Follow the giggles which can be heard on the pedestrian mall in downtown Charlottesville. When you see the mini, historic kiddie carousel in front of the Virginia Discovery Museum, you will know what the buzz is all about. I will tell you more about the buzz on our journey of this quirky museum.
Kids are fascinated by air. We live it, breathe it and kids can play with air. Using scarves and balls of yarn, puffs of air make them fly through the A-mazing Airways tubes. I had to pry my child away from stuffing tons of colored material in the clear, plastic tubes because she was racing to see how fast they would fly through and pop back out.
It’s time to get industrial in the Discovery Garage. A pipe organ beckons for you to bang out some music. Line up for a chance to race your boxcar on the downhill track. Still on the air kick? The Bernoulli Blower allows you to push a button and watch how a beach ball can fly! Yes, even I had to have a go at this neat piece of equipment.
The Treehouse room is sponsored by a local, group you may have heard of – The Dave Matthews Band. Sit inside a tree house, check out the choo choo train table or peek inside the wooden dollhouse. The ceiling is covered in leaves. All they need to complete the room is to have a few monkeys swinging from the branches. Fans of Finding Nemo will love the toddler room filled with bright colors and beautiful illustrations. Steer the pirate ship and slide down under the sea.
Pass the uninspiring garden where no food was present and only a few shovels remained. I did read that they are ‘planting’ an interactive garden here in the future. What the garden lacks, the log cabin rocks! The Showalter Cabin recreates the life of a German Mennonite family residing in the US in the late 1700’s. Greet the farm animals, gather eggs from the chicken coop and prepare dinner over the hearth fire. Dress up in period clothing and take a nap in the loft.
What do popsicle sticks, tissue paper and glue have in common? They are all a recipe for a collage your little one can do for free. That’s right, go crazy in the Open Studio. There are pint sized chairs and drawers filled with crayons, feathers, string and toilet rolls available to create a priceless piece of art.
Listen closely as you walk through the hallway. You can hear a toucan, see a red-eyed tree frog, get up close to a gorilla and learn about native people. Push the button to hear sounds of animals in their native habitats. You are in the Rainforest.
Up, up and away! Put on your pilot hat and fly a helicopter or climb out of a crater in space. Find out why birds have feathers and view a dragonfly or cicada wing under a microscope. Make a paper airplane and watch it soar through the sky. See how air pressure lifts objects using the Bernoulli blower.
Earlier I mentioned the buzz. What’s more fascinating than watching bees in the hive? View the life cycle of hundreds of honeybees as they enter from outside and create honeycomb. Don’t worry, the bees enter a small, closed tube through the window sill to enter the hive so they cannot harm you. In this small, one level museum, it is the most buzz worthy exhibit.
- Both restrooms have a changing table, sturdy seat, step stool and drinking fountains.
- Admission is $6 per person, free for under age 1. AAA members receive .50 off each general admission.
- The Virginia Discovery Museum is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm and Sunday from 1 to 5pm. They are closed on Mondays.
- Park in the Market Street garage and get your ticket validated at the museum for two hours of free parking.
- I would recommend this museum for children ages 2 to 10. Located on the pedestrian mall, you are steps away from restaurants and shops.
Exercise your mind and explore the fun at the Virginia Discovery Museum in Charlottesville.