Spring Break ideas that are close to home

Published: Mar. 11, 2022 at 6:33 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 24, 2022 at 6:35 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Many major school systems are about to begin Spring Break, and you don’t have to book a big vacation to have a great time.

Williamsburg

Great Wolfe Lodge in Williamsburg. It is a cabin-themed, family-friendly resort with a giant indoor waterpark and fun sleeping quarters for kids.

“Great Wolf Lodge is about an hour from Richmond, and it’s massive,” said West End Mom Megan Ariail. “It is a log cabin-themed, family-friendly resort where if you stay overnight, you get access to free activities such as bedtime stories, kiddy yoga, dance parties. Everything about this resort is family-friendly. But the highlight is the giant indoor waterpark.”

The waterpark includes a huge water playhouse with body slides, a lazy river, tube slides, and a big club pool. And I love this for the kids four and under because it’s zero-entry, and it never gets higher than two feet. So, if you’ve got a one-year-old to a four-year-old, you can still enjoy this indoor water park.

Megan also had some tips on tickets, which can be a little pricey.

“Now, sometimes the tickets can get a little bit pricey, so if you look on Groupon, they have day passes available on discount. They also do rooms on sale. And I’ve also found that if you want to visit during the week with a day pass, you’re going to spend about $30 to $40 per person instead of $100 on the weekend.”

Lynchburg

“We’ve gone to Lynchburg in day trips, and we’ve also stayed overnight,” said Megan. “So, if you’re planning to stay overnight, we recently had a great experience at The Virginian. And there’s restaurants on properties. So, it’s really easy with kids.”

First, Megan said to check out Liberty Mountain Snow Flex.

“This is probably the coolest thing we’ve done this year,” she told us. “It is a mountain top, winter sports rec center, and it’s open to the public and the Liberty University students and alumni. And it’s so unique because there’s no snow for these winter sports.”

Snow Flex has a substance called snowflakes, and it simulates the experience of snowboarding, sledding, and tubing.

“You are skiing on real snow without all of the cold, wet aspects that make it kind of challenging to do these things. I would say this is great for all ages. I took my two and a half year old and my four-year-old solo, and they both loved sledding,” said Megan.

She said both of her children were able to do the Bunny Hill.

“And we all did summer tubing down there, big hill. Together you can connect two tubes together, or you can go solo, and the views at the top of Liberty Mountain are gorgeous, especially at sunset. Now, these prices range from about $5 to $13 an hour, and you can buy a combo pass if you want to stay all day,” said Megan.

While you’re in Lynchburg, check out SeaQuest. It’s a 20,000 square foot indoor aquarium and petting zoo adventure park inside River Ridge Mall.

“When you go, your children and you get to interact and feed all types of exotic animals like wallabies, iguanas, birds, koi fish, stingrays. My children absolutely loved feeding lettuce to the giant tortoise and feeding the stingrays because the stingrays just go wild when they see you come up to the aquarium or to the glass where they are.”

She says seaQuest costs $16 for adults and $11 for children.

Jamestown

If you head to Jamestown, go to Historic Jamestown - the lessons here may bring your child’s history lessons to life.

“They’re probably going to get the most out of this because they’ve learned about it in their history classes. I will say that my two and four-year-old really loved walking through the Puritan Village and getting to explore the ships. So, this is a family-friendly activity, and children under six get to visit for free.”

Staying on the free theme, just across the street from this historic site is Jamestown Beach, and Jamestown Beach is free to visit until Memorial Day because there’s no parking fee.

“And we love visiting Jamestown Beach year-round just so that my kids can explore in the sand, look for seashells, play in the water,” said Megan.

You’re close to Jamestown Beach and can drive your car onto a ferry there. It’s a 30 minute trip across the river.

Norfolk and Virginia Beach

“We recently stayed at Marriott’s Virginia Beach Oceanfront Hotel, and I highly recommend it,” said Megan. “It’s a sister hotel to the Cavalier, but it’s a little bit more family-friendly and budget-friendly. And they also have an indoor-outdoor pool and restaurants on the property. We really enjoyed our visit over President’s Day, and we’re definitely going to come back this spring.”

Norfolk is nearby and has the Maritime Museum.

“There are tons of hands-on exhibits,” said Megan. “And there’s the massive battleship Wisconsin. Your whole family is going to love this, so when you visit not a kiss, you can take a self-guided tour of this battleship. You can go inside and out, and my children really liked this. The views are gorgeous. And there’s so much history that you can learn about while you’re there. And the indoor exhibits have hands-on activities where you can learn how to fish. You can read about messages in a bottle, or you can manipulate different channels to see how water and the water depth impact ships sailing from the river to the ocean.”

Megan says you’ll need about three hours to go to the museum. Tickets are $15 for adults and $11 for children.

She also loves the Botanical Gardens.

Here’s a great tip from the West End Mom: She says they offer free admission to anyone who is a member of Richmond’s Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden for free. Otherwise, expect to pay $15 for adults and $13 per kid.

Massanutten Resort

“You can do a day trip and access their tubing courses. There are high ropes courses, gem mining, and their waterpark area.”

She says you can stay overnight in their studios or lodges.

“There’s a zip line that’s really, really fun. If you’re going to visit between April and October, so if your spring break falls right around April, you can enjoy the summer tubing, which is such a thrill. And I would say this is for children two and up. And probably, no surprise, the indoor water park was also a huge hit with my kids.”

And hopefully, one of those ideas helps your family plan a great getaway!

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