Plan Your School's Visit
The Virginia Living Museum wants your class to have the best visit possible. Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions about a Museum visit.
Museum Science Programs are:
Endorsed by the:
Virginia Department of Education
U.S. Department of Education
National Science Foundation
When to Visit
Any time during the school year is a good time to visit, although the Museum is less crowded from September through February. Book early for the best selection of programs and dates.
Length of Visit
A self-guided tour of the Museum’s exhibits and outdoor trails takes 1.5 to 2 hours. For more information, click here.
Natural Science and Planetarium programs last 45 minutes.
Environmental Science Labs last 1.5 hours.
Safaris are extended day off-site programs and do not include a self-guided visit.
Scheduling a Program
The Museum has contracts with the following school systems to provide pre-paid science programs: Newport News and Gloucester. Teachers in these school systems should contact the Museum to determine the specific programs available to them.
Select your desired program title(s).
Choose your optimum program date(s) with possible back-up dates.
Determine the approximate number of students and adult chaperones. (Remember one adult chaperone per 10 students is required.)
Call our Reservations Coordinator at 757-595-9135 between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Fill out the on-line request form and our Reservations Coordinator will contact you to complete the reservation.
A confirmation packet containing important information about your program will be mailed directly to you.
Program days and times are filled on a first call, first served basis. We highly recommend that teachers call as soon as possible after school begins (at least by the end of September) to increase their chance of receiving their preferred program dates. Teachers may wish to consider reserving programs in the fall or winter when the Museum is generally less busy.
While the Museum’s science programs and exhibits are targeted to Virginia’s Standards of Learning, their topics have universal appeal. Predator and prey, plant and animal life cycles, animal survival adaptations, endangered and threatened species, geology, dinosaurs, weather and astronomy are applicable to science studies throughout the United States.
Classroom teachers and school staff are admitted free. The Museum also requires one adult chaperone for every 10 students. These chaperones are admitted free, as well. Additional chaperones are charged $16 each). The Museum requires students to stay with their assigned chaperone.
The Museum is located at 524 J. Clyde Morris Blvd., Newport News, two miles off I-64 at exit 258-A. It is about 30 minutes from Williamsburg and Norfolk.
Get Fast and Easy Map Directions to The Virginia Living Museum
Hours of Operation
The Museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday from Labor Day to Memorial Day. Summer hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
There is plenty of free parking for buses and motorcoaches.
Outdoor picnic tables and vending machines are conveniently located on the Museum grounds. Some tables are covered. There are no eating facilities for school groups inside the Museum. Please make alternate plans for rainy days. Large groups may want to picnic at nearby Deer Park where tables and shelters are available on a first-come, first-served basis until 4 p.m. weekdays.
Wild Side Café
School groups may pre-order lunches directly from the Wild Side Café.
The Wild Things Museum Store carries a wide variety of fun and educational science and nature items, including a selection of useful teacher resource materials. Pre-packaged gift bags are available for school groups when reserved in advance. Click here for information and an order form. Click here for more information about the store.
Payment and Cancellation
Payment for non-contract schools can be made by cash, check, credit card or the Museum can invoice. Two weeks notice is required for cancellations on all bookings. Payment for contract schools is handled by the school system.
Self Guided Visit
Schedule a self-guided visit of exhibits that feature over 250 live animal and plant species native to Virginia in their natural settings. Trained interpreters are located throughout the exhibits to work with your students, making exhibits "hands-on" so students learn by doing as well as by seeing. Advance reservations are required for groups of ten or more students.
For more information or to make a reservation, call the Reservations Coordinator at 757-595-9135 Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., or click here.
The exhibits in the Virginia Living Museum were designed to correlate with and reinforce Virginia's Standards of Learning for Science. The Museum’s exhibits are both indoors and outdoors, so be prepared for inclement weather. The Abbitt Planetarium is located in an adjacent building.
While taking a tour of the geographic regions of Virginia, students can observe:
Live animals and plants in their natural habitats
Plant and animal life cycles, food chains and food webs
Animal survival adaptations for finding food and shelter, rearing young, avoiding predators, defensive measures
Animal migration, camouflage and hibernation
Endangered and threatened species
Vertebrates and invertebrates
The importance of conserving Virginia's animal, plant and mineral resources
Pond, forest, stream, Chesapeake Bay, cypress swamp, mountain cove, cave and more habitats
Virginia's prehistoric past: rocks, minerals, fossils
Phases of the moon, reasons for the seasons, earth's revolution and rotation, planets in our solar system
For more information about our exhibits, click here.
This area is open for safe viewing of the sun, weather permitting. Here you can learn about telescopes and see sunspots, flares and solar prominences. Click here for more information.
Visiting Exhibits Gallery
Throughout the year, new interactive and highly informative natural history exhibits are featured in this special gallery. An additional fee may be required. Click here for more information.