One of the great things about living in Virginia is all of the nature and history that we can learn from. Today, we’d like to talk about a Newport News spot that’s dedicated to preserving the natural diversity of our state. If you live in the Virginia area, I highly recommend that you pay a visit to the Virginia Living Museum.
The Virginia Living Museum has been a positive entity in Newport News for the past 50 years, where you can take your entire family for an interesting and fun learning experience. Beyond providing a wholesome weekend activity for families, they offer season passes and support our troops by offering military discounts.
It first opened its doors in 1966 as the “Junior Nature Museum and Planetarium,” and it’s evolved in our community throughout time. In 1987, it was changed to the Virginia Living Museum, as most of the exhibits were live specimen. The Living Museum is similar to a zoo, but with more historical and educational features.
Today, a trip to the Living Museum will allow you to experience more wildlife and plant species, then you’d be able to encounter on the Appalachian trail. The museum has over 245 different types of animals, a planetarium, and education plant exhibits.
The animals at Virginia Living Museum are all rehabilitated injured or displaced animals, which I find admirable. Even though the inside of the museum isn’t incredibly large, it’s packed full of knowledge and history. The majority of the museum takes place outside down a large trail and boardwalks and cuts through gorgeous woodland areas and travels aside a small lake area.
Throughout the walk, you can expect to see all types of domestic animals like loggerhead turtles, moon jellies, alligators, and a slew of native fish. You’ll also be able to see some wolves, deer, native birds, otters, and bees. As the name of the museum implies, the exhibits are living.
With that being said, this is definitely one of my favorite museums. Between the indoor and outdoor exhibits, the Virginia Living Museum is an awesome way to have an entertaining and productive afternoon.
The museum is perfectly curated and easy to navigate, unlike some “zoos” that make you spend more time doing circles than learning about the animals. Not to mention, if you have kids, the children’s exhibits are hands-on, so they won’t get bored. Interactive exhibits create better learning experiences, entertain, and leave an impression on your children.
At the new “Wild and Well” exhibit, kids get to pretend to be animal keepers and learn about the different diets of the animals. They dress up as vets and try and determine how to heal sick animals. It’s a smart way to get kids interested in science and learning, while also putting them in a career oriented role.
During the summer years, the Virginia plant exhibits also show a variety of plants that you can eat in the wild like sugar peas, mulberries, and wild strawberries. The Living Museum continues to make an awesome impact on our community and state and needs your support to thrive.
Ways that you can support the museum is by continuing to be a patron there, or you can get involved in their science and nature programs. You can also become a member at the museum, which will give you special access to weekend safaris to the caves, swamps, and fossil banks in Virginia.