Take The Kids To Norfolk
NORFOLK, VA – Families will discover a host of patriotic, interactive and outdoor activities in the affordable and charming seaside city of Norfolk, Virginia. Coupled with a wide range of accommodation options, and more than 80 restaurants – many of which are family friendly – kids of all ages can enjoy exploring this burgeoning city.
Noteworthy venues for family-friendly fun include:
Nauticus: For a journey to the bottom of the ocean, check out Nauticus, a 120,000 square foot, multi-level maritime showcase with more than 150 nautical exhibits. Kids can prepare to do battle in a simulated interactive naval destroyer or explore life in the deep blue sea with fascinating saltwater aquariums. For the adventurous at heart, a touch tank lets visitors get hands-on with a real shark. Nauticus also offers exciting and educational movies in its high-definition theatre. Children will be amazed at the film, “The Greatest Places”, depicting a journey through the most geographically dynamic locations on earth including the Amazon, Greenland, Iguazu Falls, the Namib Desert, the Okavango Delta and Tibet which is shown multiple times daily in the new state-of-the-art high definition theatre. America's premier environmental research agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) is also housed inside The National Maritime Center will display a treasure trove of more than 200 artifacts including survey instruments, chronometers, aeronautical charts, maps, photographs and more.
The Hampton Roads Naval Museum is also part of and accessible through Nauticus. The museum covers more than two centuries of naval activity in and around the great Norfolk Harbor. An impressive collection of antique ship models and retrieved underwater artifacts make the museum a very popular part of Nauticus.
Battleship Wisconsin: Kids will be mesmerized by the sheer might of the USS Wisconsin, America’s largest battleship, which was involved in World War II, the Korean War and the Gulf War. The battleship is berthed on the waterfront next door to Nauticus. Families can tour the decks of this floating monument for a unique glimpse into history, and Navy veterans are on-hand to give personalized tours and answer questions about the ship.
Naval Station Norfolk: Norfolk is home to the world’s largest naval station, which ports more than 100 ships of the Atlantic fleet. Navy personnel narrate 45-minute tours, which include a rare glance at the Atlantic Fleet training centers, breathtaking aircraft carriers, formidable cruisers and destroyers, versatile amphibious assault vessels and sleek submarines. A section of the base includes a strip of preserved historic homes from the 1907 Jamestown Exposition.
Norfolk Botanical Garden: Minutes from the Norfolk International Airport, this stunning, circa-1938, 155-acre garden offers one of the largest collections of azaleas, camellias, roses and rhododendrons on the East Coast. Families can explore more than 20 themed gardens, which can be viewed by tram, boat or by foot, including a Bristow Butterfly Garden, and the World of Wonders Children’s Adventure Garden or WOW. In the WOW garden, kids can also take part in seasonal arts and crafts inside several areas: World Plaza, Discovery Peak, Imagination Circle, The Dirt Factory, Plant Safari, and Passport Gardens.
Virginia Zoological Park: The century-old Virginia Zoo, an accredited American Zoo and Aquarium Association facility, is nestled on 53-acres along the Lafayette River and home to over 350 animals. Its African continent exhibit is particularly noteworthy and is the largest expansion in the Zoo’s history, offering a glimpse at the exotic animals of the Okavongo Delta in Botswana. A variety of programs designed for kids, includes a “Cub Club” for children ages 2 to 4, a “Summer Safari Camp” and family “Zoo Snoozes” stay-over program. Visitors over the age of 15 can spend a day caring for the animals by registering for the “Keeper for a Day Program.”
The Chrysler Museum of Art: Founded in 1939 and developed by the significant personal collection donated by automobile heir and art collector Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. in 1971. The Chrysler Museum of Art offers an impressively large and diverse collection of glass, noted historic and contemporary photography, 20th century art, American and European paintings and sculpture, and decorative arts. It offers changing exhibitions and educational activities for all ages including a “Chrysler Creates” studio art classes for kids.
Festivals: Festivals of all kinds -- music, arts, historical and cultural – are a big part of Norfolk’s family-friendly identity. Staged along waterfront, these festivals give families the opportunity to participate in fun-filled and often worldly events and revel in the picturesque 400-year old natural seaport. Annual festivals include the AFR’AM Fest, Virginia Children’s Festival, Bayou Boogaloo & Cajun Food Festival, Harborfest, and the Norfolk Jazz Festival.
Town Point Park: a seven-acre waterfront park that recently re-opened after a multi-million dollar renovation, offers more than 100 major outdoor concerts, award-winning festivals and special events annually. Home to the Armed Forces Memorial, which commemorates soldiers lost at war, Town Point Park is a waterside favorite for picnics, parties and people watching.
Located on Granby Street, Doumar’s, is a kid-friendly, family-run shop that began as an ice cream stand in 1907, and to this day oozes nostalgia where visitors can anticipate a throw-back to a “Happy Days” experience, save the roller skates. In fact, Doumar’s is the birthplace of the ice cream cone, invented in 1934. The same delectable waffle cones are still baked here daily. Visitors with a pre-ice cream fix can enjoy anything barbecued, especially the North Carolina-style barbeque pork on a bun. No Frill Bar and Grill, is a fresh, affordable restaurant that serves up tasty salads, barbecue ribs and generous grill choices as well as seafood specialties like tempura fried soft-shell crab. For more dining optins Visit>>
MacArthur Center: Who says parents should have all the fun at the mall? MacArthur Center recently debuted its The Looney Tunes Play Port, presented by the Port of Virginia. The play port is a 2400-square-foot play area located in the mall’s third level Food Court. Grand opening activities will include visits from Bugs Bunny and the Tasmanian Devil and sketches by Warner Bros. Animator Fred Bode. The innovative play area is designed for kids to enjoy larger-than-life, three-dimensional Looney Tunes’ favorites, including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Road Runner, and Marvin the Martian, while learning the importance of The Port of Virginia. MacArthur Center features more than one million square feet of retail space and OVER 140 nationally known specialty stores, restaurants and entertainment.