Things to Do With Kids in Charlottesville
Planning a family vacation in Charlottesville? Looking for weekend activities your kids will love? No matter how long you stay, you’ll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Charlottesville. Get ready for a day, weekend or entire week full of fun for the whole family!
From educational experiences to artistic exploration, there are many things to do with family in Charlottesville, Virginia — whether you’re local or from out of town. Here are some popular activities to help guide your itinerary:
- Going to the park
- Visiting a museum
- Flexing your explorer skills
- Getting creative and crafty
- Bowling, bouncing and more
- Enjoying a family meal together
1. Play in the Parks of Charlottesville
When the weather is nice, one of the best things to do in Charlottesville with kids is to visit a park and let them unleash their energy. Parks throughout the city provide perfect areas to let children play and explore in the fresh air. Some of the best kid-friendly greenspaces throughout Charlottesville include:
- Azalea Park: With a Little League baseball field, basketball courts, a playground and more, kids can find fun that lasts all day. Parents will appreciate the two paved parking lots, and everyone will love the peaceful charm of Moore’s Creek, which runs through the park.
- Walnut Creek Park: Pack a lunch and head about 20 minutes southwest of Charlottesville to visit Walnut Creek Park. The park charges a small fee from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but it’s worth it for all the area offers. Find opportunities for fishing, swimming, biking, picnicking, canoeing, disc golfing and more.
- Meade Park: Though Meade Park is best known for its Onesty Swimming Pool, it has lots more to offer. The park spans over 5 acres and features a playground, basketball court and picnic area. Take a dip in the pool to beat the heat or bring a picnic to enjoy a meal outside.
When you visit parks, you can get a slice of the outdoors in Charlottesville or take a mini road trip to see what’s outside the city. Your kids are sure to enjoy the recreation, and you’ll love soaking up the beautiful views.
2. Explore the Virginia Discovery Museum
For activities in Charlottesville that cater to younger kids, look no further than the Virginia Discovery Museum. The programs and exhibits at the museum aim to spark curiosity in children ages 1 to 10. The Virginia Discovery Museum hosts fun and educational programs like:
- Drop-in programs: These classes run weekly September through May, with some serving children younger than 18 months and many welcoming kids of all ages. No registration is necessary for these fun events that promote themes of art, music, science and more.
- Drop-off programs: These events welcome children ages 3 and up and require pre-registration. Drop your kids off to enjoy after-school programs, holiday-themed activities and more. Check out the date night drop-off program every third Friday of the month to give your kids a fun night while you hit the town.
- Museum camps: When public schools in the area close for spring break, summer or teacher workdays, the museum is open to keep education alive. Camps offer everything from educational enrichment to playtime in the museum’s exhibits.
3. Unleash Your Inner Explorer at the Lewis & Clark Exploratory Center
Take young explorers and history fans to the Lewis & Clark Exploratory Center. Your kids can exercise their appreciation for art, exploration, history and more with the center’s many exhibits, including:
- Full-size historical boat replicas
- Permanent and rotating exhibitions about Lewis and Clark’s expeditions
- Rotating activities like mapmaking, nature observation, journaling, drawing and more
- The opportunity to hike along the Rivanna River and feel like a real explorer
The Center also hosts camps during Charlottesville’s teacher workdays, spring break or summer break. These events invite kids to take part in artistic, scientific and educational activities.
4. Make Art Together in Charlottesville
Let your kids flex their creativity and work together to make something memorable. There are so many artistic and fun family things to do in Charlottesville that you could all try something new, so be sure to:
- Create your own glass art at The Glass Palette. At this shop, you pay for what you create. Their walk-ins are suitable for children ages 5 and up. With so many projects from jewelry to mosaics and more, you’ll want to visit again and again.
- Try your hand at some pottery with Lazy Daisy Ceramics and the Pottery Paintin’ Place. This location hosts parties, but you can also join them for walk-ins and workshops. Lazy Daisy Ceramics has all the supplies you and your kids need to craft something special.
- Join a parent and child session at City Clay, where you and your family can create even more ceramic art. Have fun making hand-built or wheel-thrown pottery and sculptures. You can also draw inspiration at the gallery, which hosts local works in exhibits every month.
Getting creative together is a great way to bond with your family, and there are many opportunities to do just that in Charlottesville. Make a gift for someone else or create a souvenir for the trip. You and your kids may even find your new favorite craft!
5. Find Other Fun Family Things to Do in Charlottesville
Get active together, plan a party or experience other kid-friendly things to do in Charlottesville. The city has plenty of excitement to offer at:
- Jump Cville Trampoline Park: Let some energy out at a place where your kids can literally bounce off the walls! This indoor trampoline park has 20,000 square feet to explore with trampolines, a foam pit and dodgeball court.
- Bounce Play-n-Create: Everyone in the family can have fun at this park with options for children 3 and under, slides, a cafe, an arts and crafts area and a lounge area for adults.
- Putt-Putt: Complete with two 18-hole courses, Putt-Putt brings families together with a fun game of mini golf. Charlottesville locals can even have a children’s birthday party here to bring everyone in on the fun.
- Rocky Top Gym: Try out indoor rock climbing, play racquetball or visit the exercise room at Rocky Top Gym. The gym also hosts a summer camp for kids to play and exercise with rock climbing, indoor volleyball and more.
- AMF Kegler’s Lanes: Hit the lanes as a family and see who can get the highest bowling score! AMF Kegler’s Lanes has further entertainment with pool tables, video games and a brewpub and lounge for adults. Visit on Friday and Saturday for Xtreme Bowling, which features black lights and music.
From classic family outings to something new and cool, Charlottesville has something every family will enjoy. Do something you’ve done before or begin a new family tradition!
Have a Family-Friendly Meal in Charlottesville at Root 29
If you’re like Virginian native Thomas Jefferson, you love experiencing a city’s food options. After you’ve explored all the activities in Charlottesville for kids, it’s time to sit down to a meal together. Root 29’s comfortable, family-oriented atmosphere makes the perfect place to gather over delicious food and reflect on the fun you had that day.
Our menu offers both modern dishes adults will enjoy and approachable meals children love. The whole family can enjoy our unique twists on classic comfort foods that evoke regional flavors. You can enjoy a leisurely meal that ends in delicious desserts or stop in for a quick bite.
If you need an evening away, you can always plan a date night and experience the elegant side of Root 29. We have something for every occasion, whether you visit for a meal for two or a family sit-down. Make a reservation today for your next meal and experience our innovative menu for yourself!