U.S. Army Transportation Museum

Planes, helicopters, tugboats, trucks, jeeps, trains, and even hovercrafts are on display at the U.S. Army Transportation Museum in Newport News. The museum's collection begins at the Continental Army in 1776 and continues to present date. There are large exhibits and displays that wind around inside and then a train yard outside. We saw several types of jet packs and other flying vehicles that I had never seen before as well as information on how the army went to the circus to learn acrobatic techniques. 

One of our favorite parts was a section of lego trains and other sets along with legos for kids to free build.

The museum is open 9:00-4:30, Monday through Saturday. The museum is on the Joint Base Langly-Eustis, so you will have to stop at the brick building on the right hand side and show your ID and run a background check. It only takes about five minutes, and you'll then head to the gate. Once inside the gate, the museum is only about a two minute drive. 

Celebration in Lights

Over a million lights come together for Newport News' 29th season of holiday lights. Each night from 5:30-10:00 over two miles of Newport News Park gets lit up with displays ranging from depicting the seasons to Civil War battles. This display is the most affordable in Hampton Roads at only $12.00 per car Monday-Friday or $15.00 per car Friday-Sunday. Tip: If you purchase advanced tickets at the Newport News Visitor Center, they are only $10, and they can be used any night. 

I have a vague memory of my dad taking me to these lights as a kid, but it was the first time since then that I had even been to Newport News Park. The park sits on the Yorktown line, and apparently it has lots of Civil War history, being part of the Battle of Yorktown. Lee Hall and the Monitor Merrimack can be seen as part of the lights. The trains were the biggest hits of the night for my two guys! 

Hometown Christmas: First Baptist Norfolk

First Baptist Norfolk is hosting Hometown Christmas this year, a free family friendly festival with local vendors, train rides, music, sock skating, and a petting zoo. Hometown Christmas is open this Saturday and Sunday, December 18 and 19th. Saturday's food trucks are Luvabowls and Mello Beans. On Sunday Yolees G-Dawgz, Miami Fuzion, and Bear House Coffee will be there. Grab a scavenger hunt when you arrive, and get stickers from each station, On your way out grab your prize, an activity book, stuffed animal, and gingerbread house. 

Schedule as follows: 

2:00-6:00:Barrel Train 

4:00-4:30: Brass Quartet 

5:30-7:30:Pictures with Santa

5:30: Tree lighting and snow

5:45: Roaming Carolers 

7:00 Carol Singalong

8:00 end 

City Center at Oyster Point Lights and Holiday Cheer

We took a visit to Newport News' Oyster Point for the first time this week. Take a walk around the lake and see the ten minute light show that plays every half hour. While walking around, you'll encounter 16 snow machines, 55 trees, and a 50 foot tree, all tuned to music. The lights are on between 5-9, with a photo pavilion Thursday through Sunday from 5-8. 

If you head there this Saturday, December 18th from 12-3, you'll catch their Holiday Cheer program with free hot chocolate and cookies, be able to paint homemade ornaments, and take photos with an 8.5 foot elf!

Hermitage Museum and Gardens: Gingerbread Houses

We visit the Hermitage Museum and Gardens a few times a year because the boys love watching the cranes moving the containers outside, but we have never been during the holidays before. On display now is their second annual gingerbread house contest and display. From now until December 19th, stop in to view and vote on your favorite house. There are three categories; adult, child, and family. I had kits ready at home, so we left and made our own. We actually did the best we have ever done, but it still ended up falling before I could snag a picture! The Hermitage is free to visit until 2021, but donations are accepted. 

Tidewater Big Train Operators 2021 Annual Holiday Train Display

Avalon Church of Christ is once again hosting the Tidewater Big Train Operators Holiday Train show. Stop by this week from 5:30-8:30 or Saturday from 10:00-4:00. This event is totally free, but raffle tickets for a G-scale train are on sale and donations are accepted. Grab a scavenger hunt from the front table and look for items as you walk through. Masks must be worn at all times. Children should bring their letters for Santa! 

Avalon Church of Christ is located at 844 Woodstock Rd., Virginia Beach, Virginia 23464. 

MOCA Scholarships

We have visited the Museum of Contemporary Art during hot summers or rainy days. The museum is still free thanks to the Goode Family Foundation. And now due to many generous donations to the Cohen Memorial Fund, MOCA is able to offer scholarships for their children's classes, ages 2-17. The application process is simple, by filling out this form.  Additionally, MOCA is hosting a free family event on January 16th from 11:00-3:00. Details here.