Hampton Roads is a wonderful place to live and visit. The area is comprised of seven cities, close in proximity, yet distinctly different. If you’re planning to vacation in the area or are already living nearby, here’s a few things to do with kids in Norfolk to help keep your little ones busy this summer.
One of our favorite spots to visit is Norfolk Botanical Gardens. Explore the grounds including the lovely Japanese Garden, Wildflower Meadow and Butterfly Garden. Afterwards, kids will have a blast at the WOW Children’s Garden. This area is dedicated to kids and families and includes a splash area- so pack sunscreen, bathing suits and towels during summer months.
Another attraction you don’t want to miss is the Virginia Zoo. The zoo has been undergoing expansion for years and houses extensive Asian and African habitats. You should be able to explore all the exhibits in a few hours, so consider packing a picnic lunch and eating at Lafayette Park right next door! The mischievous Red Panda is one of my favorites.
Visit Nauticus to “explore the naval, economic, and nautical power of the sea.” The exhibits include Secrets of the Deep, Shark Experience, activities related to the Battleship Wisconsin, the Hampton Roads Naval Museum and many more. There are also changing exhibits and a large HD screen to watch The Last Reef and The Ultimate Wave.
*There is no charge to visit the Hampton Roads Naval Museum, but there is a fee for Nauticus exhibits.
While visiting Nauticus, make a starboard turn (for landlubbers, that’s make a right) and you’ll run smack dab into one of the US Navy’s largest battleships, the Battleship Wisconsin. Portions of the interior can now be viewed as part of your Nauticus admission.
Ride The Tide. No, I’m not taking about waves. The Tide is Norfolk’s public light rail system that serves 11 stations in Norfolk starting from Eastern Virginia Medical College and ending at Newtown Road near Virginia Beach. If you’re kids aren’t used to riding a tram, this is a new adventure that often delights kids of all ages.
Explore Norfolk on the water by sailing with American Rover Sailing Cruises. There are two options – the Harbor Tour or Sunset Cruise. Kids will likely prefer the Harbor Tour as the cruise takes place during the day. This is something my kids haven’t experienced, but we’ve heard great things about the cruise.
The Chrysler Museum of Art is home to approximately 30,000 objects including European and American painting and sculpture and glass art demonstrations. Admission and parking is FREE!
Head over to the Ocean View Fishing Pier on the shore of the Chesapeake Bay. Let the kids fish or just stroll along the pier taking in the scenery. Rod rentals are available for those without fishing gear & a tackle shop is on site to purchase bait. There is a fee to fish or $1 fee to walk the pier.
Take a tour of Norfolk Naval Base and let kids see aircraft carriers, destroyers, amphibious assault ships, just to name a few. Norfolk is home to the world’s largest naval base, so it’s the perfect chance to let kids learn about our Military. *Currently closed for visitors
Norfolk, VA boosts many fun experiences to break up those everyday summer routines and give kids a little bit of education – even when they don’t realize they are learning. You might also like things to do with kids in Virginia Beach or things to do with kids in Williamsburg for more staycation ideas!
What other ideas for things to do with kids in Norfolk, VA can you share?
Photo Credit: Jennifer Carr Photography. All images used with permission.