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South Dakota Free Activities List

500 Greenbriar Pkwy, Chesapeake  

If the weather is nice, this is a great place to be!  Fun Forest has several different areas for kids of all ages to enjoy.  It is all surrounded by beautiful trees.  The areas have a variety of fun and educational activities;  dig for dinosaurs and your child might even find a souvenir "fossil" to take home or take a nature walk and watch for birds with the many bird watching tubes.  BBQ areas available.
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS- Fun for a variety of ages.  You can spend hours here without getting bored. 
FAMILY FRIENDLY CONS-  The park is very large and spread out so it can be difficult to keep an eye on more than one child.

830 Professional Place W., Chesapeake   757.609.3200

COST:  $7 Monday - Thursday, $8 Friday - Sunday
HOURS:  Daily 10 am - 6 pm
Hours of bouncing fun for the kids!  Kangaroo Jac's is a fun land of inflatables.   The fee is a flat rate no matter how long you stay to play.  Parents can jump with their kids for an additional $4 each.  There is a great variety for all ages, including a separate play area for ages 2 and under.   Occasionally they play some games with the kids like musical chairs, but primarily this is for the kids to just jump around and have fun.  There is a snack shop on site.   If possible, go earlier in the day to avoid the bigger crowds.
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS- Fun for all ages.  Not terribly expensive considering that you can stay as long as you would like.   Separate area for the little ones so it is safer for them. 

600 First Settlers Landing Road, Hampton

COST:  $11.50 adult / $9.50 child (age 3 - 18) and student w/ID / $10.50 seniors (65+) and active duty military
HOURS:  Check website for hours
This was a fun day trip for our review family. Lots of full size air craft to look at overhead. A LOT of interactive displays where your child can fly airplanes, space shuttles and the like. There are even flight simulators for the older kids or parents. Lots of buttons to push and there are several places with short "movies" to watch which even young children might appreciate. We went through the whole place in a couple hours. You can even picked up some astronaut ice cream in the gift shop for on the way home.  Watch for discounts.  Free for military through the month of March!
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS- Lots of hands-on opportunities for kids.  Informative and entertaining.  Great for a variety of ages. 

Mile Post 7.5 on US Hwy. 158, Kill Devil Hills
COST:  $4 (age 16 & up), Free for ages 15 & under  (pass is good for seven days)
HOURS:  Daily 9 am - 5 pm
A good place to take the kids if you are in the area.  This is on the site of the place the Wright Brothers made their first flights!  Besides taking in the amazing view, you can learn all about the Wright Brothers in the visitor's center.  The main building has replicas of the Wright Brothers' planes and is very informative.  Near the visitor's center are replicas of living quarters and a hanger.  The flightline where the first successful flights occurred are also nearby.  The walk up to the memorial is long and steep so be prepared with a stroller if you have a little one.  The park rangers were very nice and even gave the kids Junior Ranger patches.
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS- Educational and interesting for a wide variety of ages.  Great view and a nice area to walk around.  Be sure to use the restrooms in the visitor's center before making the climb up the hill.
FAMILY FRIENDLY CONS-  The hill to the memorial could be difficult for young children and the elderly.

524 J Clyde Morris Blvd., Newport News   757.595.1900
COST:  Museum Only:  $17 (adult), $13 (child 3 - 12);  Museum & Planetarium:  $21 (adult), $17 (child 3 - 12).  Age 2 & under Free
HOURS:  Memorial Day - Labor Day:  Daily 9 am - 5 pm;  Labor Day - Memorial Day:  Monday - Saturday 9 am - 5pm, Sunday 12 pm - 5 pm
Great museum for kids!  There is a long outdoor trail with animals in similar to native habitats.  Some of the animals we saw were bobcats, white tail deer, bald eagles, wolves and more!  Inside there are many different areas to explore, including exhibits for a wide age range of children.  There is a cafe on-site.  A fun and worthwhile visit!
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS- Good variety of exhibits for children of all ages.  The outdoor trail was very interesting for the kids and parents.

