Owned by school teacher and experienced fishing guide Tee Clarkson, Virginia Fishing Adventures leads reelers to prime fishing locales on the James and Rappahannock Rivers. The guides draw upon their extensive knowledge of the Richmond waterways and canoe rush hours during their guided trips that pay visits to little-known spots where smallmouth bass, sunfish, and striped bass converge. Personal lessons on fly fishing and casting are also available for youngsters and adults, as well as summer camps, after-school fishing programs, and non-fish-related mountain-biking excursions.
From its 57-slip floating dock on the shores of the James River, Rocketts Watersports Company rents out pontoons, fishing boats, and kayaks to prospective mariners. The comfortable marina provides space for boat owners to refuel, recharge on 30- and 50-amp power hookups, and wash off clinging squids at the complimentary showers. Day-trippers can rent out a pontoon or fishing vessel for eight-hour adventures on the river. Sporty boaters rent Bic, Surftech, and Tahoe standup paddleboards and kayaks, working out core and arm muscles as they drink in gorgeous Virginia vistas from their perch on the river.
One of the Science Museum of Virginia’s current exhibits includes a few basketball players—just don’t expect LeBron James or Kobe Bryant. These basketball players are two rats, playing a live one-on-one game to demonstrate operant and classical conditioning. Throughout the three-story museum, more hands-on examples of science await at five permanent exhibits. Inspect a rock from the moon, explore a life-size space capsule, and generate energy by pedaling a stationary bike. Kids can even build their own playground with materials such as mats and foam blocks.
Inside the IMAX Dome, a screen 10 times the size of a typical 35 mm screen shows a wide range of educational films. Outside the museum, plants in the BayScapes Garden thrive without pesticide, fertilizer, or the encouragement of a motivational speaker, and an onsite greenhouse offers free planting areas for visitors to contribute greenery and learn about sustainable farming.
Steve Wendt brings nearly 40 years of experience soaring the skies to his lessons at Blue Sky Virginia Hang Gliding's flight park, where he instructs gliders of all experience levels in launch methods ranging from training-hill foot launches to towing. Through personalized instruction in classes certified by the U.S. Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association, he hones flyers’ skills in solo and tandem hang-gliding and in piloting trikes and paragliders against elite racing pigeons. Using aero-towing, park staff members can tow pilots to heights of more than 2,000 feet, or get them airborne with platform and scooter towing.
Staff also outfit certified pilots and enthusiasts with a fleet of gliders from brands such as Aeros, Icaro 2000, Moyes, and North Wing, each made from aircraft-grade aluminum and Dacron sailcloth. In the event of regular wear and tear or run-ins with jealous paper airplanes, they can also sew sails, repair harnesses, and bend frames back into shape in a repair facility.
Praised in the Richmond Times-Dispatch for designing a 60,000-square-foot facility that resembles a country club as much as a shooting range, the owners of Colonial Shooting Academy strive to "capitalize on the social aspects of recreational shooting." The multilevel shooting range's 32 glass-paneled booths turn target shooting into a community experience. The range also hosts classes for every experience level, from the NRA FIRST Steps Pistol Orientation to a tactical-training program for law enforcement. At the academy’s gun shop, which resembles a high-end sporting-goods store, a gunsmith is on hand for repairs and a gun vault lets guests store their arms and their diaries. Facilities further extend to Mosaic Café Express, where chefs turn local, seasonal ingredients into dishes on their ever-changing menu.
For frequent guests, the academy offers membership options. The constitution membership, for example, grants privileges such as seven private shooting lanes and access to the lounge that sports leather couches, a pool table, and a fireplace below a flat-screen television that displays a digital fireplace.
XZone strives to keep teenagers active and engaged with a lineup of afterschool activities for all interests. Tae kwon do and judo instructors lead self-defense classes that teach patience and confidence, and referees keep paintball matches running smoothly on five large fields riddled with obstacles. Field names such as Spools, Smart Boxes, and Speedball clue players in to types of play. Kids learn how to coax melodies out of guitars and other instruments during 30-minute music lessons that teach fundamentals and more advanced techniques for students playing drums upside down for Mötley Crüe. Those with an itch for friendly indoor competition can head to XZone's game room or calm their hunger pangs with a bite from the café. The center balances sports with scholastic assistance for students in grades 6–12 with onsite tutoring services and a computer lab.
A comprehensive guide to attractions and things to do.