A Family Outing: The Nauticus and USS Wisconsin

I was homeschooled for the majority of my school years. It was a wonderful time, mainly because my parents took us to the library several times a week and on field trips regularly. We visited and experienced fairs, parades, national parks, zoos, aquariums, museums, art galleries, ballets, symphony performances, and more. I want those experiences for my children. Although Baby J is still just that -a baby- I can still cater to his natural curiosity, and we can learn new things together as a family.

When we moved to Virginia almost a year ago, I was thrilled to learn there’s a great deal for families to do in the Hampton Roads area. One of my favorite sites to visit is the museum called the Nauticus.

Located in downtown Norfolk, the Nauticus features such permanent exhibits about seaports, the 1907 Jamestown Exposition, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) underwater parks and weather service, tsunami preparation, the modern Navy, and more. Many of their exhibits are interactive and fun for kids, like the horseshoe crab cove and the shark experience. They also have changing exhibits, so there’s always a great deal to see and learn!

The retired Battleship Wisconsin is berthed next to the Nauticus; admission to the ship’s deck, wardroom, and officer’s country is included with a Nauticus ticket. Currently, adult admission is $13.95 a ticket, which I find very reasonable. Children 4 to 12 are $9.50, while children under 3 are free. There are discounts for AAA, seniors, and military.

Photos from the Nauticus and the USS Wisconsin:

Nauticus Battleship Collage

Do you take field trips or outings as a family? Where’s your favorite place to go?
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Christmas Town: A Family Outing

Well, it’s been nearly a week since I’ve posted in the blogosphere. As a blogger, that’s not good at all. My excuse is I’ve been busy with family, cooking, cleaning, organization…the holiday in general! I don’t know if that’s a good excuse or not; I probably should’ve found some time anyway.

Moving on…

This past Saturday I had the opportunity to visit Christmas Town, Busch Gardens Williamsburg with family and friends. Despite the chilly weather, we had a wonderful time! The Williamsburg Christmas Town site is open in the afternoons and evenings select days this year from Nov. 23 to Dec. 31. If you have the chance to go, make sure you bundle yourself and your kids in lots of layers. If I could do it again, I’d bring another hat, leg warmers, and mittens for my son. As it was, we bundled him up tight!

Look at the baby burrito! 😉

One negative thing about the park: it’s not very nursing-mother friendly, like Disney World is. There was really no good place to nurse, and I personally do not like to nurse my son in a public restroom. I think I’ve only done it twice, maybe 3 times. While at Christmas Town, I ended up nursing him once sitting at some tables outside and then later inside of one of the shows, with a blanket draped over my shoulder. I’ve become much more comfortable at nursing in public over the last few months, but the noise around distracts Baby J. I wish Busch Gardens would build a baby care center with a mother’s room.

Most of the “thrill-seeking” rides are closed during Christmas Town, but there are plenty of family-friendly and kid-friendly rides still running. They also have holiday-themed shows and attractions, like Santa’s Workshop. There were quite a few things I wish we’d had the chance to do -like ride the train- but with such a large group, 3 small children, and 2 babies…we spent a lot of time waiting on each other, bathroom breaks, eating, etc. But it wasn’t bad at all! Spending time together as family and friends was the entire point!

Once the sun set, the Christmas lights were gorgeous and almost magical to behold. Without kids, I think Christmas Town would be a romantic place to visit at night.

Click on Photos to Enlarge:
Pompeii before dark
Pompeii after dark
Sesame Street Show

My son loved the Sesame Street show so much, he squealed, bounced, and waved his arms around like crazy during the singing!

Peace on Earth
Path to Ireland
To the left, Santa’s Workshop; to the right, the North Pole
Panorama Shots:

(I was excited when I realized the latest iPhone update allows me to take panorama shots!)

Pompeii Panorama
Lights Overhead

Have you visited Christmas Town in Williamsburg or Tampa? What family outings do you have planned this holiday season?

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