that is perfect for children of all ages. The place was packed with school children but everything was very organized and ran efficiently. The staff and volunteers were friendly and helpful and came right up to us and our children and talked to us like we were one of the family. Even the lady in the gift area (which you would think would be frazzled after about 20 busses of kids) went out of her way to be friendly and volunteered other kid friendly locations in the area. We were very pleased with our experience and would highly recommend it to other families with children.
Virginia's Living Museum, in Newport News, VA is a wonderful combination of zoo and wildlife sanctuary. The indoor exhibits of different habitats are the best I’ve seen outside of major zoos like the one in San Diego. Kids can get right up to the pond- view windows to watch turtles, fish, and birds go by within an arms reach.
Also inside you can find aquariums of all sizes and shapes imbedded in the walls of the many rooms. Kids really enjoy the 'touch' exhibits. They can feel crabs in a shallow pool, examine relics of dinosaurs, and see a replica of a dino that stands more than 6 feet on its pedestal.
You can even explore space at the planetarium or observatory. This is a multi-faceted learning adventure for adults and kids.
One tip, make sure if you visit in the summer buy water to take with you as you walk through the outside exhibits, and/or wear some head cover. Though the inside is cool the outside zoo can be hot during summer.
Their gift shop has tons of things the kids (and you) will want to bring home, and a lot of the stuff is inexpensive. All-in-all it is one place everyone should definitely see if visiting NewportNews, VA.
We are going to NewportNews, VA again this August to visit my brother after he returns from his Army Unit's tour of duty in Iraq. Though I've been before, I plan on going to the Living Museum again. Hope to see you there.
I love it! its so beautiful and it is really good place to take your youngs there and let them see all different kinds of animals that you can't really find in your house area. I would go back there when my husband gets home from being out on sea for 6 months.
I loved this place even before the multi-millon dollar renovation, but now, you could definitely spend all day there - it's so large and there is so much to do & see. I try to take my young son at least once or twice a year, and I love his reactions each time we go. The new building and trails are wonderful, and I truly appreciate how these animals are taken care of and the type of natural environment they are in. And it's nice how there are both indoor and outdoor things to see & do, because the weather will never affect your experience there. A great place for a family outing.
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