Virginia is home to countless museums and opportunities for history buffs. In addition, state and local parks provide everything from one-of-a-kind playgrounds to petting zoos. And don’t forget your local public library!
Pay a visit to The Freeman Store & Museum (Vienna) to learn the history of Vienna and experience an old-fashioned post office and general store.
Watch artists at work at The Torpedo Factory (Alexandria), then enjoy the exhibits and hands-on activities at the lesser-known Alexandria Archaeology Museum onsite.
Honor our nation’s military heroes at the National Museum of the Marine Corps (Triangle).
The Freedom Museum (Manassas) focuses on the role of ordinary citizens, including children, during wartime. Many of its docents are veterans with personal stories to share.
The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (Chantilly) is an annex of the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum that houses a Concorde, space shuttle, and the ‘Enola Gay’. (Admission to the museum is free, but there is a parking fee per vehicle).
NATURE & CULTURE
Play at Clemyjontri Park (McLean), a unique playground with special accommodative play equipment for children of all ages and physical/sensory abilities.
Visit Colvin Run Mill (Great Falls), a rural setting right off busy Route 7 that features a working mill, a general store that sells the stoneground flour made there, plus nature and hiking trails.
Go bird-watching with a free birding list at US Fish & Wildlife Services’s Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck Wildlife Refuge (Lorton). View wildlife, including our nation’s symbol, the bald eagle, in various natural habitats including forest, freshwater marsh, and on the shores of the Potomac River.
Enjoy the glorious gardens of River Farm (Alexandria), originally part of George Washington’s farms, and now the Headquarters of the American Horticultural Society.
Hike the trails on Theodore Roosevelt Island (Arlington/DC).
Watch planes land and take off from National Airport at Gravelly Point Park (Arlington).
Spend the day at the beach: the Town of Colonial Beach, about two hours south of DC, is also George Washington’s Birthplace.
Take a free ride around Old Town on the King Street Trolley (Alexandria).
Say hello to the pardoned Presidential turkeys at Turkey Hill Farm (Leesburg).
Frying Pan Park (Herndon) features a farm animal petting barn, or you can watch the cows get milked (daily at 4pm).