Richmond, VA with Kids: 40+ Things to Do on a Family Vacation

family vacation in richmond va

Families traveling to Richmond, VA will find plenty of things to do, no matter the time of year or ages or interests of the kids.  Options exist for history buffs and nature lovers, for those looking for culture and those looking for simple fun and good food.

You will find sites dedicated to Civil War and Emancipation history at every turn. Nature is an integral part of the city, too, with over 550 acres of shoreline and islands as part of the James River Park System. This, plus the Boulevard/Broad Street corridor with its many museums within a mile radius, the historic homes and tree-lined streets of the Fan District, and the lively streets of Carytown are just a few of the treasures to explore in this beautiful, accessible city.

Read on for a list of 40+ things to do in Richmond with kids (in no particular order!).

  1. See a movie for $1.99 and have the best popcorn in town at the Byrd Theatre.  Go on a weekend night to see the Mighty Wurlitzer rise up from the pit.
  2. Don’t miss the amazing chocolate and candy store, For the Love of Chocolate.
  3. Look for the heron nests downtown, at the Pipeline/Trestle Trail.
  4. Kids can explore a Waterplay exhibit, caves, an inventor’s lab and more at the Children’s Museum of Richmond.
  5. Enjoy the festivities at the Richmond Folk Festival (October).
  6. Have a frozen yogurt at the Cary Street Sweet Frog.
  7. Learn about the original settlers at Henricus Historical Park.
  8. Follow one of the many trails along the James River.
  9. Can Can, a French bistro in Carytown, offers good food and good people watching.
  10. Try the flight simulator at the Virginia Aviation Museum.
  11. Join the locals to cheer on the Flying Squirrels baseball team.
  12. See what history the archaeologists are digging up in Jamestown (day trip).
  13. Homemade ice cream at Sweet 95 is the perfect summertime treat.
  14. IMAX Dome at the Science Museum of Virginia is the largest film screen in Virginia.
  15. Cross the pedestrian footbridge to explore Belle Isle along one of the wooded trails on the island.
  16. Enjoy big plates of pasta at Joe’s Inn, a family neighborhood place in the Fan.
  17. Visit the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts for one of its family programs (or any time; general admission is always free).
  18. Find over 3,000 watermelons at the Carytown Watermelon Festival (August).
  19. Inquisitive kids can satiate their curiosity at the Science Museum of Virginia.
  20. Learn about the man who inspired many horror films, love poems and murder mysteries at the Edgar Allan Poe Museum.
  21. Buz and Ned's has great BBQ – eat indoors or on the outdoor covered patio.
  22. Pedal boat rides on Fountain Lake in Byrd Park are a popular summertime activity.
  23. Virginia Holocaust Museum offers moving exhibits and programs highlighting the historical and personal realities of the Holocaust.
  24. Spend Saturday morning at the South of James Farmers’ Market, with its locally grown products and hand-made items.
  25. Learn about the war from the Union, Confederate, and African American perspective at the Tredegar Civil War Center.
  26. Richmond Canal Cruises leads a 40-minute narrated tour along the historic Canal Walk.
  27. Enjoy an ice cream cone from Bev’s as you stroll around the lively Carytown.
  28. Get mesmerized by the sea otters and other aquarium inhabitants at the Maymont Nature and Visitor Center.
  29. See a great children’s production by The Children’s Theatre of Virginia.
  30. Colonial Williamsburg is just an hour’s drive from Richmond (day trip).
  31. Head to The Dairy Bar for a grilled cheese, fries and a shake.
  32. See the farm, nature center, Japanese and Italian gardens at Maymont Park.
  33. Meet the lions, tigers and bears at the Metro Richmond Zoo
  34. Take a Rafting Trip on the James River.
  35. Join a tour to spot Bald Eagles in their natural habitat on the James River.
  36. Take the Adventure Pathway at the Children’s Garden at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.
  37. The Monument Avenue Easter Parade is a rite of spring (March/April).
  38. Three Lakes Park & Nature Center offers an underwater view of bass, sunfish and other creatures.
  39. More than a half million holiday lights are the cornerstone of the annual Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s Dominion GardenFest of Lights (November/December).
  40. The Virginia Historical Society (free admission!) has interactive displays and activities that teach kids about the history of the state.
  41. Guided tours of historic Richmond sites, cannon firings, children's games, song and dance performances, and canal boat rides - mostly free - are part of the Civil War & Emancipation Day (April).
  42. See an historical re-enactment of the 2nd VA Convention at St John's Church.


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