The capital of Virginia, Richmond is rich in culture and history. The city’s easy access to mountains, the Atlantic Ocean and Washington, D.C. makes Richmond a popular tourist destination, as well as a city that many families call home. Whether Richmond is where you’ve put down your roots or you’re just passing through, you’ll find that children’s activities are plentiful.
Science Museum of Virginia (smv.org) is the perfect place for curious children. With exhibits focused on health, electricity, earth, space and other educational concepts, the museum allows kids to learn through hands-on displays. The museum is home to many live animals and features daily science presentations, a cinema, a Foucault pendulum and a 30-ton kugel ball that moves. The Children’s Museum of Richmond (c-mor.org) is a place where kids can learn by playing. Exhibits include the Apple Tree where kids pick and dump apples, the Art Studio for painting, drawing and crafts, and the CMoR Backyard with a large sandbox, water play, musical instruments and a performing stage. The museum also has a carousel, a dinosaur exhibit and Town Square, a miniature replica of Richmond complete with a television studio, grocery store, café, bank, hospital, school and ambulance.
Indoor Sports and Recreation
Escape the heat or the cold at the Roller Dome (rollerdomeskating.com) in Richmond. In addition to a large rink for roller skating, an arcade with video games, skeeball and basketball is featured. Jumpology Trampoline Arena (jumpology.us) is a large indoor trampoline park with more than 8,000 square feet of trampolines. From angled wall trampolines to launching decks, kids can jump, flip and tumble over and over again. If your kids love gymnastics and tumbling, Gym Quest (gymquest.org) will give them their fill. The facility offers programs and classes for kids of all ages, as well as open gym times where children ages 6 and up can play freely on the balance beams, high and low bars, tumbling mats and other gymnastics equipment.
Splash Zone at Cobblestones Park (cobblestonespark.com) is a 38,000-square-foot pool -- one of the largest on the East Coast -- and features slides in a variety of shapes and sizes. Richmond is also home to Hadad’s Lake, Inc. (hadadslake.com), a family-friendly water park with a swimming lake. Although the swimming area is the lake, the water is chlorinated and filtered, and there’s sand at the bottom. The facility includes two shallow swimming areas and one deep swimming area with water trampolines, rope swings and a super launcher. If you’re looking for something a little more low-key, head to one of Richmond’s 10 public pools, like Battery Park Pool (no website; 2917 Dupont Circle, Richmond; 804-646-0127), Blackwell Pool (no website; 238 East 14th St., Richmond; 804-646-8718) or Swansboro Indoor Pool (no website; 3160 Midlothian Tpke., Richmond; 804-646-8088).
Explore nature at its finest at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden (lewisginter.org), one of the most visited places in Richmond. In addition to the unusual flowers and plants, a children’s garden, water and sand play area, and a large tree house are featured. Maymont (maymont.org) is a place where kids and adults can explore the natural wonders of animals and plants. Take a stroll through the garden, tour the large mansion on the grounds, pet and feed the farm animals and watch the river otters at this historical estate. The facility features a variety of permanent and temporary exhibits focused around nature and wildlife, many of which are hands-on. Byrd Park (no website; 600 South Blvd., Richmond; 804-646-5733) encompasses over 268 acres and has three fishing lakes. Families can hike through the trails, try their luck at fishing or sit by the lake and feed the birds. Free plays and concerts are held throughout the summer months at the amphitheater on the grounds.