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.
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.
Go-Karts Plus has fueled fun-filled escapades for more than 20 years with its array of amusements, from the eponymous go-karts to the spinning thrill of the Disk’O’. Four different go-kart tracks provide a quartet of different opportunities to fulfill checkered-flag fantasies of winning Nascar championship titles or family bragging rights (tracks vary from three to five tickets per driver, one ticket per passenger). After the rubber has cooled to barely glowing embers, putt your way to glory on the waterfall-adorned mini golf course (five tickets per player), then wrap up the day of delirious diversions with games of air hockey and skee ball in the arcade (games cost one to four tokens each). Families with smaller thrill seekers can romp through Kiddieland's Crazy Elephant and Happy Kangaroo rides (two to three tickets each), and aqueous adventurers can take to the Blaster Bumper Boats (four tickets per driver and one ticket per passenger) to reenact famous water battles, such as the Monitor vs. the Merrimack or Fluffy the Cat vs. Wet Fur. Be sure to check the height requirements before you go, as they vary for each ride and are strictly enforced.
Owner Jessica Jones-Healey founded Tidewater Studios for the Arts Inc. in 2009 as a noncompetitive forum for kids to practice performing and visual arts. Winner of a 2011 Virginian-Pilot Reader's Choice Award for Best Dance Studio and Best Performing Arts Academy in Portsmouth, Western Branch, Churchland, and North Suffolk, the facility inspires children with engaging explorations into the joys of hand-made art, hand-played music, and hands-free dance.