Whether they're living legends or heroes of ages past, Virginia's many athletic icons get their due in this monument to greatness. Visitors can get the skinny on all of the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame's inductees from their multimedia displays, while the rest of museum pays testament to the commonwealth's athletic history, hometown teams, and the joy of playing sports.
G-Force Karts boasts a massive, all-indoor facility that provides entertainment in any weather. The twists and curves of the indoor karting track challenge drivers of any age. Adults can tear through turns in custom-built GT 5 karts, while kids can get a taste of speed in the safety-conscious junior karts. Not far from the track lies the inflatables area, where kids can bounce and slide in single- and dual-lane obstacle courses while parents watch from central tables. The newest indoor entertainment, though, is G-Force's paintball arena. The staff provide every player with all the tools they need, including guns that fire softer, less-messy z-balls.
Duckpin bowling is a little like ten-pin bowling, in that there are ten pins. But as patrons at Victory Lanes have been discovering since 1984, that's about where the similarities end. Between the shorter pins and the smaller, finger hole-free ball, it's a bit tougher to roll a strike in this game. But that's why players at this classic alley roll three times per turn, unlike the two shots you see in ten-pin bowling or the zero shots you see in magician-only bowling.
Twelve acres of lush greenery welcome guests to the Hermitage Museum and Gardens' graceful grounds and turn-of-the-century Tudor mansion, which hosts an eclectic collection of arts and crafts spanning more than 5,000 years. Your membership permits unlimited exploration of William and Florence K. Sloane's vast permanent collection, scattered throughout 42 of their home's elegant walnut, oak, and teak rooms. Take a look at a treasure trove of ancient Chinese ceremonial bronzes and mingqi (tomb figures), Indian Chola bronze statues, European ceramics and paintings, or needlepoint representations of the Little Rascals as adults. Avid art collectors, the Sloane family dedicated 50 years to spreading their passion for craftioneering to the community and helped break ground for the nearby Chrysler Museum.
Before visitors to the AZA-accredited Virginia Zoo see any of its live animals, a life-size statue of an African elephant greets them. The zoo's 53 acres of landscaped grounds have welcomed new sculptures, enclosures, and eco-friendly innovations in recent decades that build on a 100-year legacy of conservation.
Mammals such as African lions and kangaroos, birds such as rhino hornbills and African crowned cranes, and a variety of snakes and amphibians roam themed habitats—some of which are interactive or equipped with viewing bubbles that protect visitors from any monkeys with paintball guns. Visitors can view these protected creatures by walking or by taking a narrated ride on the Zoo Train, a one-third scale working model of a C.P. Huntington steam engine. Zoo staffers work to preserve 16 of the resident species through cooperative breeding, field projects, and reintroduction initiatives as part of the AZA's Species Survival Programs.
Each year, Virginia Zoo staff and volunteers work together to design and plant 10 themed gardens filled with colorful exotic plants, many of which are given as treats to their 400 animals. In the garden, visitors can learn about composting, using rain barrels, and ticketing littering garden gnomes. Projects, such as recycling old tires into planters and industrial spools into stepping stones, teach children about reuse, too. The zoo also builds on its conservation efforts with an array of environmental conservation programs. Staffers use only natural rainfall and drip irrigation to water the gardens, establish rain gardens to absorb runoff, and educate visitors on environmentally friendly gardening practices in the eco-garden—earning the zoo a designation as a Virginia Green attraction.
Staff Size: 2?10 people
Average Duration of Services: 1?2 hours
Parking: Parking lot
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Recommended Age Group: All Ages
Four stories above Community Beach, a lone adventurer looks down at the challenge before her. She holds her breath and lets go, the wind lifting her hair as she takes a 170-foot-long trip down the giant inflatable Ocean View Waterslide, which overlooks the Chesapeake Bay. Below, her family cheers from their perches in rented beach chairs that sit in the shade of oversized umbrellas. Others nearby munch on treats from one of the local food trucks.
Guests can also hang out under Community Beach's covered pavilion or at the picnic tables. For added convenience, the area is equipped with outdoor showers and public restrooms.