We live in one of the most historical cities in the country and with that comes a lot of educational activities for families to take part in…for FREE!
1. Hollywood Cemetery The final resting place of U.S. Presidents James Monroe and John Tyler, this cemetery was established in 1847. Also buried here are numerous famous Virginian historical figures and thousands of Confederate soldiers. Open to the public 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily and tours are available as follows:
Historic Walking Tours
April through November
Monday through Saturday at 10am
Second Saturdays at 2pm
Third Thursdays at 6pm
Fourth Sundays at 2pm
By Appointment Only
2. Library of Virginia Collections include ledgers of plantation owners, as well as Indian treaties, genealogical information, Virginia’s original copy of the United States Bill of Rights, and so much more about Virginia’s history. The library reading rooms are open to researchers from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
3. Maggie L. Walker National Historical Site This National Park Service site (and home of Maggie Walker) commemorates the life of an influential African-American woman who grew up in post-Civil War Richmond and was instrumental in the advancement of civil rights as well as was the first female founder/president of a chartered bank in the United States. Open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
4. Monument Avenue. Beginning at Harrison Street in the Fan District, this historic landmark showcases monuments to several Confederate generals, Robert E. Lee among them, and tennis champion and philanthropist Arthur Ashe, Jr. It extends west to Horsepen Road and is accessible year round.
5. Maymont Gifted to Richmond by James and Sallie Dooley, you can explore the grounds and spectacular gardens at Maymont Estate for free. There is a $5 suggested donation to see the barn and wildlife exhibits and a $5 suggested donation to tour the house. Whether strolling through the gardens, touring the mansion, watching river otters play, petting a goat or picnicking on the lawn, Maymont is 100 acres of beauty and fun for all to enjoy. Grounds open daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. October through March, and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. April through September.
6. National Battlefield Park Meet a National Park Service Ranger and see three floors of exhibits, plus maps and audiovisual programs that introduce the story of Richmond during the Civil War and highlight the battlefields that surround the city. Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily.
7. Rockwood Nature Center The only county-operated nature center in Chesterfield, the log cabin-style building is home to an array of native reptiles and amphibians as well as a honeybee hive and visual informative displays and sits in front of over five miles of paved and unpaved trails. Open noon – 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday in Fall/Winter/Spring and noon-5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday in the Summer months.
8. St. John’s Church The site of Patrick Henry’s “give me liberty or give me death,” speech this is the oldest wooden church in Virginia (established in 1741) and remains an active congregation. Summer Sundays at 2 p.m. provide a free Liberty or Death re-enactment that is free to the public (tickets to be at the forefront of this event are available for reserve) Guided church tours – 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.
9. Three Lakes Nature Center Focusing on plant and animal life native to the region and wildlife living in the wetlands and woodlands surrounding the center, the 6,500 square foot facility contains a 50,000-gallon freshwater aquarium and a variety of exhibits designed to provide visitors hands-on experiences. The park is open sunrise to sunset daily. The Nature Center hours are noon – 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday from September through November and March through May. From December through February, the center is open from noon – 4:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. From June through August, the hours are 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and noon – 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
10. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Features include Portugal Contemporary Art, South Asian pieces, the Pratt collection of Peter Carl Fabergé, European and American paintings, and Native American Art from the Robert and Nancy Nooter Collection. Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily and until 9 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays.
12. Virginia Capitol and Executive Mansion Designed by Thomas Jefferson, the Capitol houses America’s oldest legislative assembly. Daily one-hour guided tours showcase historical statues and paintings, rare exhibit objects, and legislative chambers. Self-guided tours are also available. Enter at 10th and Bank streets. Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 1 – 4 p.m. on Sunday.