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By Laura Enderson
Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of local and other places/activities for your family to enjoy this summer.
If the family needs to get out of the house for a vacation this week, and you’re still wondering where you should travel, here are a few family friendly ideas.
Local events and activities:
Visit Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest for family friendly fun. The family can visit the historic home and beautiful plantation built by President Thomas Jefferson. Here, he could escape with his family. You can view the restoration of the home’s interior and the archaeology in process. Open seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tours take place every half hour. On June 17, fathers can get half off the price of admission for Fathers Day. Call 434-525-1806 for more information, or visit www.poplarforest.org.
If you want to dive into some history, check out the Bedford Museum and Genealogical Library on East Main Street. Containing collections that tell Bedford’s rich history, dating back to the earliest Native American residents. Popular exhibits include the Company A of the 116th Infantry, Native American and African American exhibits. The Museum is open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Call 540-586-4520 for more information or check out www.bedfordvamuseum.org.
Located in downtown Lynchburg, the 14 paved miles of Blackwater Creek Trail weave through the heart of the city. It offers beautiful landscape and bike, walking and hiking trails. The family can run, walk or bike and explore the old rail bridge over the James River, Percival’s Island, a stone tunnel or Hollins Mill waterfall. The trail is open dawn to dusk every day. Check out www.lynchburgva.gov for more information.
History and museums:
Located in Danville, The Tank Museum boasts an extensive collection of tank and cavalry artifacts. The Museum has over 103 tanks and artillery pieces, 150 mid size weapons, over 1500 Tank and cavalry uniforms, 1300 pieces of headgear, pins, patches, and other military memorabilia. The family can journey through Military History, with all nations represented. Open Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $10. Call (434) 836-5323 for more details or visit www.aaftankmuseum.com.
The family can live the life of a Civil War soldier in Petersburg while visiting Pamplin Historical Park. Pamplin Historical Park & The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier is a 422-acre park offering high-tech museums and hands-on experiences. The Park has four world-class museums, four antebellum homes and is the site of the Breakthrough Battlefield of April 2, 1865, where Union forces broke through Petersburg’s defense lines. The park is open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $12. Check out www.pamplinpark.org for more information or call (877) 726-7546.
Festivals and events:
On June 16, Woolwine is holding its Virginia Covered Bridge Festival. This festival features a wagon ride between two of Virginia’s treasured covered bridges – Jack’s Creek and Bob White. The family can browse the antique cars on display, let the kids cheer on the duck race, pet the animals and bounce around in the inflatables to wear down their energy. The festival will be held rain or shine, and will feature artists, craftsmen, authors, antique dealers, food and farmers market vendors. The festival runs from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is free. For more information, call 276-930-2127 or check out www.visitpatrickcounty.org.
Zoos and outdoor activities:
The Eastern Shore Hang Gliding Center in Weirwood offers the ride of your life, from 2500 feet to a mile-high, and the best part is that the whole family can ride. The ride is good for children 4 years-old and up. The family gets to fly like a bird with a Discovery Hang Gliding Flight. No experience is necessary, and a USHGA certified instructor will assist you in soaring over the Eastern Shore of Virginia, as you learn the basics of controlling a hang glider. The admission fee is $149. Call (757) 442-7519 for more details or check out www.easternshorehanggliding.com.
Take the family to Virginia Safari Park, Virginia’s largest, and only drive-thru zoo. You get to see and feed over 1,200 free roaming animals, including zebras, elk and ostrich, out of your car window on a 180-acre preserve. Drive the family car across three miles of safari roads winding through beautiful Shenandoah Valley countryside and enjoy the animals in a natural environment. Take a 45 minute, narrated Safari Wagon Ride and get eye to eye with some of the larger animals in the park. The park also features a Petting Barn where you can feed goats, pot-bellied pigs, llamas and various baby animals. The park is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and takes the last car at 5 p.m. Admission is $15. Visit www.virginiasafaripark.com for more information or call 540-291-3205.