$12 or Less: Virginia Fun for Kids

by Casey Higgins | Posted: Jul 25, 2014 | Updated: Apr 16, 2018

Comments: 30 Comments

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!

LOVE at Maymont. Photo by Casey Higgins.

LOVE at Maymont. Photo by Casey Higgins.

~~ FREE ~~

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).

Bluebird Gap Farm

Bluebird Gap Farm

More Free:


~~ $10 or LESS ~~

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?

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.

Hunt Club's Petting Farm

Hunt Club’s Petting Farm

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.


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Lesley Mack says:

You forgot Birdsong Pleasure Garden in Luray.
$6 a person, $10 a couple.

Ymorris says:

Thanks for the info. Always looking for good, cheap fun activites for the children.

Amy says:

Colonial Beach free swimming beaches! Cute town!

Shalimar Fields says:

Can you share Dog Friendly options?

Molly says:

The picture lead into this story is of a swimming lake but I don’t see it listed in the article. Does anyone know where that is?

Casey Higgins says:

The large image across the top is a header for the blog itself. That’s the Virginia Beach oceanfront. 🙂

lindajoy5 says:

Yes, I also have been looking for a Lake to swim in her in the tidewater area of Virginia,,anyone know of one please let me know,, thanks in advance!!!!

Jillian says:

It looks like Hungry Mother State Park…

Jillian says:

It looks like Hungry Mother State Park…

Stacy says:

Hungry Mothers Park in Marion VA has a lake beach. It is well maintained and a small fee to go out on and swim. Has life guards on duty.

Tasha says:

It says 30 fresh water swimming holes…

Brandy P says:

Very cool and informative blog post! Thank you!!!

Brian says:

Parking at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly costs $15 before 4 pm & then it’s free after 4 pm.

Lauran says:

Don’t forget the Virginia Living Museum and Mariner’s Museum (Newport News, VA) and the VA Air & Space museum with IMAX theater and the famouse old working carousel outside (Hampton, VA).

Casey Higgins says:

We love those attractions, but they do not fit into this article as their tickets are more than $10. Hampton Carousel being the exception, of course. At last glance you could take one spin around for $2.

Gabbi says:

I wish these were mapped out. Planning a trip toward the end of the summer and seeing the locations would have made it so much easier.