245 West Olney Rd., Norfolk  757.664.6200

COST:  $7 Adults / $5 Teachers, Seniors, and Military / Free for children 18 & under plus students with valid college ID.
HOURS:  Sunday 1 pm - 5 pm, Wednesday 10 am - 9 pm, Thursday - Saturday 10 am - 5 pm
Our review family was pleasantly surprised by how much their young children enjoyed the visit to this museum.  There was a great variety of art;  paintings and statues, which prompted discussion with the children.  There was also an area for kids to use sketch paper and colored pencils to make their own piece of art inspired by what they had seen.  For some quiet time, there is a small reading corner in another area.  There is a cafe on site. 
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS- Some hands on activities for children, such as a drawing area and reading corner.  Good variety of art to get children thinking about creativity. 

3500 Granby St., Norfolk   757.441.2374
COST:  $11 Adults/ $9 Child (age 2 - 11) / $10 Seniors (age 62+), military, AAA members/ Under age 2 free/ Train tickets $2 each
HOURS:  Daily 10 am  - 5 pm
The Virginia Zoo is a great time for the whole family!  Just about everything is outdoors, so go on a nice weather day.  There are quite a few animals to look at. The employees at the park are especially helpful. They pointed out to us the zoo babies so we could be sure to visit. They also told my boys the names of some of the animals so they could yell out "Hi Billy!" to the male giraffe when we visited him. They're open all year long so visiting in the off season can be very advantageous. They have plans to open a whole new exhibit, called Trail of the Tiger, in 2010.  Entrance prices and the membership prices are very reasonable.   Wheelchair and stroller rentals available.  It is a very pleasant way to spend a few hours.
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS-   Lots to see.  Friendly staff.  A great way to spend a sunny day!
FAMILY FRIENDLY CONS-  No outside food allowed inside.

221 High Street, Portsmouth   757.393.5258

COST:  $11 adult (18+)/ $10 child (2 - 17), military, seniors
HOURS:  Tues - Sat 9 am - 5pm, Sun 11 am - 5 pm
This is a great place to take kids and let them blow off some steam!  There is a lot to do.  The museum is divided between two levels and includes a Bubble Room (sure to be a favorite!), Planetarium, Play City with props and real vehicles, Construction area, crawl around play space for little ones, plus areas devoted to music, art and science.  Make sure to give yourself several hours to explore all of the areas.  Your kids will probably want to revisit some of their favorite areas over and over.  The mornings seem very crowded so you might plan on going in the afternoon when some of the childcare centers are less likely to be there with their children.
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS- Everything is aimed at encouraging children to explore and learn.  Inexpensive, especially considering the amount of time you can spend here. 

2626 West Broad Street, Richmond 

COST:  $8 (ages 2 & up), $7 Seniors
HOURS:  Memorial Day - Labor Day, daily 9:30 am - 7 pm; during school year, daily 9:30 am - 5 pm
This museum has a really great layout and lots to do!  Crafts, outdoor play, and a miniature town to walk through are among the fun exhibits available.  Plan to spend lots of time if you want to see everything.  The staff was very nice and great with the kids who had a wonderful time here.  
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS-   Lots for kids to do and see.  Friendly staff.  Close to another museum so you could stay the day and visit both. 

2200 Parks Avenue, Virginia Beach  757.425.0000

COST:  $7.70 adult / $5.50 student, seniors (age 65+), & active duty military w/ ID / Under age 5 FREE    ADMISSION TO MUSEUM GIFT SHOP IS FREE.  AAA Discount available with valid card.
HOURS:  Tuesday 10 am - 9 pm, Wed - Fri 10 am - 5 pm, Sat - Sun 10 am - 4 pm
Interesting displays that encourage conversations with the kids.  There was not really anything hands-on for the kids.  Even the gift shop did not have much for the kids.  If you plan to take the family, you might watch for a family-friendly exhibit such as the Where the While Things Are:  Maurice Sendak in His Own Words and Pictures exhibit which will be there form February 5 - May 23. 
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS-   Always something interesting to look at and some fun conversations to have with the kids about what they see.
FAMILY FRIENDLY CONS-  Much smaller selection of exhibits than other local museums.  Staff did not seem to be very child-friendly which can makes families feel uncomfortable.  Not a hands-on facility for kids.  Better for older children or teenagers.

