Having fun with your children this summer doesn’t have to cost a fortune. We’ve compiled a short list of local activities for you and your family to enjoy in and around the PAeninsula:
Bluebird Gap Farm - A public city park and petting zoo located in Hampton, Virginia, at 60 Pine Chapel Road. It is designed to resemble a working farm, and features farm animals and fowl of all types, and wild animals native to Virginia. Visitors can buy food to feed the animals.
Sandy Bottom Nature Park - a 456-acre environmental education and wildlife management facility located in Hampton. Born from borrow pits and garbage dumps, the park is truly a success story of reclamation of our natural resources. From the 10,000 square foot nature center overlooking Sandy Bottom Lake to the elusive creatures that inhabit the wetland marshes, there is something for everyone at Sandy Bottom Nature Park.
Newport News Park - One of the largest municipal parks (7,500+ acres) east of the Mississippi River, Newport News Park offers a wide variety of activities, including hiking, biking, mountain biking, picnicking, paddle boating, canoeing, archery and freshwater fishing. The park offers a 5.3 mile, hard-packed gravel, bike loop beginning at the Campsite Office. The path is fairly well shaded with an overhead canopy from beautiful trees. Part of the loop crosses into the Colonial National Historical Park, where you can view a placard on the site of where George Washington’s headquarters were during the American Revolutionary War.
The Noland Trail - The Mariners’ Museum Park is 550 acres of privately maintained, naturally wooded property in Newport News that offers visitors a quiet and serene place to walk, run, or picnic. Within the Park is the 167-acre Lake Maury, named for the famed 19th-century oceanographer and native Virginian, Matthew Fontaine Maury.
U.S. Army Transportation Museum - The U.S. Army Transportation Museum is the only museum dedicated to preserving the history of U.S. Army Transportation. The story of the Army's Transportation Corps, from horse-drawn wagons of the Revolutionary War to armored vehicles being used today, is told through exhibits, models and dioramas. The museum's artifact collection numbers just under 7,000 objects, plus another 1,000 exhibit props. The collection includes nearly 100 macro artifacts ranging from planes, helicopters, tugboats, and landing craft to trucks, jeeps, hovercraft and trains.
The important thing here is to get the kids out of the house. These fun activities are all great examples of ways to not only keep get them active, but they will also instill in them a fascination of animals and nature and history.
- Julie Duregger