It's been more than 25 years since American Rover raised its majestic red sails and floated out on its first narrated tour. From April to October of each year, the 135-foot schooner still journeys across the smooth waters of Hampton Roads Harbor and the Elizabeth River. As its flags ripple in the wind, the three-masted sailboat explores sights such as Old Fort Norfolk and the battleship Wisconsin. Its captain narrates each of these excursions and invites guests to take turns at the helm and man the sails.
At night, American Rover transforms into a floating party. Twinkling harbor lights, live musicians, and a fully stocked bar set the mood for birthday celebrations or everyday outings. Meanwhile, climate-controlled lounges hide passengers who have an awkward history with the man in the moon.
Performers feed off the energy of their audience, and when there is no audience, there is no energy. To stop this problem before it starts, venues turn to FillASeat, a business that supplies its members with tickets to events with a number of open seats left. Members enjoy a year of entry to popular shows, sporting events, comedy shows, and concerts, bulking up the audience more suitably than a litter of chihuahuas dressed in tuxedoes. Upon joining FillASeat, members receive access to a list of upcoming events, which range from large-scale productions to events at local restaurants, golf courses, and coffee houses.
A row of flags hangs in solidarity from the rafters above an indoor ice rink, uniting Canada, the USA, and Sweden in the one passion that they all have in common: hockey. Iceland of Hampton Roads fosters this love of icy sports in skaters of all ages and experience levels via youth hockey leagues, synchronized skating classes, and lessons, in which instructors introduce students as young as age 3 to their reflections in the ice. Both youths and adults compete in 20-game seasons in hockey leagues utilizing USA Hockey rules, and during synchronized skating classes, teams of 8 to 20 skaters choreograph complex skating formations, such as the parallel pinwheel—in which lines of skaters rotate in unison—or the flying V—which they use to head south for the winter.
Owner Jessica Jones-Healey founded Tidewater Studios for the Arts Inc. in 2009 as a noncompetitive forum for kids to practice performing and visual arts. Winner of a 2011 Virginian-Pilot Reader's Choice Award for Best Dance Studio and Best Performing Arts Academy in Portsmouth, Western Branch, Churchland, and North Suffolk, the facility inspires children with engaging explorations into the joys of hand-made art, hand-played music, and hands-free dance.
The Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in Portsmouth showcases 20 varieties of sport in a kid-friendly interactive environment. Spar with offspring in imbibing information about national pastimes such as basketball, baseball, football, soccer, auto racing, and auto racing-soccer. The exhibits focus on game-changing people, moments, and events in collegiate athletics, Olympic contenders, infamous moments, medicine and health, and the media. Admission for children aged 2 and younger is free.
The 5K run snakes its way through the beautiful, lush landscape of Norfolk Botanical Garden. Registration begins at 7 a.m., and on-site trainers from Onelife Fitness will happily assist with stretching prior to the 8 a.m. start. Though not included with today's Groupon, ForKids and Onelife will also host a 1-mile "Bud Run" for youngsters and 1/4-mile "Seedling Shuffle" for lil' tots after the 5K. Both are $10 per child.