Our holiday weekend included lots of family time. Mr. Fix-It was able to be home Thursday thru Saturday and most of Sunday too, even though he was on-call for work, and his sister came to visit for the weekend. So we took the crew to the Virgina Living Museum. This trip has been on my list for family time all summer. We weren’t disappointed. The whole place is just made for kids!
The VLM is all about wildlife and ecosystems native to Virginia (obviously, right?) and has live exhibits as well as hands-on learning centers. Nothing exotic like the zoo. We’re talking foxes, turkeys, deer, coyotes, ducks…and they participate in the Red Wolf Recovery program, so there were a couple Mexican Red “wolf-ez” there. (Did you know deer have hoof-ez and we eat with knife-ez? All I can say is at least he’s consistent.)
And if there’s one thing all 3 of our kids love, it’s animals.
I would just like to say that we thought it was awesome! The facility is amazingly clean and neat and packed full of learning fun for the kids!
They have sections for caves and underground ecosystems, a section for mountain ecosystems, and a section of coastal ecosystems with tanks full of marine life and plants as well as animals and birds.
They have an outside boardwalk around several wildlife pens, a short marsh walk and outside gardens. We got to enjoy the lovely fall day, but the gardens would have been better in the spring.
And it’s small, so it’s not nearly as exhausting as the zoo. We were there for about 3 hours looking at exhibits and probably could have stayed for another 2 to explore more of the learning centers if the crew hadn’t been starving!
I would also like to mention the Tropicana Juicy Rewards Program to you. It’s awesome! We redeemed a couple Points for coupons and paid for 3 adult admissions ($17/each) and got the 3 kids ($13 each) for free! We saved $40!
Now, you might be thinking–why would farm kids would be interested in seeing local wildlife at a museum? Don’t they see them all the time? It was actually a great opportunity to see them up and in detail.
We talked about how God made each animal suited to it’s specific purpose, what they eat, how they blend in, and how each one interacts with our farm (foxes eat chickens, raccoons eat chickens, possums eat chickens, coyotes eat lambs, bald eagles eat lambs…seeing the theme?).
We got to bond as a family when we talked about different times we’ve seen each one together. And the kids were really excited about the little animal track identification plaques for each exhibit because we see a lot more tracks than we see actual animals. I’m thinking about getting them each a pocket guide, actually. They really enjoyed that part.
We got to have great discussions about how we handle interactions with wildlife we might run into. What do you do if you see a snake? How do you tell a snapping turtle from a box turtle?
We had great moments with each one of them too. Speedracer apparently loves turtles and was just in love with the one dinosaur statue. (For some reason I’m not surprised.)
And the Ladybug is into doing things. She loved the hands-on exhibits and the interactive stuff–touching and button pushing are usually two big no-nos. I was surprised she wasn’t grossed out by the touch tank and rolled her sleeves right up to touch everything!
And I got pictures of my crew having fun together. Of course.
I even sneaked a couple of Mr. Fix-It–mostly when he wasn’t looking.