• The West End Mom

Trucks, Trains, Ships & Planes around Richmond

Updated: Aug 29

If your family is anything like mine then your kids are huge fans of anything that moves, anything that is big, and anything that is loud (sometimes we need our earmuffs)! Luckily, the Richmond metro area offers so many places for children to see trucks, trains, ships and planes. The best part? Most of these Richmond area spots are outside, and they are free to visit!


Here's my guide to finding all the things that go around Richmond, Virginia:


1. Ashland, Virginia: Located less than 30 minutes from Richmond, Ashland provides a quaint atmosphere with lots for families to see & explore. It’s a Virginia Main Street Community, and the highlight for little ones is the trains! With the tracks going right through town, you are guaranteed to see a cargo or passenger train! Over 60 trains come through the town in 24 hours & there is usually at least one per an hour. ⁣ There are plenty of spots to park around the town. We usually park right at the station in front of Henry Clay Inn.


Ashland Station: This historic train station is located on 112 N Railroad Ave in Ashland. There are picnic tables and benches outside the train station. We also enjoy packing our own lunch & having a picnic under the trees on Randolph Macon’s campus or eating at Homemades by Suzanne. Both spots have front row seats to all the trains coming through Ashland's station.


Ashland Museum: The Ashland Museum is an easy walk from the train station & offers tours of the red caboose! You can go inside the caboose on Saturdays 10-2 & Sundays 1-3.⁣


North Ashland's Railside Trail: Ashland's Railside Park is a perfect spot for lunch & running around while watching for trains! It’s a one acre green space with parking, picnic tables and benches. It also has a 1/3 mile paved path from the park to Vaughan Road.  


*Check here for my full review.


2. Chesterfield County Airport: This airport is located at 7511 Airfield Drive in Chesterfield County. We like this airport because you can watch the activity on the 5,500-foot runway from inside the airport or outside of the airport. King's Korner restaurant is also at the airport, and you can enjoy your meal while watching the planes!


Richmond Executive Aviation: Located at Chesterfield County Airport, REA provides aeronautical services, aircraft storage & rentals as well as flight instruction. If your children aren’t ready to participate in their flight school, they can still meet pilots & see airplanes up close. On our *free* tour of Richmond Executive Aviation , we were able to walk across the runway, visit the airplane hangar, watch mechanics work on small aircraft & meet pilots. The highlight of our visit was sitting in a 2007 Diamond D 40 aircraft & chatting with Maggie & Nick, our pilots & tour guides.  


*Check here for my full review.


3. Hanover County Municipal Airport: Located in Ashland, this airport is under 30 minutes from Richmond. There are over 100 aircraft vehicles based at this airport, and there are about 80 aircraft operations a day! Most of the aircraft vehicles are parked outside, so you can see them at any time during the day.  


*Check here for my full review.


4. Hunton Community Center & Park: Located off Old Washington Highway, this Henrico park has a community center, athletic fields, a picnic shelter & two playgrounds. We like this park because the parking lot is right next to the playgrounds, making it a really easy walk with children, and it is next to the *railroad tracks*!! If you check out Amtrak's"Track my Train," you can time your park play around the train schedule!


*Check here for my full review.


5. Local Fire Stations: Did you know you could tour your local station? We had so much fun visiting the fire station last week. During our 30 minute tour, we got to see the gym, the kitchen, and the fire trucks! Our four under four crew *loved* meeting the firefighters & sitting in the trucks. Thank you to Henrico Fire Station 13 for all you do & thank you so much for a fun + educational visit! Keep an eye on health safety guidelines.


*Check here for my full review.


6. John B. Cary Elementary School: We always pass this school on the way to Maymont & my preschooler begs to stop & play! This City of Richmond Public School‘s playground has 3 play structures, lots of green space & a red caboose. It is also less than 5 minutes from Byrd Park & Maymont. You can play here whenever school is not in session, typically after 3 pm on the week days and on weekends.


*Check here for my full review.


7. Keystone Truck & Tractor Museum: Located in Colonial Heights, this truck & tractor museum is so much fun to explore. There are over 200 trucks & tractors on display, a toy shop & a restaurant. The museum also hosts birthdays parties. It's open 7 days a week from 9-5. Admission costs $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $5 for active military + students (6-17) & children under 5 are free.  


This museum is 6 minutes from Swaders Sports Park which has go karts!


