We are heading north up the east coast and we plan to be in Maine sometime this summer, but we have a lot to see before we get there. This includes a few stops in the Virginia area where there is a lot to see. Richmond VA was one of our stops, it being the capital and all. Virginia has so much history involving the founding of this country and its early beginnings that we were looking forward to touring the capitol building in Richmond. There was also a science museum nearby that we wanted to check out. There is always an opportunity to learn something new at every place we go, but we love that it comes so easily when visiting museums and historical sites. We also get the added bonus of it being fun too!
Virginia’s state capitol building was beautiful. It is a historical site which was an interesting fact we hadn’t known. They provide free guided tours everyday of the week including the weekends, which is nice because most only offer them during the week. The tour starts near the entrance which is in the newer underground section. There was a nice exhibit about Winston Churchill and Eisenhower both of whom payed a visit to the capitol during WWI; we explored this while waiting for the tour to begin. As I mentioned the tour started in the underground section which was just recently finished in 2014. The building was in need of an expansion but they didn’t want to change the original appearance due to the fact that it is a historical building, so they added the expansion underground. The guided tour only takes you up to the second floor, but up to the fourth floor is open to the public. On the first floor we saw the original marble statue of George Washington that was made from his likeness; the sculptor actually took a cast of his face to make it. This statue is very famous and replicas of it can be seen in many places all over the world (we saw one in Columbia)! There was also a really nice statue of Thomas Jefferson Chris was really excited about it because Jefferson is one of his heroes. We were surprised to learn that he was the architect that designed the building (architecture was a hobby of his). In one room they had two models of the building; one of them was the original model that Jefferson had made as an example for the builders in the 1770’s. The second floor provided a tour into the house and senate chambers. Another important historical figure we saw here was General Robert E. Lee. His statue stands in the exact spot where he stood when accepting command of the Confederate army during the Civil War. There were many wonderful paintings and other sculptures too of important historical events and figures. They have restored much of the building to its original appearance and it is beautiful. From the outside it can’t be seen, but there is a dome that you can look up to from the inside. It wasn’t as tall as some we have seen but it was very pretty. The building sits on a hill and for the most part if you didn’t know it was there you can’t even tell there is an underground section. Behind the capitol building is the Governor’s Mansion which also provides free tours, unfortunately we didn’t know this beforehand and did not have time to take one, but the kids did get to play fetch with the governor’s dog.
Every time we visit a new museum we are surprised to find that it is different than the last. The Virginia Science Museum is housed in an old train station turned museum so the building all in itself was pretty cool. The first part of the museum had some technology exhibits. We had fun racing each other to see if we could beat a variety of animals and for those interested we could only out run a rat. Trip got to play air hockey against a machine. We saw a display of cellular phone technology over time and had a good laugh at theoriginal cell phones. There were many cool things in this part of the museum, but there was much more to see. Upstairs we found many more exhibits. In one room we got to see what the inside of a beehive looks like by watching the inside of an actual hive. In another room our creative side came alive while we drew pictures, made crafts, and colored. Across the hall we found some creatures to view including fish, snakes, and tarantulas. Downstairs in the basement we found even more things to do. There was an activity going on about water buoyancy. We were each given a little plastic tube and a basket with some small objects like glass beads, paper clips, and little plastic toys. The object was to put things in the tube and get it to float in the middle of a tank of water, thus achieving neutral buoyancy. All of us tried over and over again, adding things to our tubes checking if it would float and then bringing it back to either add more stuff or take stuff out. It was fun and we tried many times, Journey was the only one that managed to accomplish the feat that seemed so easy when we started out. After we finished with the activity we realized there was still more of this museum to explore. This area was called boost and was related to health. We got a card which could be scanned at each station. There are activities like walking a tight rope, pushing buttons as they light up to test reaction time, filling trays with “food” on a conveyor belt, and many others related to staying healthy. When you finished you could scan your card at the data checking station to see how you fare against others your age. It was a big museum with tons to see and do, so we stayed until to closing time and barely had time to see it all. I think we all learned something here and we had a good time doing it.
Virginia is a big state with lots of history and we plan to see much more of it. I am sure that we won’t get to see half of the amazing things it has to offer, but I am glad we are here and I hope we get to see more before we have to go. It is tough to decide what to do when there are so many cool things. It was great to see another beautiful state capitol building and get the guided tour which provided so much interesting history. The museum was really fun and it’s nice to see them put an old building to good use. I look forward to exploring more in this beautiful state.
Read more about our visit to the Historic Triangle Area:
Here are some links to the places we visited and more pictures:
The Virginia State Capitol
Science Museum Of Virginia