• The West End Mom

Indoor Play: Where can we safely explore inside?

Finding safe indoor spaces has always been a challenge with little ones, especially in the winter. With a 3 yo & 18 month old, someone is always putting a toy or hands in his/her mouth... so now that we are in a pandemic, we are even more careful!


Here is a roundup of indoor spaces we have explored this year.

*There are a few more spots I would like to check out & if they pass my test, I will add them too!


1. Maymont's Nature Center: The Robins Nature Center is an indoor exhibit at Maymont that showcases the animals & plants of the James River and Chesapeake Bay. You can learn and explore the ecology of the James River through play, aquariums & interactive animation. This 29,000 square foot attraction also has bathrooms including a family restroom, a sitting area, a gift shop & beautiful views of the park. ⁣⁣


Tickets must be purchased online & they are available in 45-minute time slots with a limited number of guests. It costs $8 for adults, $6 for children (ages 3-12) & seniors.⁣⁣ All guests 10 & older must wear a mask.


Click here for my full review.


*Maymont's Nature Center is under 5 minutes from Byrd Park & the City of Richmond's John B. Cary Elementary School's playground.




2. The Science Museum of Virginia: We love visiting the Science Museum of Virginia . There are four floors of interactive exhibits on the massive 33 acre property! Since reopening to the public on September 5, the museum has put into place a bunch of safety measures. Some of the highlights are: on line ticket sales, limited, timed tickets & masks for guests 5 and older. You can read their reopening plan in full here. Every Wednesday in January adults can visit for $10 instead of $15.50 (children 2 & under are free).


The museum is open Wednesday to Sunday from 9:30 am - 5 pm. The Light Place is open on those days from 9:30 am - 1 pm, with a limit of 3 families or 15 guests at a time.


Check here for my review. You can also find more pictures & information in the "Science Museum" highlight - we love it so much it needs its own!


*The Science Museum is next to The Children's Museum of Richmond and the Bon Secours Play 60 Obstacle Course is behind it!




3. Local Airports: My children love things that go, so visiting the airport is one of our favorite activities. We like visiting Richmond International Airport & Hanover Municipal Airport because you can watch the landing strip outside or from your car. We found two spots at the Richmond International Airport that are social distancing friendly, outside, and easy to access. We saw 6 airplanes take off, and we watched a private jet load and take off, plus lots of airport busyness!   We found an open parking lot to watch the runway & the planes at Hanover Municipal Airport, and since it has a flying school, there's always a lot of activity too!


Check here for my review of Richmond International Airport and here for my review of Hanover Municipal Airport.


*Richmond International Airport is less than 5 minutes away from Dorey Park.




4. Local Train Stations: We love visiting Main Street Station & Staples Mill Station to watch for trains. At Main Street Station, you can go inside & explore. The "Welcome to Virginia" center is on the first floor, and the trains come by all the windows on the second floor. There's also a balcony to watch the busyness of city! At Staples Mill Station, we like to have car picnics on rainy or very cold days.


Check here for my review on Main Street Station and here for my review of Staples Mill Station.



5. The Drive-Thru Zoo Tour: The Metro Richmond Zoo is offering a drive-thru tour on Mondays & Tuesdays until February 27. This experience is social distancing friendly - you stay in your car the entire time (no bathrooms)! This adventure was such a special way to enjoy our local zoo: getting closer to the tiger than ever before, watching the giraffes from our car, and driving ourselves through the safari!⁣


Check here for my full review.



6. Keystone Tractor Museum: This truck & tractor museum is located in Colonial Heights, about 30 minutes from Richmond. It has 140 restored, antique tractors, and over 140 restored, antique trucks & cars. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children 6-17, and children 5 and under are free. The museum is open every day, and there's a restaurant inside with views of the tractors. The museum is incredibly clean, everyone 5 and older must wear a mask, and there are plexiglass dividers between the booths in the restaurant. My little ones really enjoyed running through all the trucks, and we spent almost two hours there (including eating brunch). The only downside is that little ones can only sit on one tractor - the rest are for looking only.


*Keystone Tractor Museum is about 10 minutes from White Bank Park that has an all-inclusive playground. Exit 53 has a Chick-Fil-A, and Saucy's is one of our favorite BBQ restaurant (under 20 minutes away).



7. Art Factory Play Cafe: We loved dropping in to the play cafe at Art Factory prior to the pandemic. Now that things are opening back up, Art Factory offers private play times that are 1 hour and 30 minutes for $60. You can go with just your family or invite friends - whatever you are comfortable with!


Check here for my full review.



8. Happy Palette: Located in Henrico, this art studio has classes for 1 year olds to teenagers. Happy Palette offers classes as a single class, as sessions and as pop ups. Children 6 to 15 years old can also participate in Happy Palette‘s open studio time where they have access to art supplies & create whatever they want!


Click here for my full review.


*Happy Palette is less than 10 minutes from Tuckahoe Creek Park, Henrico's Gayton Elementary School's playground & Short Pump Park.


9. Lowe's & Home Depot: We love visiting local home improvement stores to see the work vehicles, especially the small forklifts. This is such an easy activity because you can drop in whenever you need an easy adventure.




10. Cabela's & Bass Pro: This is another one of our easy activities & we usually explore for about an hour. We love watching the fish in the giant tanks, checking out the ATVS & boats, and counting the animals.




#rvamoms #rvakids #visitrichmondva

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