This weekend we took advantage of the zoo membership swap and checked out the Nauticus museum in downtown Norfolk. I hadn't been to Nauticus in years, since my high school prom was located there in fact, but I remembered that there were some touch tanks and lots and lots of history about the navy.  I'm admittedly not too into naval history, so I wasn't sure what to expect for a toddler going in, but I figured it was worth checking out.
The tour actually begins on the third floor of the museum. This has exhibits on exports, Jamestown, horseshoe crabs, sharks, and weather. There were significantly more things there for children than I even remembered. There were boats to climb on and in, building tables, magnetic fish for fishing, and an interactive floor projector. R actually touched the horseshoe crab! Like... with one finger, for one second.

The second floor housed the Hampton Roads Naval Museum and the entrance to the Battleship Wisconsin. This ship served in World War II, Korea, and Desert Storm. Children have to be 8 years and up for the interior tour of the Wisconsin, and I couldn't see us pushing a stroller through it anyways so we skipped it, but we did check out the Naval Museum. It had a craft for kids and a little kid's corner with books for boat loving kids.

The first floor had a cafe and the gift shop, but was a little crazy because there was an egg drop competition happening while we were there.

Some general info:

  • Open Memorial Day-Labor Day (Summer) 10:00-5:00. Current hours: Closed on Mondays, but open Tues-Sat 10:00-5:00, Sunday noon-5:00. 
  • Admission: The Gold ticket is $35.95 for adults and $31.50 kids 4-12. The basic ticket is $15.95 for adults and $11.50 for children 4-12. The difference is with the gold you get a guided tour of the interior battleship. There are discounts for seniors and military. Both include the 3D movies. 
  • Zoo membership swap is happening for the month of April for Nauticus  If you have their membership, check out the zoo for free. If you're like us and have a zoo membership, check out Nauticus for free. Zoo members, be sure to check back here for monthly swaps! 
  • Although this is an indoor museum, there are lots of outdoor things to do. There are observation decks, walkways to the Battleship Wisconsin, and outdoor pavilions. Dress appropriately. 
  • There are several theaters throughout the building:
    • Science On a Sphere- 10:30 and 3:00
    • Living River Hidden World- weekdays 11:30 
    • Great Guns of Fire 12:30
    • High Seas- 4:00  
    • 3D movie: Secret Ocean 11:00 and 2:00
    • 3D movie: Aircraft Carrier 12:30 and 3:30 
  • Other things to do: 
    • Knot tying- 11:00 am 
    • Fire suppression- weekends, 1:30
    • ROV workshop- 2:30 
    • Signal flags- 11:30 am 
    • Shark Lab touch times- 11:00, 1:00, 3:00, 
  • Nauticus has summer sailing camps and an after school sailing academy 
  • You can spend the night on the Battleship Wisconsin 
  • There is also a Battleship Wisconsin escape room 
  • You can rent out parts of Nauticus for events (like my prom!), and you can also rent the Half Moone Center right next door. 
Some upcoming events:
Gettin' Frisky on the Wiskey Funraiser- May 12
Mother's Day Special Offer- May 13
Party on the Pier- May 24

Afterward we went to Hell's Kitchen and grabbed some lunch. Lots of veggie options if you're in downtown and looking!