Perhaps the best Christmas present my family received last year was an annual membership to the Discovery Museum on the downtown mall. The colorful windows had caught my eye often and we’d peeked in one day when we’d been invited for a birthday party when my kiddo was tiny (that day the normal attendance at the museum was overwhelming to brand new parents with a wee one and we didn’t even make it to the party, but I digress).
With an annual pass, very short visits are feasible any day we’re downtown and we can explore a feature or two if we’re not up for spending a full morning - though that’s fun to do as well. It's a great place for playdates and we have sometimes seen bigger kids there on field-trips, but it's also a wonderful spot to watch my kiddo explore solo while I follow her lead. A membership at the Discovery Museum also includes discounts and freebies at a bunch of other local businesses, including a free bambino cone at Splendora’s with an adult coffee purchase.
In February and March there are big renovations coming to the back gallery of the Discovery Museum, so it’s definitely worthwhile to get in there ASAP to appreciate the current iteration before it is (closed for a while and) improved. Regular events include a group for parents with babies, toddler time that involves attended special activities, story hour, crafts and more. Check out their website for updated event information and details about the closure of the back gallery.
Downtown Pedestrian Mall near Sprint Pavilion
524 East Main Street
Charlottesville, VA 22902