Whether you enjoy playing by a lake or spending time indoors in a museum, West Virginia has many attractions and activities for your kids.
One of the best things to do for free with your kids in West Virginia is to take a walk on one of the heritage trails, such as the Coal Heritage Trail (http://www.coalheritage.org/) or the Civil War Discovery Trail (http://www.civilwardiscoverytrail.org/). Not only will you get exercise and enjoy some fresh air, but you will also learn more about the area’s history.
The Children’s Museum of the Ohio Valley (www.cmovkids.org) sits in Wheeling and gives kids the chance to learn through hands-on exhibits and activities, including giant Tinker-Toys, crawl through tunnels, ad rice table, and face painting. This attraction is appropriate for kids ages 10 and younger. West Virginia also has a science museum, which might work better if you have older kids to entertain. The Science Museum of Western Virginia (www.smwv.org) has science exhibits for all types of science. It also has a living river and live animals room, where your children can see wildlife, and even touch river and saltwater tide pool creatures. You can also teach your kids about the state’s coal mining history at the Pocahontas Exhibition Mine and Museum (http://www.pocahontasva.org/museum.html).
West Virginia has a couple of zoos, giving your kids the chance to learn more about exotic animals. The West Virginia Zoo at Hovatter’s Wildlife Zoo (www.westvirginiazoo.com) is one of these. It is located near Kingwood and has a large collection of animals on display. The small Good Zoo at Oglebay Resort (http://www.pocahontasva.org/museum) in Wheeling has just 85 species of animals, but it also has a hands-on discovery room to give your kids a more personal learning experience. Your kids may enjoy playing and exploring nature at Stonewall Jackson Lake Resort (http://www.stonewallresort.com/), located in Roanoke.
Christmas offers the chance to take your kids to see brilliant light displays throughout the state. One of the best is the Olgebay Winter Festival of Lights at the Oglebay Resort and Conference Center in Wheeling. It is one of the largest light shows in the nation and bring guests from around the country, so you should not miss it as a local resident. Once you do the six-mile drive through, take the time to see the Christmas Tree Garden, Nativity scene and the décor at the Mansion Museum and Wilson Lodge. The fall foliage in West Virginia is spectacular, and your kids may enjoy a Fall Foliage Run at the Cass Scenic Railroad (http://www.cassrailroad.com/).
Just for Mom Fun
When the time comes for mom to relax, head to White Sulphur Springs and the Greenbrier Spa (www.greenbrier.com), where you can enjoy environmentally-based spa treatments in a beautiful, kid-free setting. For an eclectic mix of shopping and theater, head to the Tamarack (www.tamarackwv.com) shopping district in Beckley.
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