Julie Fabing Burleson and Suzy Vinson Nettles feel that the kitchen is just another place for kids to flex their creativity. They opened Young Chefs Academy to provide kids aged 3–18 with cooking programs targeted to preschoolers and kindergarteners, elementary schoolers, and older kids ready for trickier techniques and intricate recipes. Regardless of a student’s age, he or she is always taught the pillars of home cooking, including how to be safe in the kitchen, how to properly handle and prepare food, how to bake, and how to talk down an oven that constantly overheats. While participating in the entertaining cooking lessons, kids may not even realize that each class also allows them to practice their math, reading-comprehension, and communication skills.
The waterpark's family-friendly layout is set up with 16 waterslides, a one-million-gallon wave pool, stately palm trees, a water playground, and water. The park's newest attractions, Pirates' Plummet and Walk the Plank, are covered/open-air 200-foot-long flowing slides that end with a 50-foot photo-worthy plunge into the depths of a pool below. Go tubular in the Runaway Bay Wave Pool or the whitewater Jungle Falls. The Hurricane, a swirling slide that is under rising pressure until a final drop dumps you in a pool, is the perfect place to test if sewing your passport into your appendix keeps it safe.
Anticipation. That's arguably the most heart-pounding thing about Griffon, a towering dive coaster and one of the premiere attractions at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Suspense builds right to the top of its 205-foot hill, which sends riders over a cliff-like 90-degree drop. The coaster hurtles down at 75 miles per hour, before it levels out at a splash zone. Beyond these big-kid rides, Busch Gardens Williamsburg caters to youngsters with its KIDsiderate Attractions, such as the Land of Dragons and Sesame Street Forest of Fun. The latter surrounds little ones in playgrounds and kid-friendly rides, along with chances to meet with Sesame Street characters.
For even more entertainment, Busch Gardens Williamsburg also boasts multiple venues for both indoor and outdoor shows such as Entwined: Tales of Good and Grimm. Each area of the park also offers shopping and dining to match its region's theme. The theme park also includes several exhibits where nature lovers can learn about animals such as hedgehogs, macaw parrots, and gray wolves.
Kangaroo Jac's avenue of inflatable structures bustles with giggling swarms of children 10 and younger. During walk-in play, youngsters milk the all-access admission by repeatedly plummeting down the safe but steep fortress slide, hurdling over obstacles in the crossover course, and exploring the expansive Koombo Kombo—a two-story, inflatable dreamscape, elaborate enough to house a balloon animal Citizen Kane. Abiding by the facility's core values to provide "hassle-free birthdays," staff members help organize and clean up after parties, hosted in a private room where each child can gorge themselves on pizza, drinks, and birthday wishes.
The parent area's TVs and WiFi keeps adults up-to-date on national news, whereas the toddler area and MagicLand bounce zone keeps tots up to date on local gibberish. Throughout the year, Kangaroo Jac's supports the community by donating to local organizations and hosting dedicated playtime for children with special needs.
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.
In a 2011 interview with the Rocky Mount Telegram, George Millar reveals he has been a facilitating fun for a long time. "Soccer wasn't in existence when we started," he points out, and neither were home video games. Noticing a dearth of places in his hometown where kids and families could safely enjoy themselves, he put his skills as a professional contractor to work. In 10 outdoor batting cages, he installed pitching machines that sling baseballs and softballs from T-ball speeds up to 80 miles per hour. Next, he and his crew of five guys—all of whom are still operating the business today—built an 18-hole mini-golf course modeled after those in Myrtle Beach, designing a path that winds past waterfalls, natural plantings, and tricky bunkers filled with saltwater taffy. An arcade blares with games and the crack of pool balls ricocheting inside, and an elephant-shaped inflatable bounce house bobs with jumpers inside until they come zipping out down its slide.