Like Superman's secret North Pole fortress, SkateNation Plus brings the excitement with lasers, arcade games, and 17,000 square feet of glassy ice worth gliding upon. Its regulation NHL–size rink serves as a venue for public skating sessions, in addition to figure-skating lessons, hockey games, and ice-dancing performances. More than 40 games in its onsite arcade whir with a flurry of tickets, and a full spectrum of prizes awaits quick-handed winners at the redemption counter. During laser-tag sessions, the Lasertron computer spontaneously upgrades players with such power-ups as "energizer" or "force field," which protects against enemy blasts more effectively than a lead vest or full-length mirror.
The Cultural Arts Center devotes its 50,300-square-foot facility to preserving and kindling the artistic flame, bringing in unique performers, conducting one-of-a-kind workshops, and purveying local and specialty goods. Experience the Fab Four infused with bluegrass, jazz, and classical with April 8 tickets to beatlegras ($25 per ticket), a string-picking Beatles-covering trio that proves that John and Paul's differences would have been best resolved with dueling banjos. Bring the family on May 14 to listen to ventriloquist comedian Lynn Trefzger throw her voice around the spacious, resonant theater with her madcap, audience-interactive lip-schtick ($15 per ticket). The gift card can also be used toward facility rentals for anything from a royal wedding reception in the cardinal ballroom to the rehearsal studio where Dirty Dancing and tumbling routines are perfected (price and availability vary).
Kings Dominion boasts family entertainment ranging from thrill rides to kids' areas, a water park, and live entertainment. Over 17 roller coasters and high speed attractions await groups, such as the all new Windseeker, which plants riders on a 301-foot tower in swings that travel up to 30 miles per hour. A Peanuts themed kids' area entertains with Snoopy rides and discount psychiatric advice, while a 20-acre water park includes high-speed water slides, lazy rivers, and dual wave pools. Guests seeking to take a break can sit back to watch live entertainment, or prepare for zombie uprisings with the Kings Dominion annual Halloween Haunt.
At the age of 5, Helen Messenger decided to run away. It wasn't the lure of Hollywood stardom or the call of the big city that drew her: it was the gentle demeanor of a horse pulling a wagon full of goods for sale. After that first encounter, Messenger's passion for horses melded with her eventual career as a pediatric nurse working with children and adults with special needs. As the president and founder of Mesa Vista Therapeutics (MVT), she introduces people of all ages and abilities to the joys of horseback riding. Messenger has partnered with veterinarian Dr. Courtney Belden, equine enthusiast Caitlin Woolwine, and massage therapy and acupuncture practitioners who cater to the needs of both horses and humans.
At MVT's SAS Center—a riding facility with an outdoor arena, indoor ring, 20 stalls, and two viewing areas—instructors train people with and without conditions such as autism, cerebral palsy, and spinal-cord injuries in the basics of riding. Therapeutic lessons help to improve riders' range of motion, muscle tone, balance, and self-confidence. The MVT program has participated in Special Olympics Virginia and Therapeutic Riding Association of Virginia horse shows, and is a North American Riding for the Handicapped Association–certified center.
The team also offers advanced instruction in hunter-seat, dressage, and Western riding, as well as boarding services for horses or motorcycles with active imaginations. As a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, the compassionate team relies upon the generosity of volunteers and community donors.
As owner and head trainer of Diamond P Stables, Tammy Parker imparts more than 25 years of equestrian experience to her staff of boarders, championship riders, and gentle trainers. Riders of all experience levels receive equal attention on the ranch, whether they're just stepping into the stirrups for the first time or have already replaced their saddle with a reclining armchair. During her years of teaching for a variety of styles and breeds, Ms. Parker has produced numerous riding champions and dealt extensively with misbehaving broncos and show horses alike. Visitors can experience the thrill of horseback through daily trail rides, exploring the nearby fields and trails and listening to mares' nostalgic tales of their home planet, Equestrion.
The White House of the Confederacy constituted the social, political, and military headquarters of Confederate States of America President Jefferson Davis during the Civil War. Later named a National Historic Landmark, the building still stands today. Daily guided tours lead guests through the grand 19th-century structure, which houses more than half its original wartime furnishings.
The White House is only steps away from The Museum of the Confederacy's Richmond location, where a core exhibit chronicles the Confederacy from its beginnings to General Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. Opened 25 years after that fateful event, the nonprofit museum displays artifacts from a collection of more than 15,000 items. They include Stonewall Jackson's sword, a letter from Pope Pius IX, and all the pennies Jefferson Davis etched his face onto in his spare time.
Meanwhile, another 400 artifacts adorn the permanent exhibit at the museum's Appomattox location. Here, a dozen audiovisual stations, parole lists, and the uniform coat worn by Lee illustrate the event that brought the Civil War to a close.