FUN THINGS TO DO
Discover how Hampton became America’s Gateway, critical to four centuries of national history. Explore the chronicle of life in America through the story of this city by the sea, from early Native American culture to man’s reach into space. Eight remarkable galleries share the personal stories of explorers, pirates, and men and women working along the Chesapeake Bay, and illustrate profound changes to our nation.
Admission is $5 Adults; $4 Seniors, active military/NASA, AAA, Children 4-12; Free for ages 4 and under.
Home to more than 100 historic aeronautic, and space exploration exhibits, the Virginia Air & Space Center celebrates aviation milestones, space exploration, and technological advances. From historic aircraft suspended from the Center’s 94-foot ceiling to the unforgettable space capsule display, visitors come face-to-face with amazing artifacts and hands-on, minds-on exhibits. There are also spectacular giant-screen digital IMAX films and amazing programs that bring science, technology, engineering, and math to life. The official visitor center for NASA Langley Research Center, the Virginia Air & Space Center is located on Downtown Hampton’s historic waterfront.
Admission includes an IMAX educational film: $19 Adults; $15.50 Children/Students (ages 3-18); $17 Seniors (65+); $16 Military/NASA
Located on the 565-acre peninsula known as Old Point Comfort, Fort Monroe is the largest stone fort ever built in the United States. The site was an active US Army post from 1823-2011 and is now operated by the Fort Monroe Authority and the National Park Service. Museum exhibits chronicle the history of the site from pre-colonial times to the present. During the Civil War, Fort Monroe was a Union stronghold and attained the nickname “Freedom’s Fortress” as a shelter for thousands of enslaved freedom seekers. Visitors can also enter the cell where Jefferson Davis was imprisoned and climb atop the fort’s ramparts for views of the surrounding waterways. Point Comfort at Fort Monroe is also the location where 20-30 enslaved Africans landed in late August 1619. In Virginia, these Africans were traded in exchange for supplies. Several days later, a second ship, Treasurer, arrived in Virginia with additional enslaved Africans. Both groups had been captured by English privateers from the Spanish slave ship San Juan Bautista. These are the first recorded Africans to arrive in England’s mainland American colonies.
Open year-round 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Admission is free and self-guided.
This museum celebrates the history, heritage and future of historic Aberdeen Gardens. The community was built for and by African Americans in 1934 as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal Settlement.
Call for an appointment. Free admission.
Designed to resemble a working farm, this 60-acre site is home to domesticated and wild animals familiar to traditional Virginia farms. Playground for ages 2-12, picnic tables and shelter, grills, antique barn, garden and arboretum, and short walking trail on site.
Open daily: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Free admission.
This 456-acre recreational facility features two lakes, wetlands areas, trails for hiking and biking, fishing, non-motorized boating, picnic areas, children’s playground, a campground, yurts for rent, and a beautiful nature center. Open year-round: daily sunrise to sunset.
Nature center hours: 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. Free admission.
Trailheads located at Air Power Park, HRCC, and Power Plant
Hampton’s new linear park located in the heart of the City’s business district, Coliseum Central. A 2.2 mile shared-use path along Newmarket Creek that connects neighborhoods, hotels, shopping, and visitor destinations, including the iconic Hampton Coliseum and Convention Center. Experience both the urban and the natural as the trail winds past businesses, residences, open greens, a tidal creek and wetlands, as well as threes lakes. The park is an implementation project from the City’s Coliseum Central Strategic Area Master Plan. Trailheads occur at each end of the trail: Power Plant of Hampton Roads and Air Power Park. The trail can be accessed directly in front of the Convention Center and Embassy Suites hotel.
Open year-round: daily sunrise to sunset. Free admission.
Four Awesome Beaches
Just under a mile long, spotted with vintage cottages and newly constructed townhomes and bay front estates, Buckroe Beach offers a concrete promenade encouraging strolls to enjoy the breezes and sunshine, a fully enclosed playground, fishing pier, and endless fun.
Lifeguards present 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. Free on-site parking & admission.
Ideal for observing wildlife, kayaking, hiking and fishing, this 578-acre Preserve and estuary on the Chesapeake Bay includes 2 1/2 miles of tranquil bay-front beach. Requires a brief hike from on-street parking (free).
Surrounded by water on all sides, the Fort Monroe beaches extend for miles and offer some of the best views of the Chesapeake Bay. Outlook Beach, Fort Monroe’s public beach, is the perfect place for swimming, sunning, and relaxing, Lifeguards present 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.
Free on-site parking & admission.
Located on historic Fort Monroe, Paradise Ocean Club, features a private beach, Olympic sized outdoor pool equipped with a water slide and diving board, and kids’ pool. Private cabanas for rent, a picnic area, beach service, and tennis courts are also featured amenities. Weekly special events and live music all weekend on the deck complete the “paradise” experience.
Open Sun-Thurs 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri & Sat 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Daily admission rates: $10 Adults, $5 Kids