1444 Princess Anne Road, Virginia Beach   757.721.7456 

COST:  FREE;  only pay for the produce you purchase
HOURS:  Daily 9am - 6 pm
Cullipher Farm is a produce stand with a pick-your-own area.  Perfect place to take kids to pick strawberries when they are in season.  Bring your own bucket or buy one there.  Lots of big, red, ripe strawberries so the kids can easily find them.  The kids both got a "I picked strawberries" sticker to wear and a coloring book to take home.  It's a beautiful drive out there too!  The website has a crop calendar so you can see what is in season before making the trip.
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS-   Easy to find strawberries to pick.  Great variety of produce pre-picked at the stand.  Very friendly staff;  were happy to talk to the kids.

717 General Booth Blvd., Virginia Beach   757.385.3474

COST:  $22 adults/ $20 seniors (62+) / $15 child (age 3 - 11); additional fee for IMAX theatre
HOURS:  Daily 9 am - 5 pm
Lots to look at and even more exhibits that are set to open in 2009!  Children can stay entertained for several hours;  the museum is actually spread out between two buildings with a nature trail in between.  There is a 30 feet tall observation tower to climb while on the nature trail.   The museum has a great variety of hands-on exhibits, including touch pools to get up-close to several species.   Additional programs are available at different times of the year, such as whale watching tours (for an extra fee). 
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS- Lots for kids to see and do.  Very educational.   The kids love the interactive activities.  Conveniently located restrooms. 

101A Visitor Center Drive (Hwy 132Y), Williamsburg  1-800-HISTORY

COST:  Single day pass: $41.95 adult/ $20.95 child
HOURS:  Check website for hours
Take a step back in history at Colonial Williamsburg.  Fun and educational, although much of the significance is lost on younger children. Perfect for older children who have most likely studied Williamsburg in school.  Children can get a card to have punched at different buildings after they learned about it. Once complete you return the card to the Visitor Center and get a free postcard. Our favorites to see: The garden and the Fife and Drum parade. The visitor center gift shop was our favorite for souvenir options, although you have to try out a licorice stick from the candy shop in town.   To see more about Colonial Williamsburg, be sure to do the Tour the Town Online at their website (linked above). 
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS-  Lots to see and learn about!  Relatively talkative staff; who are very passionate about history.  They dress in period costume and act as if they're from the time. There is lots of information they can give you (though at times they were too talkative for young children who lost interest).
FAMILY FRIENDLY CONS-  Expensive!  Expect to spend a lot between admission, meals and souvenirs.  There is a lot of walking if you want to make the most of the day and see everything.



1919 Monticello Ave., Norfolk   757.627.4163

What a great place to visit! It was even visited on Food Network.  It's an old style American drive in with a few booths inside. We chose to eat in the car so we wouldn't have to worry too much about a mess for someone else to clean up. This same place has been in one family for generations.  It's so authentically retro they even have the trays that sit in your window! Their fries are particularly great and don't skip the ice cream afterward. We were served a banana split in the old style glass boat. What a treat! We will definitely be back again!
FAMILY FRIENDLY PROS-   Fun atmosphere and great food!

Family Friendly Travel Tip:
Older children can use time in the car or airplane to learn a new craft.  There are some great books about learning to knit, crochet and cross-stitch.  Your child will be occupied and have a sense of accomplishment when they have completed a project by the end of the journey.


Read our articles for more travel tips and location information:
How to Make the Most of a Family Trip to Disneyland

How to Enjoy Family Activities in Colorado Springs

How to Enjoy a Family Vacation Without Hearing 'Are We There Yet"


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