NS Norfolk, VA MuseumsThere are several Virginia Peninsula historical military locations from the Revolutionary War and Civil War nearby, and more fairly nearby, including Fort Monroe, Fort Wool, Fort Story, and several historic battles, most famously the Battle of Hampton Roads. The Revolutionary War Yorktown Campaign, ending with the ultimate clash of the War, the Battle of Yorktown, was fought just north of this area. The Civil War Peninsula Campaign was also fought in the area, including the second Battle of Yorktown.
This area is also the site of some of the oldest colonial settlements in the USA, including Jamestown, Elizabeth City (now Hampton), Newport News, and Williamsburg, as well as many other settlements now part of other cities.
The General Douglas MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk, is a museum and memorial to one of the greatest generals in US military history, and one of the first grand commanders of amphibious assaults, from a Norfolk family.
Norfolk has a botanical garden, the Norfolk Botanical Garden, and a zoo, the Virginia Zoological Park; both feature kids' programming, classes and camps.
The Chrysler Museum of Art is a large art museum in Norfolk with over thirty thousand items, covering five thousand years of history. It is undergoing renovations and mostly closed until August 2014, but the glass studio and related classes are open.
Nauticus is a large museum and science center in Norfolk, educating on ocean life and maritime history. Exhibits include displays on the local seaports, historical displays, submersibles and deep sea exploration, several marine biology exhibits, and the battleship USS Wisconsin. The museum also hosts camps and other educational activities. The Hampton Roads Maritime Museum is on the same site, dedicated to the history of the US Navy in the Hampton Roads area, with emphasis on specific periods from the American Revolutionary War to the end of the Cold War.
The Virginia War Museum, in Newport News, is a general US Armed Forces military history museum from Revolutionary times to the present, including a collection of tanks, cannon and other artillery, uniforms, historic rifles, women at war, and posters, plus a dedicated archive.
The Mariner's Museum is a large, general maritime history museum in Newport News. It has an extensive collection of artifacts and displays on nautical subjects from the age of sail through to modern ocean shipping, including ship parts and parts of the USS Monitor, as well as a full sized replica.
The Chesapeake Planetarium, in Chesapeake, is a small, well regarded planetarium created for school age education and today available to the general public. Reservations are suggested due to limited seating.
The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum and Lightship Portsmouth Museum are on the same location in Portsmouth. The shipyard museum preserves the history of the oldest and largest shipyard in the USA, including many photos, models, and artifacts. The Lightship is a historic lightship, restored and reset to its historical time.
The Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, in Portsmouth, includes sports activities, memorials, and exercise for the head educational programs.
The Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach, is a private museum with a large number of military aircraft from the earliest days of flight, to the 1950s. Most are in flying condition, and the Museum has hosted two air shows a year for many years. This museum collection is currently being sold off slowly, so visit while it is still there.
The Virginia Air and Space Center is a museum in downtown Hampton focused on air and space technology exploration, and is the visitor's center for NASA's Langley Space Center. The Center has extensive displays of airplanes, jets, weapons, and spacecraft systems and training craft. The Center has a full sized replica of the Wright Flyer, actual World War Two aircraft, real and replica lunar landing craft, and examples from all eras of aviation history.
The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), in Virginia Beach, focuses on relatively modern art, and offers educational art programs for children and adults.
The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, in Virginia Beach, includes marine life (rays, otters, sharks, turtles, and seals), and an aviary (including owls, herons, pelicans, and ducks), and a submarine ship exhibit, among other features, and a variety of education programs.
The Hampton Roads area, even more than Virginia in general, has a great many old historic houses; including the Adam Thoroughgood House, Ferry Plantation House, Hunter House Victorian Museum, and many others, for those interested in American architecture and history.
Virginia Lighthouses: Virginia has many miles of coast, with lots of navigational hazards, and historically has had a large number of lighthouses. Someone looking for a road trip or photographing project should be able to find plenty of lighthouses on wind-swept coast with a little web research. The Cape Henry Lights, in Virginia Beach, are particularly well known.