My friend's husband is stationed in Charlottesville, Virgina for a year. So we were brainstorming some things to do there while she took turns going back and forth to visit with her three year old daughter.
Last summer, I accompanied my honey for a convention and brought the kiddos for some C'Ville fun. While daddy was working we checked out local playgrounds and parks we discovered while dropping daddy off at the Omni. It is funny how quickly you spot playground equipment once you have children. We also checked out Virginia Discovery Museum located on the east end of the downtown mall. It is right across from the carousel--also a must do with the kiddos. Our son was two at the time and our daughter was only about four or five months old, but the Discovery Museum was a perfect place to kill a few hours with some hands-on, interaction, educational fun. Below are some of the permanent exhibits there.
-Busy Ball Wall
-Barnyard Theater with Dress-Up
-The Puppet Tree
-The Showalter Cabin
-Rain Forest Hallway
-Wentzscope (large viewing microscope)
There was the amazing light exhibit during our visit and they had a huge lite-brite wall. I was equally impressed as my son, as it brought back fond memories. My son also loved the gear wall and that kept him busy for some time.
Check out some of their other exhibits and the schedule by clicking below.
Virginia Discovery Museum
East End of the Downtown Mall
Post Office Box 1128
Charlottesville, VA 22902
$6 per person, all ages (under 1 year old free)
Children must be accompanied by an adult
We also took advantage of the outdoor dinning within the downtown mall. There are several fountains you can sit near and it worked like a charm in mesmerizing our son while we ate peacefully.
We also took a trip to Monticello...and the kids fell asleep on the way there...on the 15 minute drive... Isn't that what ALWAYS happens? SO, we chatted a bit in the car and decided to wake our son up and to put our sleeping daughter in the stroller with the car seat. We also decided that a lengthy touring trip of the actual grounds was not in our future on this trip. Did I mention that my son had given up naps at that time? So this unexpected, small nap made him grumpy and mean. Instead of the tour we had envisioned, we took advantage of the Griffin-Discovery room. http://www.monticello.org/site/visit/griffin-discovery-room
It is located on the lower level of the Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center and Smith Education Center, and we discovered by accident. I was bribing my son--go ahead, judge me--we a snack, when we decided to take a walk down a flight of stairs and there was this amazing please touch, child-friendly room that brought some of the highlights of the Monticello tour more in focus for little eyes. I LOVED IT, but more importantly, so did my son, and it was FREE.
It is funny how everything turns out for the best sometimes. I've learned not to fight so hard when things go awry, and this is the perfect example. Not only did my son get to see smaller replicas of items in the Monticello house and slave grounds, but also had enough information for my husband and I to gain some understanding of Monticello too. We had to pry the building blocks away from my son when we left. He did not want to leave the masterpiece he had spent half an hour building. So, all in all, a successful trip for the kiddos and us! The were other kid-friendly activities to do there, but we didn't push our luck that day. Below is a link of more you can do with the kids.
GPS address (otherwise invalid):
931 Thomas Jefferson Parkway
Charlottesville, VA 22902
Gates are open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Monticello is open every day of the year, including Sundays, except Christmas
Adults $22(Mar - Oct), $17 (Nov - Feb) $8
Children 6-11, year-round (under 6 free)
Other things to visit while in Charlottesville are the gorgeous grounds of UVA, ice skating ring near the Omni hotel, Carter Mountain Orchard and Thomas Jefferson Parkway and Kemper Park. Things we'll have to hit next time!