Last month I had planned a trip down to Williamsburg for my family, but for some reason didn’t think about the weather. So as a heat wave rolled through with 110 degree days, I had to scramble quickly to find something with air conditioning, or at least more shade….bonus points if you could entertain my 3-year old and let me roll through with a double stroller.
What a blessing in disguise that heat was! We happened upon the Virginia Living Museum and it ended up being one of the best children’s museums we’d ever been to.
Not only did it have my prerequisite air conditioning and ample stroller space, but the interaction it provided for my 3-year old was out of this world! With both indoor and outdoor exhibits, we were occupied for the whole morning.
Virginia Living Museum’s Outdoor Exhibits
First and foremost (at least for us), the entire outdoor area is pretty much entirely shaded. A path takes you winding through the woods, a lake, an aviary, and gardens.
Around every corner (seriously) is a new cute exhibit with native wildlife…and then out of nowhere appears an elaborate dinosaur exhibit built right into the woods!
Not only are there at least a dozen dinosaurs scattered about, but the exhibit centers around a sand pit filled with excavation tools (paint brushes ;-)) for kids to uncover giant fossils buried in the pit. We literally had to pull my son from the excavation site.
In hindsight, I wish we would have brought along a cup of coffee to just sit there for an hour while he played! He loved it that much.
Nonetheless, we dragged him back inside for the second half of our visit, which had just as many cool elements.
Virginia Living Museum’s Indoor Exhibits
Inside is divided into two sections, each which house their own 2-story mini-ecosystem. But those aren’t even the coolest exhibits.
On one side they’ve created an indoor cave that shows just what it would be like underground, which is really amazing to see. On the other side, they’ve got some amazing aquarium tanks showing some of the native marine life.
There’s a section where you can touch marine life while instructors teach you about them. And if that’s all not enough, there’s a huge room where kids can pretend to be veterinarians (on fake animals, of course).
Should You Go There?
Yes! If you’ve got toddlers or preschoolers, you should definitely stop at the Virginia Living Museum during your Williamsburg trip. Seriously, we loved this place. If I was a local, I’d definitely have an annual membership. Their interaction was amazing. It was small enough, but also big enough. It fit my stroller (am I the only one that dreads going somewhere that can’t fit my 18-wheeler version of a stroller??). And excitingly, it was cool to see as an adult too.
I would highly recommend anyone visiting Williamsburg to check this out! It was the highlight of our trip (and totally saved us from the heat).
Related post: 15 Philadelphia Day Trips for Toddlers and Preschoolers