*Check here for my full review.


8. Main Street Station: Located in the City of Richmond, this historic train station is a must visit for little ones & big kids. While it opened in 1901, Main Street Station got a major expansion in 2017 & Visit Virginia‘s official Welcome Center is on the first floor! It’s free to visit 7 days a week & this is one of our favorite indoor adventures in the city.


*Check here for my full review.


9. Mid-Lothian Mines Park: Located in Chesterfield, this 44 acre park offers paved walking trails, a tunnel, wildlife, a lake and bridges. This is a great park for scooters and bikes, too. What makes this park so unique is that it is where the first commercially mined coal came from in 1701. Throughout the park, there are signs explaining the cut stone ruins, coal mining & industrial revolution⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣, and a train mural on the side of a tunnel!


*Check here for my full review.


10. RF & P Park: Located in Glen Allen, this athletic park is located next to Crump Park. There are trails, tennis courts, a football field, and baseball fields, including The Glen Allen Stadium. There’s lots of parking, side walks + places to run around. Most importantly, there are four restored RF&P train cars, perfect for train lovers!⁣⁣⁣


*Check here for my full review.


11. Richmond International Airport: Located in Varina, this is one of the first spots we started visiting to see airplanes. We used to visit Richmond International Airport on rainy days to watch the planes, but with indoor viewing a little bit tricky right now, I got creative. We found two spots at the airport that are social distancing friendly, outside, and easy to access. We seen a bunch of airplanes take off, and we've seen private jets load and take off, plus lots of airport busyness!   


*Check here for my full review.


12. Riverfront Canal Cruises: In the heart of downtown Richmond, you can ride on an authentic canal boat through the Kanawha Canal. These 40 minute tours are available on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. During your tour, you'll learn about the history of the James River and the canal - this is a unique educational experience for elementary students through adults. Tours cost $10 for adults, $6 for seniors and children (5-12) and children 4 and under are free.


This was our first outing as a family of four, and we brought two children who were under two. We planned a “things that go” Saturday: we visited Main Street Station, had lunch at Bottoms Up pizza, walked to the canal and went on a Canal Cruise . The walk from MSS took us about five minutes while holding the kids.


My 2 year old loved seeing the railroad tracks, especially the Triple Crossing railroad. We even saw a couple of cargo trains pass by while we were on the boat. He also liked seeing the busyness of the Virginia Capital Trail, the Low Line gardens and the wildlife on the James River. We saw so many turtles!


*Check here for my full review.


13. Staples Mill Station: Located in Henrico County, this station is the busiest Amtrak station in the Southeast! Our favorite thing about this station is the visibility of the trains from outside! You can watch next to the fence or in your car on rainy days.  We use Amtrak's"Track my Train" to make sure we see a train during our visit.


*Check here for my full review.


14. Tyler Potterfield Bridge: Located in the City of Richmond, this is one of the most beautiful walking spots in Richmond! We have been enjoying this walk since our son was just a baby. I like it because it isn't as loud as the pedestrian bridge to get to Belle Isle, and you still get the beautiful views of the river, the boats, the city, and train tracks. There's also a climbing wall that is really fun for children to see.


Parking is relatively easy. You can park by Tredegar Iron Works or on the southside of the bridge near the SunTrust building. The trail is mostly flat, but there are a few inclines. People walk their dogs, ride bikes & scooters, and rock climb all along this trail. There are porta potties by Brown's Island. It's free to visit, too.


*Looking for a day trip? Check out the Historic Triangle. You can visit a ship themed playground in Williamsburg or drive on the Jamestown Ferry.


Veterans Park: This 19 acre park is less than 10 minutes from Colonial Williamsburg . There’s open green space, basketball courts, pickleball courts, sand volleyball courts, picnic shelter & Kidsburg! This playground is 30,000 square feet and it's ship themed! Kidsburg is really fun - it has an area for big kids, a fenced in play area for little kids, and it has a zip line!


*Check here for my full review.


Jamestown Ferry: Located between historic Jamestown & Jamestown Beach, this ferry is free to ride! It takes about 30 minutes to cross the James River to Surry County. This is a fun ride to add on to your visit to Jamestown Beach, the settlement or to College Run Farms and Chippokes Plantation State Park.


Check here for my full review.


Don't forget to tag @thewestendmom and #thewestendmom in your adventures! I love seeing all the fun your family has!

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