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Fun, affordable activities to do with family this summer

Published: Jul. 8, 2021 at 4:17 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 12, 2021 at 9:17 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Summer’s here, the state of emergency is over and the rush to live life is never greater.

Ready to get out and about? The West End Mom, a Richmond blogger named Megan Ariail, has some advice for families on how to have a fun, local and affordable summer bucket list.

There are adventures all around in RVA and the West End Mom made an awesome bucket list.

Splash pads across Henrico are all free and a really good time, even for a short time.

Soak City and Water County USA are great ways to splash into summer, too, with options for any age “kid”.

Lavender fields, in Glen Allen and Williamsburg, smells delicious and offer Lavender ice cream or cotton candy. Not to mention, it’s a good place for people can take Instagram and frame-worthy pictures!

Try an outdoor movie! Keep it simple in the backyard or drive to Goochland for the drive-in which also offers affordable food.

Go to Packtamere farm and see some real alpacas for the preview then catch a show

“It’s a 15-acre working farm that has over 50 alpacas!” said Ariail. “Their movies are going to be in a natural amphitheater. They have this sloped area for the farm. They’re going to sell busters ice cream, adult beverages and candy.”

Visit a sunflower festival in July or August, like Fresh Branch Farms in Chesterfield or Alvis Farms in Manakin Sabot which is also a working dairy farm.

“Last year, their sunflower festival had concessions and vendors, so it was really cool,” said Ariail. “You could walk through a flower maze, and then you can have ice cream or snow cones. It’s really beautiful.”

Visit King’s Dominion; kids under 2 are free and 3-5 are free with a preschool pass.

Try an aquarium. There are three in Virginia.

Seaquest in Lynchburg is an all indoor aquarium inside Lynchburg mall.

“You can actually buy tokens to feed the animals and pet them,” said Ariail. “So this is an interactive aquarium, really cool. My son absolutely loved feeding the stingrays, feeding the fish. We got to feed a little kangaroo; we got to touch a huge tortoise. This one was a really interactive aquarium that’s just so hands-on.”

There’s the Virginia Aquarium of Marine Science at Virginia Beach. This one has some outdoor components as well.

There’s also the Virginia Living Museum.

“There’s one that it is all dark so animals that live so deep in the water that it’s pitch black,” said Ariail. “They also have one all about the Chesapeake, so it’s just fun to learn about all the animals and plants that are native to Virginia.”

Visit a local peach farm and state park in Mechanicsville!

”It’s really cheap to visit, and there’s something for everyone. You can do a hiking trail: through a marsh, through a forest, through the mountains,” said Ariail. “You can check out waterfalls, state park beaches.”

And for a really fun, jam-packed day trip, head to Williamsburg and the historic triangle.

“There’s so much to do and so much is free,” said Ariail. “We love visiting colonial Williamsburg and walking around merchant square. We love visiting Freedom Park which has one of the earliest freed black settlements in the country. There’s also Go Ape, and that is a high ropes course. And then we love visiting Jamestown beach which is a dog-friendly beach and Yorktown beach.”

The list goes on. So make sure you follow the West End Mom on Instagram! @TheWestEndMom.

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