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10 Places for Train Lovers in Hampton Roads

My two guys are obsessed with trains. They wake up and play with trains before school; then we listen to Thomas the Train songs on the way to school. During school, they check out library books about trains, and when they get home, they race outside to ride on the play train in our backyard.  Here are ten places in Hampton Roads that all train lovers should see! 

01.  Lee Hall Train Depot: This museum stands at the Newport News Lee Hall train depot. Check their events for ones that kids will love, or visit and enjoy the whole children's room to yourself.

02. Railroad Museum of Virginia: Located in Portsmouth, this museum can be a little hard to find, because it is actually in a series of train cars. The museum is close to the downtown tunnel and is open Friday-Saturday from 10:00-4:00. 

03. U.S. Army Transportation Museum- This free museum is located on the Fort Eustis base, but it is open to the public. Stop and show your ID at the building to the right of the gate before you go in. There is a train yard outside full of different types of trains. 

04. Suffolk Seaboard Station Railroad Museum: This museum located in downtown Suffolk is a free stop for train lovers that has exhibits of railroad and Suffolk memorabilia. 

05. Children's Museum of Virginia- the Lancaster antiques are in display cases while a moving train exhibit represents different parts of Virginia. There are trains to play with also. 

06. Ride The Tide: Our train riding kiddos love to take the Tide around Norfolk. This is often an activity in itself for us, and since kids are free it's an inexpensive adventure! 

Limited Time: 

07. Selden Market: During the holidays check out Selden Market in downtown Norfolk where the Atlantic Coast "S" Gaugers set up their free hands on exhibit. The kids will want to push every button! 

08. Tidewater Big Train Operators 2021 Annual Holiday Train Display: This display is set up in the Avalon Church of Christ every Christmas season and is completely free for families to attend! 

09. World's Greatest Hobby on Tour: This tour travels to Hampton Roads annually and features 50,000 square feet of operation railroads. This tour can usually be found at the Hampton Roads Convention Center. 

10. WinterFest On The Wisconsin: Located down within the ship is a very cool train room which highlights some old school toys. 

Where to Ride: 

  • Busch Gardens: The train runs all  year, but has a special light show over the holidays.
  • Smokey Pokey II: Portsmouth City Park, runs seasonally 
  • Virginia Zoo Train: Runs most of the year, when weather is appropriate
  • Botanical Gardens: Tram runs spring-fall at the top of the hour. Included in admission
  • Barrel Train: This train travels around, but can be found many Saturdays at Hickory Ridge Farm 

Children's Museum of Richmond: Amtrak Exhibit

When I heard about Amtrak's new exhibit at the downtown Children's Museum in Richmond, I knew we had to check it out. The exhibit is small, but it has a train drawbridge which was exciting for the boys. Kids can climb aboard the train and sound the horn, drive the trains across the state on the Amtrak lines, play on the train table, and experiment with balancing load on train cars. 

Use your Children's Museum of Virginia membership to get in with a 50% discount. (I've stated before in previous posts that this can sometimes depend on who is working at the desk. I have been where they told me they wouldn't honor this. I've also been where they let us in for completely free. The rule should be 50% and they did follow that this time.) The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday 9:30-5:00. The museum has a new free parking garage just outside. Reservations are no longer required. 

A note about our visit, some changes have been made since our last post on this museum.  The splash pads have been taken out. Also the dinosaur dig part of the museum had nowhere to dig, rather was dinosaur statues to climb on. I'm not sure if either of these were because of Covid, but nothing has replaced these areas to date. 

I love that Children's  Museums offer ways to learn through play. The boys had a great time and asked us to go back and visit soon. 

Other posts on Richmond here: 

Virginia Museum of History & Culture

We were lucky enough to be in Richmond during the reopening of the Virginia Museum of History and Culture. The $30,000,000 renovation means a bigger building, more exhibition space, new exhibits, a new research library, and a new café and museum store.

It also means two new areas that for kids, Commonwealth Kids, about the changes in history through a child's point of view, and Commonwealth Explorers, which offers an exploration through play into Virginia's history. Here there is a store, a doctors section, mail carriers, and more. 

Stroll through the rest of the museum and checkout the changes in transportation over the years. Then stop in each region of Virginia to see the vast differences within our state. The museum is part of NARM, so you can use your Children's Museum of Virginia, or the Hermitage Museum membership to get in for free. 

Checkout some of our other Richmond posts here: 

Jungle Golf

We love to play tourist here in Hampton Roads. We headed down to the Oceanfront for the Purple Stride 5k and stopped by Jungle Golf. In addition to their 18 holes of outdoor mini-golf, there is an air conditioned game room. Jungle Golf has been in business for more than 40 years here in Virginia Beach and is open year round when the weather is nice. From Memorial Day to Labor Day they are open 24 hours most days. 

The café' sells fountain drinks, root beer floats, pretzels, popcorn, French fries, hot dogs, and ice cream. Snag a free popcorn with a drink coupon from the Monster Coupon Books all over the Oceanfront! 

Jungle Golf does offer birthday parties. They also offer a season pass with unlimited visits. They have their own parking lot, which is great for being at the oceanfront. When you pay the $14 to park, your game of golf, at the same cost, is free. Also, when you pay for a game you can play as many times as you'd like until 9 pm that night. 

She Works Hard for the Mommy: BBB

Excited today to be joined by Ceilidhe Brown for another She Works Hard for the Mommy. Ceilidhe works at the Better Business Bureau here in Hampton Roads and this is her report:

Being a mother is stressful because we are always worrying about our children. We strive to make sure they are well taken care of and that their lives are full of opportunities. Along with our children, we are very protective of everything we have and our assets. The one thing we don’t want is a company or business scamming us out of our hard earned money, which also takes away from our children's care. I feel very lucky to hold the position of Marketing Manager at the Greater Hampton Roads, Better Business Bureau. You might be wondering what is the BBB?

For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands, and charities they can trust. Millions of people turn to BBB each year to view BBB Business Profiles and Charity Reports, all available for free on BBB.org. BBB Accredited Businesses support the mission and vision of BBB, and their dues and contributions allow BBB to offer its information and services to consumers at no charge. The Better Business Bureau is not affiliated with any governmental agency.

You might wonder if every business can be accredited and do businesses have to file a guideline? Our Standards of Accreditation are built on our BBB Standards for Trust. The BBB Standards for Trust, eight principles that summarize important elements of creating and maintaining trust in business, are a comprehensive set of best practices for how businesses should treat the public in a fair and honest manner. Businesses with a good marketplace track record, including maintaining a B or better rating, may apply to become a BBB Accredited Business.

When wondering if a business is accredited or not, you can always check to see if they are displaying their seal or on https://www.bbb.org/searchAnother awesome feature bbb.org has is company reviews but “Unlike most review sites, BBB requires consumers to provide their name and shares this information with the business to confirm the interaction and prompt a response. This and other measures help maintain the integrity of BBB’s customer reviews by reducing the incidence of fake reviews”. (bbb.org)

BBB also stays up to date with scams in your area with the Scam Tracker, which allows users to use the interactive map to find scams and potential scams.

Like I said, being a mom is hard work and the last thing we want to worry about is getting our money and time taken and being left with a feeling of uneasiness. Hurray for the BBB!