Visitors to the 72-foot-tall Old Cape Henry Lighthouse enjoy a day amid the rich, salty Chesapeake Bay air, exploring a towering remnant of America's early post-colonial government. Originally constructed from Aquia stone in 1792, the John McComb–designed structure was commissioned by Alexander Hamilton to protect important America-bound ships and incinerate incoming French snowballs. Today, budding historians traverse the lighthouse's rustic environs, soundtracked by the rocky crash of waves and the insightful loquations of their friendly tour guide before clambering up the cast-iron spiral stairs and drinking in the lucky lantern's daily view. Multiple Groupons may be purchased to provide a convenient group outing for families or feral packs of dog-boys. Tours shove off seven days a week beginning at 10 a.m. Check online for specific site closures.
Walking across the dock to Nauticus, visitors' eyes are inevitably drawn to the sleeping giant nestled up alongside it: the 850-foot battleship Wisconsin. One of the largest battleships ever built by the United States Navy, its massive, 16-inch guns lent their firepower to WWII, Korea, and Operation Desert Storm. The hulking warship is now retired, its gigantic mass a testament to both its immense power and the strength of the open ocean whose waves it once plied.
This dichotomy between peaceful repose and thundering wrath is fully embraced by Nauticus, immersing visitors in exhibits that explore the ocean and man’s use of it at their most peaceful and destructive. On the Wisconsin, visitors can tour crew messes and officer lounges, getting a taste of naval life. Inside the center, permanent exhibits include Our Mighty Seaport, which delves into Norfolk's busy maritime commerce, with real-time updates on ships sailing past and an observation deck overlooking the port. Turning to nature, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Science on a Sphere exhibit simulates extreme weather conditions on a 6-foot video sphere. In Horseshoe Crab Cove, visitors can pet starfish, crabs, and sea urchins without having to take turns with nearby seagulls.
Following Memorial Day weekend, the Nauticus will host new features to their exhibits such as access to new interior areas of the battleship [Wisconsin], including the chapel, post office, a section of enlisted berthing, and dental office, a WWII era song and dance revue, and an interactive top secret mission on board the ship.
On your hour-long copiloted flight, leave the small world behind to coast aloft on an adventure of atmospheric exploration. How you use your time is up to you; spend some of the time piloting the mechanical bird or signal your cockpit companion to take over while you enjoy the high-altitude views. With no predetermined flight pattern, choose to fly over the coastline in search of pre-Columbian strip-mall fortifications, or simply breeze through the clouds in pursuit of undiscovered powerup blocks.
United Social Sports brings recreational athletes together to socialize and showcase their hand-eye coordination. Free agents or team-sized groups register for the organization’s casual coed leagues dedicated to traditional sports such as softball and volleyball as well as carnival games such as cornhole and skee-ball. Each league hosts 6–8 weekly matches, which culminate in a final tournament and an end-of-season party—much like youth-sports leagues, but with postgame drink specials.
Josh knew the first treasure hunt he set up was a success when he saw the happy look in his three younger brothers' eyes as they uncovered the final treasure chest. Based on Josh's clues, the younger Schwabs had just gleefully trekked across Warrenton, Virginia, and into the Shenandoah Mountains in search of their goal. But the event was more than just a fun way to spend the day: it also gave them inspiration at a time when the future felt grim, as their mother was undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Although that has since become a fond memory of a good day, it's also warmly remembered by the family as the catalyst that led Josh to establish Ravenchase Adventures, where he now sets up just such engaging hunts for the public.
Now Ravenchase is an event company that offers pre-set and custom treasure hunts and adventure races. As the company has grown, Josh's team has even set up events for a variety of well-known clients, from DreamWorks Studios to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. But regardless of who participates, he and his dedicated staff ensure each two- to three-hour adventure is filled with brainteasers, mysterious clues, and baffling ciphers. Each solved clue leads the groups across town with treasure maps. Fun prizes await at their final destination. In an effort to give back to the community, the company also set up the nonprofit Ravenchase Foundation, which supports organizations that inspire and teach tolerance for history, logic, and the arts.
Peninsula Fine Arts Center isn't a passive art museum where guests stare silently at paintings and statues. Instead, the center uses rotating exhibitions of paintings, photographs, and pottery to inspire visitors to create their own artwork. To that end, the exhibiting artists often teach in the center's Studio Art School. Classes range from single-day workshops to 10-week sessions, during which instructors might teach small groups to paint with watercolors or change out a flat pottery wheel. The instructors keep their schedule balanced, leading classes that suit all ages and skill levels. Other classes, such as Little Helping Hands Adventure in Clay, let kids and adults create artwork together.
Kids don't need to sign up for classes to try out their art skills, however. In the Hands On for Kids interactive gallery, young patrons draw on a chalkboard wall, build with blocks, and complete various projects inspired by the exhibitions.
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