Mt_Vernon1They say Virginia is for lovers, but here’s a secret – all that loving leads to kids, and Virginia is just as great for families. (No wonder their PR has been so successful.)

Anyway, Virginia is a big state, and there’s a lot to like. So (after much debate with my own personal peanut gallery), here are our top five. Your mileage, of course, may vary….

  1. LaserNation – yes, Virginia is full of history and amusement parks (we’ll get to that later). But when it comes to blowing off energy, you can’t beat LaserNation Laser Tag in Sterling, where you can become part of the video game and play an electronic version of Capture the Flag.
  2. The Shenandoah Caverns – I’ve always been a bit of a rock hound, so the stalagmites and other limestone formations inside of caves have always caught my interest. But at Shenandoah, it’s more than just rocks…check out the American Celebration on Parade display of over 30 floats from the Rose Bowl and Thanksgiving Day Parades of years gone by. (See, I told you there’d be history!)
  3. Mount Vernon –  My boys are really interested in history, and you don’t get more historic than this – the home of our first president, George Washington. You can visit the gardens, tour the mansion and chat with costumed characters who reminisce about George’s days there.
  4. Planet Snoopy at King’s Dominion – Okay, so there are 15 world class roller coasters there, which keep my hubby and older kids busy all day. But I love Planet Snoopy, King’s Dominion’s kiddie area, where my youngest can shake hands with Charlie Brown before taking off in her own Flying Ace.
  5. Virginia Safari Park – Ever since our local Great Adventure changed the safari ride, we’ve been looking for a place we can see animals in a more natural environment. And we found it in Natural Bridge! The Virginia Safari Park is a drive-through zoo, where the elk and bison wander right past your car. Check out the Giraffe Feeding Station, where you can climb up and look the big guy in the eye as you hand him his oats.