The Friday Five v. 12

Looks like rain is in the forecast again this weekend. If you missed our post on Hampton Roads indoor things for kids that are open now, check it out here. In the meantime, here are four links to brighten up your Friday! 

Nature Quests: Mobile Garden Games Botanical Gardens

The Nature Quest app is now at the Wow Children's Garden at the Botanical Garden. Families can interact through games, scenery, activities, questions, photo challenges, and listening skills. We chose the ABC quest, likely the easiest of the three. It's inside the Children's Garden and you just simply walk around and find the letters, then look up the activity online on your phone. Next time we go we will try the Discovery Peak Quest, and finally the Kitchen Garden Tour. It's cold out, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't bundle up and get outside to explore while it isn't raining! 

The Friday Five v. 11

Oh Yeah... A Cliff

Happy rainy end to the week! Here are five links for today! 

This 2-Acre Vertical Farm Produces More Than Flat Farms That Are Using 720 Acres

Yes We Do Need A New Word For "Stay At Home Moms"

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Woman’s Twitter Thread Explains Why Women Need To Come Off ‘Rude’ To Men

Rainy Days in Hampton Roads

Weather in Hampton Roads is unpredictable, but when we know it's going to rain, we head to one of these places.  This list is long, but scroll through to find something to do this week! **All of these are open as of Feb. 17, 2021. Please follow Covid procedures. 
Go try a free class at My Gym. The first class is always free and they run classes for different age groups all throughout the week. They offer classes in gymnastics, art, stem, dance, sports, and more. There are locations in Virginia Beach and Newport News. 

The Virginia Air and Space Museum just reopened with their brand new Space Explorer Gallery as well as renovations to their Imax theater. One thing I love about here is that Imax movies are included in your ticket price. Book your tickets in advance and pick a movie time. There is also a small play area downstairs for kids. 

Odu's Barry Art Museum is free to visit and no advance tickets are needed. 

Check our daily event calendar to see if Ikea is having an event for kids. If so, they are free and will keep kids busy while you browse. 
If it is a Monday, Cova Brewing offers free mini muffins, juice, and a craft to your kids when you buy a beverage. Check out the details and head out there! 

Glow Golf currently has two locations, and both are indoors. Go during the day and you're likely to be the only ones there, which is perfect for social distancing. 

The Military Aviation Museum is mostly indoors, with multiple buildings that you can walk or drive to. 
Book a reservation to the Hampton History Museum and check out their exhibits about local history. Our favorite room was the replica of the Native American Longhouse.

Clearly we need skating practice, and Haygood Skating Rink is a great place to get it. They are open with limited capacity, although the playground is still closed.
Both of Funville's locations are open with limited capacity. It's best to book in advance, as tickets are for specific time slots. 

Jump! Trampoline Park is open, and their Jumping Beans program is just for ages 6 and under. 
The Pink Roller is open for very affordable private rentals. Check out the details and then call for bookings of up to ten people. 
Spend the night at Great Wolf Lodge to take advantage of all they have to offer. They have deals during the week which make it more affordable and they also offer day passes. 
Cinema Cafe has reopened with distancing. Support this local chain and grab lunch or dinner while checking out one of their $3 classic movies. 

Right now thanks to sponsor PNC, MOCA is free. With free parking and free admission, this is the time to check it out. 

We love Chrysler Museum and visit a few times a year. Right now the Tickle My Ears program is virtual, and the Wonder Studio is closed, but you can still reserve a free ticket and visit the museum. 
The third floor of Nauticus is open, and right now they have a new exhibit about plastic in the oceans. We haven't been to the brand new exhibit yet, but we love Nauticus in general. 

Get some energy out at The Bounce House in Virginia Beach. Pay once and get in free all week. 
Sky Zone offers toddler times several times a week during the morning.
While only one building at the Virginia Aquarium is open, it is a great place to get some energy out. 
With locations in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake, The Little Gym offers classes starting with babies and going all the way to teens. 

Free Places to Visit In Hampton Roads Now

These eight spots are open during Covid with mitigation strategies in place. The best part is... they are free! Check them out today!  

Odu's Barry Art Museum is open and free. Challenge your kids to new experiences by taking them to an art museum. 

