Make your dollars go further when you can mix in some affordable fun with your family vacation! The attractions mentioned within this post are priced at $12 or less for admission (parents, too!). Enjoy!
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Parks and wilderness areas are go-to destinations for nature lovers, but consider some of Virginia’s cooler community parks, like Mount Trashmore in Virginia Beach. It’s 165 acres and you can rent equipment for badminton, football, frisbee, horseshoes, soccer, volleyball, and even cornhole. These things are all free, but kids can also enjoy the street course skate park with a deep bowl and competition-sized vert ramp for only $3. You must complete and submit the pass application when you come to the park. Details
Buzzing through the metro Richmond area? Have a picnic lunch at Three Lakes Park and Nature Center in Henrico. The Nature Center includes a 50,000 gallon aquarium along with live exhibits of native wildlife.
Maymont is another fantastic Richmond destination. At 100 acres, the gardens are extensive. While the Children’s Farm is closed for renovations, the rest of the animal exhibits will keep them entertained.
Bluebird Gap Farm is a 60-acre farm in Hampton. It’s home to about 150 animals and includes a picnic area with charcoal grills, a nature trail and large playground.
If you have a child who is into the Transformers movies, he or she needs to see the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird at the National Air and Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was filmed right there and your kid will recognize Blackbird immediately. Parking is free after 4pm ($15 before).
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A genuine old school Virginia roadside attraction is Dinosaur Land in White Post. More than 50 dinosaurs have graced this attraction for 50 years. Great #selfie opportunities! $6 per person aged 11 and older; $5 per person 2 to 10.
Virginia’s State Parks welcome you with a simple parking fee. Provided you’re not arriving in a 15 passenger van or other high occupancy vehicle, the fee is minimal … $3 to $10. Many state parks offer free programs that your children will enjoy, like learning to fish, bouldering, scavenger hunts, and crafts. Want to swim at a state park? Rates are $2 to $8 per person, depending on the park, for day guests.
Regardless of the season, Snowflex in Lynchburg is a fun destination for those who love to ski and snowboard. Seriously! Ski or snowboard for $6-$8 per hour. If you require equipment, the rental fee is $14 per person, per day. Complete a waiver before your arrival. Details
Speaking of a winter sport, why not ice skate year ’round, too?
- Ashburn Ice House, Ashburn
- $8 per adult and child
- Fairfax Ice Arena, Fairfax
- $5.75-$8.50 per person; $4 skate rental
- LaHaye Ice Center, Lynchburg
- $10 per person includes skates
- $6 general admission without skates
- Prince William Ice Center, Woodbridge
- $8 per person; $2 skate rental
- Richmond Ice Zone, Richmond
- $9 per person; $3 skate rental
The Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville always has something fun and creative going on – something to keep your child’s attention. Admission is $5 per adult and $3 per child.
The Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in Portsmouth includes state-of-the-art interactivity that’s built for family fun. Check out the Hall of Fame inductees and play a bit of their sports while you’re there! $7 per person; children 2 and under are free.
Claude Moore Colonial Farm National Park in McLean lets your kids get hands-on with history in a pre-American Revolutionary War setting (a small, low-income 1771 farm). Special events include the heritage animals that call the farm home, harvesting tobacco, tidying up with autumn chores, and more. Farm site admission is $3 per adult and $2 per child. Admission for Market Fair (a special event with select dates) is $8 per adult and $3 per child.
When in Lynchburg, check out Amazement Square: The Rightmire Children’s Museum, home of the Amazement Tower, the tallest indoor, interactive climbing structure in the United States. Admission is $9 per person unless you plan to visit on a Thursday from June to August, when admission is only $5.
- Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum, Winchester
- $8 per person ~ $1 Off Coupon
- Visit the first Friday of the month between 5 and 7:30 p.m. for free!
- Virginia Discovery Museum, Charlottesville
- $8 per person
- Visitors can pay what the wish on the first Wednesday of every month
- Children’s Museum of Richmond, Richmond
- $9 per person
- Kids get in for only 15 cents on the 15th of every month
- Bank of America cardholders receive free admission to any Children’s Museum of Richmond locations on the first full weekend of every month
- Rated the 11th Best Children’s Museum in America by Child magazine.
- Explore More Discovery Museum, Harrisonburg
- $6 per person
- Heritage Farm Museum, Sterling
- $5 per adult and $3 per child
- Children’s Museum of Blacksburg, Blacksburg
- $6.50 per person
- Free admission from 4-7pm on the first Friday of the month
- Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum, Winchester
Who doesn’t love a zoo? Head to Roanoke’s Mill Mountain Zoo to see more than 175 animals. Inquire about the special Breakfast with the Animals experience (additional fee). Admission is $9 per adult and $7 per child.