Explore Family Fun Activities at the
"It's the only museum where you can come and touch things. [At other museums] you have to walk around, keep your hands in your pockets. Here we say go up, touch it, play with it, push it, figure out what makes it work."
First Floor Exhibits
A Working Port
The busy ports of Norfolk and Portsmouth come alive in this bustling waterfront area. Visitors may explore the port environment through role play and hands-on activities. Visitors are introduced to the functions of a port, how tugboats operate, and what goods are imported and exported.
Create bubbles of varying shapes and sizes — even ones that are bigger than you.
Designed especially for toddlers up to three will have the opportunity to move, play, and explore. Upon passing through a picket fence gate, children may let their curiosities guide them through this safe and interactive nature-themed environment.
Lancaster Antique Train and Toy Collection
Designed to look like a train depot platform. Railway tracks guide visitors from the platform area toward the main Lancaster exhibit and collection. Tots will enjoy the Thomas and Friends play area.
Explore the essential functions of a bank such as depositing and withdrawing money and storing valuable possessions. It will also introduce visitors to concepts such as earning and saving, counterfeiting and international currency
Inspiring Tomorrow's Stars. Nothing quite amazes or inspires a child like that first trip to a planetarium. Click here for show times.
Now Playing at the Planetarium:
One World One Sky -
Big Bird's Adventure
The presentation begins on Sesame Street when Elmo's friend, Hu Hu Zhu, visits from China. Big Bird, Elmo and Hu Hu Zhu take viewers on an exciting discovery of the Sun, Moon, and stars. They learn about the Big Dipper and the North Star and take an imaginary trip to the Moon where they learn that the Moon is a very different place from the Earth. When Elmo and Hu Hu Zhu imagine themselves back on Earth, they celebrate the idea that even though they live in two different countries, they still share the same sky. Guests are encouraged to participate to help Big Bird, Elmo and Hu Hu Zhu.
Season of Light
The Beazley Planetarium is bringing back one of its longtime seasonal favorites this year but with a digital flair.
This presentation traces the history and development of many of the world's most endearing holiday customs, all of which involve lighting up the winter season - from the burning Yule log, sparkling Christmas tree lights and candles in windows, to the lighting of luminarias in the American Southwest and the traditional ritual of the Hanukkah Menorah.
Season of Light is visually rich, culturally inclusive, musically satisfying, and soothing as a warm drink on a cold winter's night.
Sights and Sounds
of a Winter Wonderland
This Beazley Planetarium original program blends the wonders of a beautiful Virginia night sky with the seasonal classics of Tchaikovsky. Learn about the winter constellations while exploring selections of the Nutcracker. The recording the Nutcracker Suite by the London Philharmonic Orchestra is digitally visualized on the 30 foot dome thanks to the Digital Chaotics company. The stunning digital interpretations of the selections fill the dome, dancing with light.
Enter a soon-to-be-open music store. Learn about the four families of musical instruments. Enjoy playing instruments made from unusual and found materials such as trash cans lids, hubcaps, wrenches and more.
From Farm to Foodmart
In the Market area, visitors will recognize their local grocery store environment, full of foods that they regularly see in their store. Children will have the opportunity to work in a simulated grocery store, scanning items and checking out groceries. Visitors will see where much of their food comes from in a variety of hands-on activities.
Enter a wellness center just for kids where they will have fun while learning about sports, work safety, hygiene and fitness.
In this quiet REACH (Reading Enriches All Children) reading area, children may choose to read a book, take a book home with them, or drop a book into a donation box.
Museum Gift Shop
Looking for a unique toy or gift? Our Museum Gift Shop has all kinds of educational gift to spur the imagination.
Learn all about home safety and hazard prevention while engaging with fun, hands-on activities. Play in a real fire truck cab. Play a home fire safety detective game and put out the fire.
Pets and Vets
Pets and Vets is a welcoming pet clinic where children are invited to explore pet care, animal communication, and what pets need to live healthy lives.
Second Floor Exhibits
Dr. Forces Traveling
Come explore energy and physical sciences through the lens of a fairground/carnival sideshow. Concepts include magnetism, electrical energy, waves, fluid dynamics, and simple and compound machines.
My Backyard and Beyond
Investigate a variety of topics through the familiar entry point of your own backyard."My House" is an interactive environment introducing visitors to recycling and energy consumption. Explore topics such as biology, ecology, archaeology, geology, and astronomy in the "backyard". area.
Discover a series of engaging spaces, each with a different themes and functions. Enter into an area full of hands-on experiences organized around particular art forms, such as drawing, painting, sculpture, and architecture. There's also a Performance Space that allows for dance, music and small-scale performances. This area includes the Make It & Take It workshops and two classrooms dedicated to serving groups.