There is so much to see and learn about in the Virginia Museum of Natural History! A great staycation idea if you live in Virginia.
The Virginia Museum of Natural History offers so much and is an excellent learning experience. My family and I have been to the museum a few times over the past few years. We really enjoy all the displays at the museum as well as attending some of their events.
The Virginia Museum of Natural History
When you first come in to the Virginia Museum of Natural History you walk into a room with a gigantic sloth and a small gift shop with a cafe. Here is where you purchase your ticket to the museum. Tickets are inexpensive here: $7 for adults and $5 for kids. My favorite thing about these ticket prices (other than being so cheap) is that they consider children and youth to be 18 and under.
Before entering the museum, there is a hallway that leads to the restrooms to your left. There are windows along the hallway that allow you to view the paleontologists working. It’s very interesting to be able to watch what is going on in the lab.
The Ancient Hall of Life
Dinosaurs and displays of bugs and creatures of Virginia fill up the first room of the museum, known as The Hall of Ancient Life. Each display has tons of information to help you learn all about what you are viewing. There are also windows here that allow you to get a look at the lab and the workers.
In the corner of this room you will see an Ice Age exhibit with life-size cast skeletons of animals, bugs, and plants that lived during that time period.
Off to the right is a room with a playground for kids where they often have slumber parties. Down from the playground room is a room full of dinosaurs which offers a great learning experience. Here you will find life-size dinosaur cast skeletons as well as well as dinosaur fossils. The Virginia Museum of Natural History has the only known fossil evidence that the T-Rex and Triceratops engaged in battle! You will also find a dino-dig pit which gives kids a real life paleontologist experience as they dig for dino “fossils”.
Hall of Biodiversity
Continuing on through the museum you will walk through the Hahn Hall of Biodiversity. There are plenty of antelopes and lots of other animal collections to learn about here. Covering a wall is 26 species of African antelopes!
How Nature Works
After exiting the hall you will come into a room filled with animals. Here we learn more about how nature works. I could not get over how lifelike these animals look. I kept expecting one to jump out at me!!
Around the corner from the animals you will learn more about how rocks work in nature. There is a model of a volcano in action, landscape models and a huge display of different types of rocks.
The museum continues on with lots of other exhibits to see and a lot more to learn about. Upstairs includes more on marine life, however this isn’t a major focus and therefore not a big exhibit.
Museum of Natural History Events
From time to time the Virginia Museum of Natural History holds events such as a Dinosaur Festival and a Dragon Festival. One year our family went to the Space Festival where we learned more about astronauts and space.
A display table was set up with different items that astronauts use in space. You could touch and try some of their tools and see some of the foods they took with them.
I’m not sure I would want to drink my coffee from a bag, but at least they get to have coffee in space!
Museum of Natural History Programs
If you live closer to the museum I would definitely recommend some of the programs that the Virginia Museum of Natural History has to offer. For example, there is a homeschool science and engineering academy twice a month. Some of the classes offer labs for the students to get hands on experience. I plan to put my daughter in this program this coming up school year.
The museum also holds summer camps for younger kids, sleepovers, outreach programs, geocache, badge programs for scouts, and so much more. To see more about the programs at the Virginia Museum of Natural History, check out their education program guide.
There is seriously so much to see and do and learn about in the Virginia Museum of Natural History. You can take a day to learn more about natural history and then have some lunch in the Paleo Cafe. Visit the gift shop and grab a souvenir to take home. Take a picture with the giant sloth before leaving!