Suffolk Seaboard Station Railroad Museum

Downtown Suffolk's Seaboard Station Museum is a free must stop for train lovers. The museum is small but has displays of railroad memorabilia and exhibits. The two room station itself was built in 1885 and has remained pretty much the same since. The building has a winding staircase up to a tower with a great view of downtown. There is a caboose outside and trains run by the museum regularly. While we were there a diesel engine was starting up. 

The museum is open daily from 10-5, with a closure from 12-1. Admission is free, but groups of over 10 should make a tour reservation. Strollers are not allowed inside the museum. We spent about 45 minutes in the museum between the the museum and the cars outside. The museum is located at 326 N. Main St., Suffolk, VA 23434. As a note, the Brighter Day Cafe' is close to the museum and has $.98 ice cream cones!

Twin Tiger Ice Cream

Special shout out to one of our mamas in our blog Facebook group for inviting us to Twin Tiger Ice Cream. Located on Newtown Road, Twin Tiger runs awesome specials on their social media. The day we went, they were offering free kid's ice cream by showing them the deal. Specials are run about once a week and range from free ice cream to buy one get one free, and even an $.87 day. 

After snagging your ice cream, the kids can play the arcade games. There are also t.v.s set up with pac-man, which is completely free. 

Their hours are Wednesday-Saturday 12-7 and Sundays 12-6. Mondays and Tuesdays are reserved for private events and rentals.

Four Free Art Museums in Hampton Roads

Art museums are typically quiet places with stark white walls and "no touch" signs. Babies and toddlers are the complete opposite, with loud, stomping feet, and sticky fingers. But art museums allow kids to experience things outside of their own lives, to see colors, shapes, and creativity. Discuss high contrast images, portraits of the human face, animals, the sun and moon, and challenge your kids with new vocabulary based on what they see. Bring something for your kids to hold to keep their hands busy, and scope out a place for them to create their own art in a sketchbook. Here's some of our favorite art museums around Hampton Roads. The best part is, with these museums all being free, you can go for an hour at a time and return whenever you'd like! 

  • Chrysler Museum: It's no surprise that Chrysler is at the top of our list. I love that they mix in exhibits that kids love like one on Eric Carle and another on video games. Precovid they had a monthly story time with crafts. The Wonder Studio is closed currently, but it is a hands-on changing art room for kids. 
  • Barry Art Museum: On O.D.U.'s campus, the Barry Art Museum has free designated spaces in the garage behind it. Show kids the doll exhibit and compare to dolls today. We like taking a stroll through the museum before getting a cookie at Insomnia Cookies. 
  • Museum Of Contemporary Art: The Oceanfront's M.O.C.A. has regular family days as well as classes and camps for kids. Be sure to check out the room where kids can draw. 
  • Hermitage Museum: We absolutely love the Hermitage Museum. The outside of the museum is something dreamed up from a story book. The water overlooks the Norfolk Terminal, and kids can look out and watch the cranes taking the containers off the ships. Inside, the museum has a section of rotating exhibits (we loved the gingerbread houses in December), as well as permanent exhibits. Ask for a scavenger hunt at the desk. 

22 Goals for 2022

I always have trouble believing it is time to write these lists. The big things I checked off last year's list were finishing our will, taking the boys on a trip to Raleigh, and to catch up on my podcasts. 

I'm looking forward to 2022, and I've rounded up a list of 22 goals for the year. 

01. Visit the Eastern Shore, drink a watermelon cider from Busky. 
02. Continue to use the last bits of the giftcards that I've got. 
03. Take the boys on a camping trip. 
04. Attend a Tides game. 
05. Get a new couch. 
06. Continue to keep my plants alive for another year. 
07. Go somewhere new. 
08. Attend the (in person!) Purple Strides 5k. 
09. Use our compost. 
10. Support more small businesses. 
11. Continue to commit to no t.v. until after dinner. 
12. Drink more water. 
13. Facilitate opportunities for our kids to practice gratefulness. 
14. Ride bikes more. 
15. Participate in two networking events. 
16. Limit snacking after dinner.
17. Purge one room in the house monthly. 
18. Make vegetables half my plate. 
19. Get back to prepping meals again on Sunday nights to make things easier during the week. 
20. Host a game night for kids.
21. Plan a ski trip. 
22. Take more whole family photos. 

That's it! I can't wait to see how we do. 

Virginia Living Museum

The Virginia Living Museum is home to a variety of wildlife found throughout Virginia, but it also has a whole section on dinosaurs and fossils, and caves. As we walked through, I kept thinking how much my students would truly benefit from the museum. 

The museum is made up of indoor and outdoor exhibits. Indoors you can check out Virginia's Coastal Plans, Virginia's Piedmont and Mountain Region, Virginia World of Darkness, and Virginia's Underground Gallery.  There are also two different two-story habitats: the Appalachian Cove and the Cypress Swamp. Upstairs there is a spot to view x-rays and footprints, plus a Chesapeake Bay Touch Tank. Downstairs is a play area where kids get to use imaginative play as a vet helping animals. 

Outside on the 3/4 of a mile Boardwalk Trail you'll find everything from wolves to beavers, to deer, and more. Be sure to check the daily feeding schedule to catch the deer, otters, or birds having their lunch. Follow the trail to the very back corner and you'll find Dinosaur Discovery Trail, with 1/3 scale dinosaurs, dig pits, and areas to climb. 

Once outside either head up the steps above the otters or follow the trail behind them to find the Living Green House, an environmental education center complete with a Lego table and opportunities for kids to create their own energy. From there you can easily access the Planetarium and then head to the Children's Garden. My kids loved the Hobbit House and climbing on the spider web. There are several gardens throughout the property to walk through.