Jutting into the water on the Virginia Peninsula, the city of Newport News has played an important part in the maritime history of the United States. A leader in shipbuilding since 1886, the booming shipyard is still producing nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers. Learn about naval history and the Golden Age Exploration at The Mariners' Museum, with 60,000 square feet of rare maps, nautical instruments and the USS Monitor Center, preserving the remains of the first ironclad warship.
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5 based on 741 reviews
The Mariners' Museum, America's National Maritime Museum, includes the USS Monitor Center, home to the Civil War Ironclad's iconic gun turret. The Museum has over 35,000 maritime artifacts, including ship models, paintings and small craft. Located on a 550-acre park, they also feature a 5-mile hiking trail and paddleboat rentals.
Been wanting to do this since they found the Monitor, but this was much much more. Artifacts from the Monitor touching from the gold ring found in the turret, parcial uniform and a reminder that American Servicemen Hero's who served their country died onboard this US military ship. The displays that give you interaction with the monitor very well done and they attempt to get it right. As experts learn from their studies the displays are changed to show the knowledge gained. The preservation area is a functioning laboratory which you can observe and if you are lucky you will be there on the day the tanks holding the turret is emptied and you get a good look. Hope this stimulate some young students to take an interest in science and historic preservation. The Merrimac is also well represented. The display on her was also very extensive and well done with artifacts from the scuttled ship. Displays on the US Navy from 1776 to present was well represented. Displays on shipbuilding from ancient to modern well represented. The docents very helpful and knowledgeable. As far as displays with plenty of helpful staff this is Museum is one of the best.
5 based on 240 reviews
The 5 mile trail is great. More ups and downs than you'd expect in eastern Virginia. Beautiful views of lakes and the James River. It's well maintained and wide but still be careful of roots that can be tripping hazards. A beautiful spot. I walk it on the weekends with friends. There's also a 3 mile option as well.
4.5 based on 642 reviews
View endangered red wolves. Get up close to a loggerhead turtle and moon jellies. See fish with no eyes and frogs that change colors. Touch live spider crabs and fossilized dinosaur tracks. It's all at the Virginia Living Museum, Newport News, where living exhibits depict Virginia's natural heritage from the mountains to the sea. Experience a steamy cypress swamp and cool mountain cove. Explore the underwater world of the Chesapeake Bay and the underground realm of a limestone cave. See flying squirrels, stingrays and other creatures of the night. Touch famous Bay creatures. Kids will especially enjoy the Touch Tank with its sea stars and horseshoe crabs. Enjoy hands-on activities. See spectacular views of the sun from the observatory and travel the universe in the state-of-the-art digital planetarium. Outdoors, stroll the boardwalk to view coastal birds, beavers, otters, coyotes, endangered red wolves and other animals in naturalized habitats. Butterfly Garden, Virginia Garden and landscape plantings display one of the most extensive displays of native plants in Virginia. Learn how to live, build and garden green in the Conservation Garden and Green Living House.
My family and I visit this place frequently. They have several exhibits both inside and outside that are good for the entire family. What sold my wife and I on a membership is the dinosaur exhibit. Our lil guy loves dinosaurs and this permanent exhibit is is a must see. I recommend a membership because it just makes sense if you're going to visit more than once, and they have a few membership options to choose from. I highly recommend visiting and getting a membership because you won't be disappointed.
4.5 based on 114 reviews
Free, great for families, petting zoo, animals & trees, working farm, hands on, near to Convention Center & Coliseum, easy access from I-64 & I-664
This place is a gem, tucked away in an area near the convention center and almost totally secluded. An assortment of large and small animals for petting (and some for feeding). Much better than the local zoos, and also completely free. Great place for kids and adults. Much bigger then it looks upon entering. Plenty of parking.
4.5 based on 255 reviews
Newport News Park has camp sites on one side. There are numerous hiking trails to explore nature and scenery along the Lee Hall Reservoir. During the Civil War, this location was part of the Confederate defense line during the Union's peninsula campaign and there are markers to indicate that. Boats are available to rent. There are numerous covered pavilions to rent for picnics. There are activity centers for kids and the park is adjacent to the golf course too. Great for dog walks under shady trees.
4.5 based on 177 reviews
This is my favorite of all of the base museums I’ve visited because it’s chronologically organized and allows guests to observe the evolution of war and how technology and tactical environments change over time. There’s a really nice gift shop. Free parking. Free admission.
5 based on 79 reviews
History comes alive at the USS Monitor Center. The restoration of the turret is ongoing and we were fortunate to be at the museum on the day when the eminent Monitor historian, John Quarstein was giving a talk at the site of the restoration. When the ironclad Monitor sank she turned upside down and the turret is still resting upside down in restoration tank. There are more than 220 tons of artifacts recovered from the Monitor and the displays of personal items are particularly moving. The audio-video reenactment of the Monitor and Merimak battle is informative and not to be missed.
Parking adjacent to the museum is free and admission was only $1.00 for summer.
4.5 based on 92 reviews
Miles of trails that are great for walking or running, paddleboat/canoe rentals, plenty of fish and turtles, picnic areas, dog park, Ranger station with wildlife exhibits, camp sites with Yurts available, great place for a nature lover!
4.5 based on 129 reviews
This museum has many one of a kind weapons like the stinger and both the semi-automatic and full automatic Johnson rifles from WWII. BUT the small space makes the collection somewhat convoluted and it is difficult to maintain chronological order. Explanations are sparse, rarely giving the cultural or tactical significance of the item.
Admission price is reasonable. There is a small, but diverse gift shop, also with reasonable prices.
Unfortunately no staff were available to answer questions about the displays or offer greater insight. Also, I found myself wishing for more places to sit and ponder the items.
Outside are some very impressive items. But only a railroad gun has any label and that label is hard to read. Even the most basic of explanations would have improved the outdoor displays.
5 based on 31 reviews
Make plans to begin your adventure at the Newport News Visitor Center. Here our well-trained travel counselors stand ready to assist you with your itinerary and to help you make the most of your Newport News experience. The counselors can supply you with a variety of information including a Visitor Guide, directional maps, attraction fees and hours, accommodation information, and special event happenings.
Ever since we very nearly missed a wonderful attraction near Solomons, Maryland, Ben and Mrs Too make the various visitor centers a must-do early stop. It so often turns out that something really worthwhile, only a few miles away, lies in a different post office, and consequently is not listed among TripAdvisor’s attractions. We can’t fault TripAdvisor. They have their hands full as it is, so it falls to the traveler to cover the outlying bases. Of course, the docents at virtually all of these centers are so dedicated to their mission that one leaves with a real sense that they are glad you dropped by.
We visited here first thing after breakfast on our first morning, and spent a most enjoyable and helpful hour or so with Dia, who took us under her wing with an infectious enthusiasm worthy of a carnival barker. She soon had us loaded down with so many neat things to see and do that a return to Tidewater Virginia in the future became an absolutely sure thing. One of the main purposes of these little three and four day trips, all close to home, is precisely to leave us with as many reasons as possible to come back again.
Dia, you did a heck of a job! We’ll see you again, should the fates allow.
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