Before visitors to the Virginia Museum of Natural History greet any tour guides or scientists, they have to meet the doorman?a towering allosaurus skeleton looming just inside the glass-walled main entrance. Once inside the Hall of Ancient Life, they peer into tall windows to see scientists and their assistants cleaning, categorizing, and playing catch with each animal fossil. Though founded less than 30 years ago as a private foundation, the museum and its staff have assembled more than 10 million specimens in seven collections, which cover vertebrate paleontology, marine science, geology, and archaeology.
At the Uncovering Virginia exhibit, recreations of six Virginia research and dig sites draw visitors into 700 million years of local history. Interactive displays include the modern Grundy site coal mine, complete with tracks, carts, and buildings. When visitors push a button, the display shifts?altering through video animation and changing physically as museum curators channel the power of Zeus?to reveal what the site looked like as a 300 million-year-old swamp. The Hahn Hall of Biodiversity looks into the world of African animals, boasting full-body mounts of a lion and antelopes. Dinosaurs and Dinosaur Discovery brings in skeletal casts of dinosaurs displayed alongside a dinosaur-themed maze to puzzle children, adults, and adult-sized children.
Alice Farmer cares so much about healthy, plant-based products that she's spent years of her life searching for them. At Life to Live Wellness Center, Farmer shares her extensive knowledge with clients through a variety of holistic services. From detoxifying body wraps to infrared-sauna sessions, each service aims to rejuvenate the body from head to toe. Ionic footbaths help draw out toxins, whereas facials incorporate natural herbal masks and infrared light for maximum results.
Tucked inside Just Breathe Yoga and Bodywork is Heather Shivley Massage, where the veteran massage therapist soothes clients aches and pains. Heather specializes in Swedish, deep-tissue, and hot-stone massages. She also takes a special interest in future mothers, offering prenatal massages to ease pregnancy pains and fertility massages, which incorporate deep pelvic work, visualization techniques, and craniosacral holds to increase the chances of conception.
No two cities ever host the same Critical Mud 5K event. Though the race distance stays the same, the event planners litter each race with an ever-changing number of obstacles pulled from a pool of more than 150, giving runners in each city a completely different experience. Some courses might threaten competitors with slippery hills and murky rivers, while others might challenge them to traverse sticky mud bogs and climb up ropes, validating their many years of never skipping gym class. Each event is open to racers as young as 14, but the Little Mudder’s fun run give kids ages 4–13 a chance to get dirty as well. In the spectator areas, family, friends, and supporters can cheer on runners while staying clean.