Attractions January 11, 2016
Here Are 10 Awesome Things You Can Do In Virginia For $10 Or Less
With the hustle and bustle of the holidays done and the Christmas decorations (mostly) packed away, it’s time to start settling into the new year. For many of us, that means taking a look at budgets – which have all too often been turned upside down by holiday shopping. Like most people, you might be looking for ways to cut back a little at the start of 2016. Fortunately, that doesn’t have to mean sitting at home watching Netflix every weekend. Instead, try these 10 things – all for $10 or less.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. Amazement Square: Lynchburg
This award-winning children’s museum in Lynchburg provides a hands-on, interactive learning environment for children (and adults) of all ages. With with seven multidisciplinary exhibits and galleries, the museum also features one of the tallest indoor climbing structures in the United States. The museum uses creative play and discovery to teach about architecture, geography, diversity, science, nature and much more. Best of all, admission is only $9 person, ensuring hours of fun and education at an affordable price. Learn more at
2. Mill Mountain Zoo: Roanoke
Set atop Mill Mountain in Roanoke, the Mill Mountain Zoo features more than 45 species of birds, reptiles and mammals, including endangered species like red pandas and snow leopards. From exotic to indigenous species, the zoo offers a unique opportunity to learn about wildlife in a beautiful natural setting – at a price that makes it affordable for the whole family. During the winter months (October through March), the zoo is open Thursday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., with admission prices of $6 for children three and above and $8 for adults. Learn more about the zoo’s exhibits, hours and location at
Mill Mountain Zoo
3. American Shakespeare Center: Staunton
The Blackfriars Playhouse at the American Shakespeare Center (AMC) is the world’s only exact replica of the original Blackfriars Monastery Theater in England, a 16th century indoor theater designed and built with input from William Shakespeare himself. Everything about the theater, from lighting to staging, has been precisely designed to mirror productions in Shakespeare’s time. While regular tickets exceed the $10 limit of our list, the AMC offers a special “pay what you will” option for unreserved seats at the first few performances of every production. See the full calendar for “pay what you will” shows
and take advantage of this incredible opportunity to see the world of Shakespeare at a bargain price.
4. Children’s Museum of Richmond: Richmond, Chesterfield, Short Pump and Fredericksburg
For anyone who has been to the Children’s Museum of Richmond, you know that the fun is not limited to just the little ones. With exciting, interactive displays for nearly every age group, the Children’s Museum of Richmond offers a perfect space for learning, play and imagination with exhibits that range from science to creative play and art. With an admission price across all locations of $9 per person and $8 for seniors over 60, these family-friendly museums are an affordable investment for a day filled with fun. Be sure to visit on the 15th of each month for 15 cent children’s admission. Learn more about hours, locations and annual memberships at
Children’s Museum of Richmond
5. Virginia Museum of Natural History: Martinsville
This treasure of a museum in Southside Virginia offers incredible value. At just $5 per adult, $4 per child between the ages of three and 18 and only $3 for college students, seniors and active military personnel, the Virginia Museum of Natural History takes you through meticulous exhibits exploring everything from ancient history to modern science and technology. Current exhibits include Virginia archaeology, fossils, African mammals, nature, insects and much, much more. With ongoing special events and programs, the Virginia Museum of Natural History is a great way to learn about the natural environment of Virginia – and the world. Visit them
6. State Parks throughout Virginia
With 36 parks to choose from, ranging from the mountains of Grayson Highlands and Wilderness Road to the coastlines of Westmoreland and First Landing State Park, Virginia State Parks offer unmatched diversity, adventure and natural beauty. Many of state parks offer free admission to the park itself, with parking fees for up to 8 passengers that range from $3 to $9, depending on in-state or out-of-state status. Some parks do charge nominal entrance fees, as well as fees for fishing or boat launch. These fees range from $2 to $6. Be sure to check out your local state park at
I Love Virginia State Parks
for a easy, affordable way to get out and explore with the whole family.
7. Go-Karts Plus: Lightfoot (near Williamsburg)
At Go-Karts Plus, you can enjoy four go-kart tracks, “blaster” boats, roller coasters, a video arcade, bumper cars and exciting rides for the whole family. Go-Karts Plus offers a flexible option with ticket-based pricing. Tickets are $1.50 each, with rides ranging between 1 and 5 tickets. With larger ticket books available at discounts, it’s easy to have fun with a group for less than $10 a person. Or for $7.50 per person, make your way through the Gold Mine Mini-Golf course, a thrill-filled Old West mining-themed course that offers gemstone and fossil panning, challenging obstacles and multiple water features, including a 30-foot waterfall. Learn more at
8. Glowgolf: Leesburg and Springfield
Golfing might be a pricey hobby, but fortunately, this mini-golf course comes with mini-prices to match. At Glowgolf, you can play up to 54 holes of indoor, glow-in-the-dark golf for $10 per adult, $8 for children ages 5-12 and $5 for seniors over 60 and children aged four and under. For some added excitement, try the Laser Maze Challenge for $3 per game, 2 games for $5 or 5 games for $10. Check
for times and locations.
9. The Nature Center and Children’s Barn at Maymont Park: Richmond
This historic park in Richmond is a treasure trove of animal life. Featuring a Nature Center, a Children's Farm and multiple wildlife exhibits, there's enough to keep you busy all day without emptying your wallet. The Nature Center offers 13 aquariums with the chance to get up close and personal with many of the animals, fish and reptiles native to the James River. Outside, the Children's Barn provides a look at native farm animals and allows you to pet and feed many of them. In the wildlife exhibits, you'll see indigenous species, including bears, deer, foxes and birds of prey. The Children’s Barn and wildlife exhibits are free and the Nature Center charges a nominal fee of $3 for visitors between the ages of 13-59 and $2 for seniors and children ages 4-12. Children three and under are free. Learn more at
10. Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre: Lynchburg
The Snowflex Centre at Liberty Mountain in Lynchburg lets you hit the slopes any time of the year. With options for every skill level, from beginner to advanced, the center uses a synthetic material to recreate the feel and grip of real snow, even without Mother Nature’s cooperation. Featuring camps throughout year, as well as tubing, skiing and snowboarding, the real surprise is the price. During off-peak days (Monday through Thursday), skiing and snowboarding is only $6 an hour and only $8 an hour on peak days (Friday through Sunday). Tubing starts at a slightly higher price of $11 (off-peak) and $13 (peak) for the first hour, but drops to $6 (off-peak) and $8 (peak) an hour for each additional hour. Equipment rentals are available for additional fees, but overall, Snowflex offers a lot of bang for very few bucks. Learn more at
Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre
If you have other great suggestions for fun, affordable activities, tell us about them in the comments below!