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You might think of Richmond, Va. as having that old-money vibe, harkening back to its days as the original capital of the Confederacy; and in some ways, you’d be right. But that doesn’t mean you’ll have to break the bank to have a good time, or to bring your kids along for a trip through the historic city. Here’s our list of the five best things to do in Richmond:
1. Byrd Lake. During a warm spring day and on through the summer months, Byrd Lake gives you plenty to do with the kids, between fishing lakes, paddleboats and a fitness trail. During the summer, be sure to check out the Summer Festival of Arts, which frequently hosts dance and music performances. A series of children’s performances each summer even shines the spotlight squarely on kids, for kids.
2. The Children’s Museum of Richmond. Kids can enjoy exhibits such as the Dairy Barn, where they’ll learn how to milk a life-sized cow; it’s an udderly good time. Stalagmites and cave bacon in a cave even show kids a thing or two they may never have seen. This museum features a living tree house, a dinosaur exhibit and an art studio as well.
3. The Science Museum of Richmond. Located just down the street from the Children’s museum, the Science Museum gives older kids something to think about, too. One of the newest exhibits, the fish market, displays the artwork of John Bryan. Be sure to check out the IMAX Dome Theater and gravity alley for more interesting films and exhibits.
4. Altria Theater (formerly The Mosque). This local playhouse frequently features off-Broadway plays, sure to please any age group. Recent performances have included Yo Gabba Gabba Live, The Lion King and Wicked.
5. Maymont Park. This free exhibit offers adults a leisurely stroll through the Italianate gardens, with gorgeous scenery, while younger visitors will go wild for the farm area in the park that houses sheep, lambs, chickens and dozens of other local animals.
The best things to do with kids in Richmond are:
1. Enjoy hands-on experiments at the Science Museum of Virginia: The museum has permanent exhibitions on health, energy and natural science and includes hundreds of interactive exhibits, fascinating artifacts, live animals and an IMAX DOME.
2. Connect with nature at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden: Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is fun for the whole family with more than 50 acres of gardens, including the Children’s Garden with its enormous tree house, water play (warm weather only), ever-changing exhibits and gigantic sand box.
3. Play and learn at the Children’s Museum of Richmond: The museum offers two branches filled with hands-on exhibits and active play for all ages and interests, including an art studio filled with craft materials for creating a masterpiece. The downtown branch features outdoor water play and a great area just for kids three and under.
4. See the animals at Maymont: This downtown estate is more than 100 acres and includes beautiful gardens, mansion tours and natural habitat exhibits of Virginia’s indigenous animals.
5. Ride the coasters at Kings Dominion: The amusement park features more than 60 rides, attractions and shows, including 15 world-class roller coasters, a large children’s area and WaterWorks, a 20-acre water park that’s included with park admission.