Voyage To The Deep

The fantasy world of Captain Nemo's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea has come to Nauticus in the Voyage to the Deep exhibit. Climb into the Escape Hatch and slide down or climb into a bunk for a rest.  Crank the motor or move switches to turn on essential functions before you climb up into the tower for a better view. Steer the ship... it's harder than it seems. Everywhere you look there are things to climb, touch, or explore. Open the drawers and see what you can find! 
Around  the perimeter of the exhibit Nauticus staff has set up stations for kids to see, including an underwater robot to steer and an inside look at the "toothbrushes" that clean the Battleship Wisconsin. Due to strict, constant cleaning protocols, the museum had to close most of the rest of the museum, but the bridge remains open and we had views of dredge ships passing by while the boys pretended to drive the ship and press all.the.buttons. 
A maximum of 50 guests are allowed in the exhibit at a time and masks are required. The recommended time is about 45 minutes. Tickets are $10.00 a person or $15.00 for a combo ticket to include the Battleship Wisconsin. Be sure to book your time slot in advance! 

TreeWalk Adventure: Hunt Club Farm

I'm so excited to share that Hunt Club Farm has added an entire new section, a Tree Walk Adventure, to its list of attractions! The Tree Walk is built up of different kinds of ramps, rock walls, an array of bridges, tunnels, slides, fireman chutes, and more to let you walk from tree house to tree house. 

The bridges range from bounces and waves to ropes or boards, all enclosed by netting. Some take you over trees, others over the pond below. 
The best part about this was that we ALL had fun. In our group we ranged from babies to grandparents. Everyone was able to do some portion of the walk and everyone was laughing and having fun. The walk can be as hard or as easy as you make it depending on which way you go. Even the adults were using the slides! 
The Tree Walk officially opens this Sunday and every day from then until November 1st, the Harvest Fair brings family farm fun to all. Monday through Friday the pumpkin patch and farm market are open in addition to the TreeWalk Adventure and petting farm. Hayrides are available from 10-5. On the weekend they add a DJ with music and games and food and novelty stands at the market. Pony rides, feed cups, and bird sticks are available for an additional cost. 
If you're coming without the kids, the Haunted Hunt Club Farm offers fields of scares. We didn't do this since we had our gang with us, but we saw them practicing. I'm a baby when it comes to things jumping out at me, and I could see the Village Of The Dead from where we were. Other sections include the Towne of Terror, and the Field of Screams. Tickets to everything must be bought in advance. 
The new pricing for the farm will include both the petting zoo and the TreeWalk Adventure. Be sure to stop by and say hello to the animals on your way over! 

Parent and Me Yoga

My Gym Virginia Beach is offering several new classes including ballet, karate, and parent and child yoga! I love this class because it is something that parents and kids can do together. So often places offer classes that are for kids, and while those serve their own purpose and they are great, I feel like I don't see my kid enough as it is because of work and school, so being able to do something together is really great for us. (It's also great if you aren't into this kind of thing and are ready to ship your kids off to all of the camps or classes. You do you! Parenting is hard. ) 


So here's the thing. I don't have great balance and have only ever done yoga one other time. It was on a beach in the Bahamas at seven in the morning. I was dragged there by my fitness loving best friend, and when the instructor told us that we were going to get sand and sweat in places that we didn't know existed, I knew I was in trouble. Yoga with my kid.... way better! The certified instructor did such a good job and blew my expectations away. In this class we acted out parts of Goldilocks and the Three Bears by finding "story pieces" around the gym which were labeled with yoga poses. So when Goldilocks sat in the three chairs, we did a chair pose. When she went to sleep in the bear's beds, we stretched our bodies while lying down. 

So, one class down and still not the most graceful or flexible... but we spent some time together one on one and got ice cream on the way home! This class runs Saturdays at 12:30 and is suggested for ages 2-4.  

Outdoor Activity: Magnetic Tiles on the Door

Magnetic tiles are a huge hit in our family, and for every family I know that has them. We use them to talk about geometric shapes in both two and three dimensions, practice stacking and sorting, for imaginative play, and to work on colors and letters. Magnetic tiles are great for kids of all ages, and with the cooler weather rolling in we wanted to find new ways to use them while outside. Garage doors are perfect for magnetic toys (although I didn't think of using it for this until recently!) and it's nice to play with these in a different way. Here's a tip, we bought the knock off magnetic tiles and they work just as well. Check out these, or keep an eye out for Amazon Daily Deals to grab yourself some. 

Mirror Lake

The forgotten about side of Botanical Gardens holds Mirror Lake and the Works Progress Administration garden. When you pull into the gardens park in the first parking lot and head across the street to Mirror Lake. 
The Botanical Gardens was founded through the Norfolk City Manager and hortoculturalist Frederic Heutte. A year later the Works Progress Administration gave the gardens a grant and 200 African American women and 20 African American men cleared the site around Mirror Lake. By March 1939 they had planted 4,000 azaleas, 2,000 rhododendrons, 100 bushels of daffodils, and thousands of bushes and trees had been planted. Due to their success, the gardens were given another grant to expand. 
What I love about this section is that there is a paved path around the lake, and then several "tricky way" dirt paths that take you through the trees. We love walking through these areas because they are shady and cooler. Don't forget about this side of the gardens! 

The American Rover

Last weekend we spent a breezy, beautiful Sunday afternoon aboard the American Rover for a tour of the Harbor. On our voyage we saw Downtown Norfolk, Portsmouth, shipyards, navy ships, jet skis, tugboats, and way more. We watched birds dive for fish and waved to other boaters who passed by. RT even spotted a train on the land. 
The ship has an upper deck with outdoor seating and a lower lounge with a bar and two seating areas. The duration of the trip is two hours, during which the captain shares facts about the surroundings. We broke up the trip by spending part of it upstairs and part downstairs. The kids liked running around the bottom floor and looking out of the windows. 
The best part of the trip was watching the crew put up the sails. Kids got to help hoist them and we watched as they balanced above our heads to release them once we got far enough out of the harbor. In non-Covid times kids can also tie knots, learn to steer the ship, and learn about the tools the Captain uses to navigate. Since we missed out on that, we had RT create a "telescope" and bring it with him. Who knew pirates called them a "bring them near."
On the American Rover, cruises run from April through October and reservations are encouraged. Its sister ship, The Victory Rover, which takes tours of the naval base runs March through December. Happy sailing!