The Neon District is full of street art, and we planned out the perfect morning for you downtown. Selden's train display isn't there currently, but there is still plenty to do on this list! 

Head to the Virginia Tech Display Gardens on a nice day soon. Little kids will love walking over the bridge, climbing on the benches, and checking out the foliage. 

Dinosaur lovers rejoice! Jerrassic Park is completely free! Take the drive to Pungo and discover all the area has to offer after spending an hour here in the morning. 

Hampton's Bluebird Gap Farm is a local favorite, and for good reason. It's free, fun, and educational. 

The always free Chrysler Museum's programing for kids has moved online and the Wonder Studio is closed, but the museum is still open. Reservations are required and are free to make online. 

Check out Norfolk's Railroad District and the NFK Street Museum- Mural Walk. Trains pass often, which my train loving little guy loved. 

Reservations required to visit Air Power Park's inside museum, but the outside is still open and free. Make the reservations online ahead of time.

**Note, right now MOCA is free due to a sponsorship from PNC. Go check it out.

Looking for more? Don't forget to check our favorite nature spots in Hampton Roads. Most of them are free! 

Geralds Ice Cream Bar

In our family we have a tradition that we celebrate the end of the work week together by doing the sweetest thing we can think of... getting ice cream! Our quest to support more local businesses brought us to Gerald's Ice Cream Bar. 

Walking into Gerald's, it is hard to not smile at their owner. Gerald lights up when he talks about ice cream. He fell in love with thick, creamy ice cream in France and came home and began experimenting in his own kitchen. He ended up befriending a man who was on the American gelato team.. a real thing, I looked it up and  then Gerald started working to use the finest ingredients to make small batches of ice cream. Six years later, Gerald's opened in Virginia Beach so that he could share these creations with others. 

One thing that we loved about Gerald's was the chocolate. I mentioned it to Gerald, who told me that they get their chocolate from a world famous choclotier, and you could tell. I don't normally like chocolate, but the guy at the counter talked me into their hand dipped cone. Chocolate pieces from this famous William Dean Chocolates appear in at least four scenes in the Hunger Games, as they are known for their artistic beauty.  

Head to the back and you can watch them making the ice cream or hand dipping cones most days of the week. There are several vegan options available. Hours are Sunday-Thursday noon-9:00 and Friday-Saturday noon-10. The store is closed on Monday. They opened in June, so right in the thick of Covid and they are located at Hilltop. Next time I go... I'm getting a slice of ice cream cake! 

Rudee Tours: Whale Watching

In all the years that I've lived in Hampton Roads, it wasn't until my 4 year old's class became obsessed with whales that I learned they migrate right by us. During these cold winter months, baby humpback whales are just about two miles off  the shore. We bundled up and met up with some other families (if you're not in our Facebook group- you're missing these meet ups!) to try and find some whales. 

Right now the boat is at half capacity, holding 49 people. There are two decks and an indoor heated area. Inside there is a full bar with all kinds of snacks and hot drinks and merchandise for sale. 

After about 30 minutes we spotted our whale, and the adults on board were just as excited as the kids. We followed that whale around for about an hour while the naturalist on board gave lots of information. Also on board were volunteers who taught the kids about whale bones and showed them pictures and models. 

One thing that I had NO idea about... whale breath. When those whales blow water out of their blow hole, some hot air comes out too... and it STINKS. When the whale came close to the ship you could smell it. That's a memory I won't forget, ever. 

Getting up super early on a Saturday morning isn't my favorite thing, but seeing how happy the kids were was so, so worth it. Rudee Tours is a local business, and they work with our Navy bases to collect data that helps protect whales. 

The tours run every day but Tuesday, on the hour starting at 9. Guests board 30 minutes prior to the ship leaving. There are two bathrooms on the ship. Kids 3 and under are free, but they do need a ticket. We do have a discount code on our page, so be sure to check that out! Bundle up, get out there, and take advantage of all of the awesome things that we have here in Hampton Roads! 

The Friday Five v. 10

The weekend is (almost) here! No plans for the weekend? Tomorrow we have a group going whale watching an we would love for you to join us! Call Rudee Tours and ask them about the Toddlin' Around Tidewater special! 

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