There’s nothing like a great day trip or exploring your own backyard to add a little bit of fun to your family time. We’ve done all the puzzles, games, scavenger hunts, baking, and art projects in the land courtesy of COVID-19. But Richmond, VA presents new and endless possibilities for your family. If you are stationed at Fort Lee, then the city of Richmond is in your backyard. But Virginia’s capital is also a quick drive from either Washington, DC or Norfolk, VA (home of the world’s largest Navy base)  Whether quarantine has given you cabin fever or you’re simply looking for a new adventure, here are 5 great family activities in Richmond, Virginia.

Family Activities in Richmond, Virginia

Note: While all of these activities are open to the public during COVID-19, please check websites for reservation information and health regulations.

1. Museum Tours

Conveniently located within minutes of each other, the Science Museum of Virginia and the Children’s Museum of Virginia are both excellent options for indoor fun.

From the Science Museum website: “From virtual presentations featuring STEM experts to fun videos on social media, and from in-person experiential exhibits to in-depth lab demos, the Science Museum of Virginia looks for all opportunities to encourage Virginians to enrich their lives through science. The Museum is a catalyst for inspiration, a place that sparks curiosity, encourages discovery, and generates ideas in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Whether you’re a thinker, tinkerer, creative, or full-on science geek, the Museum has something for people of all ages. Helping curious minds discover the connections between – and their connection to – STEM guides Museum staff in all they do. Science is all around us and discoveries are limitless. We’re simply a gateway to that universe!

The 223,000-square-foot building features hands-on exhibits about wellness, innovation, and physical sciences – to name a few – that let you see if you’re faster than a rat, can beat a robot playing air hockey, or have great balance. Four lab spaces – eco, animal, science, and art – let guests interact with science in unexpected ways. Two makerspaces harness the power of the maker movement, celebrate innovation, and let guests roll up their sleeves to create. The Museum also hosts thought-provoking touring exhibitions from around the world.” 

The Children’s Museum is equally exciting, with exhibits your kids will love and will also keep you entertained. According to their website, “The Children’s Museum is much more than a space for children to play — it’s a community resource of programs and activities, all built around learning through play and providing access for all children and their caregivers. As a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, our mission is facilitated by the support of our staff, board, and volunteers, along with the generosity of individuals, corporations, and foundations.”

2. White water rafting

Richmond might not be known for white water rafting but only because it’s one of the city’s best kept secrets. Accessible to families with children of all ages, rafting the James River is a wonderful way to see everything Richmond has to offer. According to their website, rafters can, “enjoy the thrill of the rapids, breathtaking scenery, and the famous Richmond skyline all in one trip! The Lower James River has something for everyone and is home to America’s only urban Class IV rapids. There’s no better way to experience the River City!”

3. Black History Museum and Cultural Center

Explore the Black History Museum and Cultural Center for both famous and forgotten stories of those who have paved the way for America. 

From their site: The Black History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia celebrates the rich culture and moving histories of African American people in Virginia and their contributions to our magnificent country. We endeavor to tell a more complete and inclusive story about America.

Our mission is to preserve stories that inspire. For many of us, Black history is reduced to a handful of moments and events. We remember the courageous and popular stories of Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King, but there are many, many more. Although Virginia’s past is sometimes painful, we can learn from our ancestors and allow that history to fuel our future.

4. Richmond landmark Segway tour

Whether you’re visiting RVA for the first time or have lived there for years, we can promise you haven’t fully experienced the city until you’ve done a Segway landmark tour. On this tour, you’ll hear riveting stories of historical giants like Washington, Lincoln and Edgar Allan Poe; as well as often unsung figures from Virginia’s past, including Barbara Johns, Garland H. White and the Batteau Men of the James River and Kanawha Canal. The tour promises you’ll cruise to sites like Brown’s Island featuring rich Civil War history and beautiful views of the mighty James River, the Virginia State Capitol designed by Thomas Jefferson, and the vibrant Canal Walk Murals, alongside many other locations abundant with stories and sights. Plus, Segways are just so fun! 

5. Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens

Richmond’s Botanical Gardens are truly a hidden treasure. Ranked as one of the top five best botanical gardens in the United States in 2019 by USA Today, the garden boasts something for everyone. With spectacular views, interactive exhibits and a downright fun children’s garden, this sprawling attraction is the perfect pandemic activity. You can stroll for hours without seeing another soul, simply appreciating the tranquility and beauty the garden offers. Your kids will love to run and explore, while you’ll appreciate the chance to exhale. 

Richmond has countless opportunities for families to explore. Whether you recently PCS’d to the Virginia area, or you have been stationed there for years, your family can plan your trip to RVA today!