Virginia is not only for Lovers, it’s for Families too!
Over the weekend our family took a weekend getaway to the Shenandoah Region and had a fantastic time! For the first time, there was no real planning involved, we just knew that we were going and we’d figure it out along the way. I’ve always wanted to do something so adventurous but I never thought it would be while traveling with 2 toddlers! We were just thinking, “Keep Calm and Travel On!” Anywho, we did know that we were going to the Virginia Safari Park in Natural Bridge but that was it. No hotel booked, no planned out restaurants to visit, and no must see tourist attractions! Here’s how it went:
Day 1: We set out to Lexington, VA and practically booked a hotel along the way. It’s only about 10 or 11 miles from the Virginia Safari Park and seem to have better hotel options. I also spoke to someone who had visited there and they assured me that settling there for the night was a winner. Once we arrived we figured that we’d hit the movies to see Disney’s Pixar #InsideOut at R/C State Cinema 3 in what seemed to be in the middle of downtown. An old CLASSIC with a vintage marquee listing all 3 movies in rotation. It was cute and clean but the cost was quite high in my book. The tickets were $8 and the cost for movie snacks were comparable to what we pay in the DMV. I guess we paid for the experience. To refrain from being marked as the “spoiler alert,” all that I can say that is that it’s a movie that the whole family should see. Lexington also has a drive in movie theater, Hull’s Drive-In Theater, that I hear is really cool too!
Day 2: We arrived at the Virginia Safari Park with everyone in the car exploding with excitement of what was to come. The park offers two attractions in one, a drive through safari excursion (or wagon excursion) and a petting zoo. Of course we decided to take the drive thru adventure first! Right at the entrance of the gate we were greeted by a herd of Lama and a few deer and an ostrich. I must admit that it was a bit overwhelming but we were determined to go for the gusto! With all 4 windows rolled down, we stuck out our food buckets and welcomed the animals to our car. In 2.5 seconds, I rolled my window up and before I knew it a Lama slobbered on my daughter’s arm. SHE WAS DONE!! We have never been so close to animals of this size and I’m still not sure how I feel about it (I’m just saying, it’s really close to living outside with them). The park has about 180 acres of land and I’m sure we saw and fed just about all the species there! The village walk thru (petting zoo) was great and included a walk in the kangaroo exhibit, a budgie adventure aviary and a giraffe feeding station. The experience was amazing and is a definite must do for families with or without kids (seriously)!
Tickets: $17.95 for adults, $11.95 for children (2-12); Food Buckets $3.50 per bucket or 4 for $12 (get the 4 buckets, you’ll need it)
Day 3: We headed to Harrisonburg to let the kids let loose at the Explore More Discovery Museum. We really enjoyed it there. Suited for children 1-12 the museum had plenty of interactive exhibits like the Construction Zone filled with Keva planks, a full size operation game in the Health Center, a real TV Studio and my favorite, the Virginia Theater! Complete with a full stage, a spot light, costumes, make up and sound effects, freaking awesome! There wasn’t many people there so we were able to do everything in about 3 hours. I think it would have been longer had we let them mosey along going back to specific exhibits more than once. We loved that admission was only $6 for everyone and was good all day long!
And there you have it…. We had an incredible weekend getaway in the Shenandoah Region and look forward to doing it again soon! Add our list of attractions to your family’s bucket list.
Don’t forget to check out our Southern Maryland Family Adventure list too!