When the temperature hit 95 and the pool was closed for a swim meet, I knew just where to go for an afternoon of fun with the boys – the newly-opened Children’s Museum of Richmond, Chesterfield. Tucked into a non-descript shopping center on Hull Street Road, the third area location of the popular family destination is a welcome addition to the Chesterfield County landscape.
I was immediately struck by the wide open lawn area, where moms chatted on park benches and kids played hopscotch or ran sack races across the artificial grass. We opted to start at the back and work our way up, which landed us Under the Sea to begin our adventure. The vortex was a big hit in the water play area, and both of my boys (ages 4 and 5) got a kick out of sending the boats into the tornado of water and watching them whirl around at a dizzying speed. The train, a twin to the one at CMoR’s Short Pump location, was running just behind us, and although we didn’t go for a spin, it looked like fun, and kids were leaving the station with big smiles.
Our next stop was the giant sand box, filled with, yes, real sand, not that rubbery stuff. With plenty of sand toys around, the boys spent a lot of time in here, making me pies, and making new friends along the way. When they finished up at the beach, they snuck in a trip through the two-story climbing structure nearby, and after weighing a few fish, we headed off to Main Street to check out the various storefronts.
Our favorite stop there was the Silver Diner, a replica of one of our favorite family restaurants (how convenient!). The boys loved donning their uniforms, showing me to a booth, taking my order, and serving me a tray of delicious pizza and corn on the cob, with a squirt of ketchup. From there, we visited the bank and solved some math problems on the super-cool ATM, then dropped some mail into the mailbox before jumping into our Mercedes SUV for a pretend drive down to the theater. Dressed as a cowboy and a dragon, the boys took the stage for a performance worthy of a Tony award, before dashing off to check out the full-sized fire truck and GRTC bus at the front of the museum.
From there, we headed back to the vet, where we were astonished to find a litter of kittens…REAL KITTENS! My five year-old and I said at the same time, “Are those REAL?!” Yes, and they are all fixed and ready for adoption through the Richmond SPCA (and so darned cute, I can’t believe we didn’t take one home).
We finished off our day in the art studio, which is much smaller than the other two locations, but still plenty big and fully stocked with all of the necessary supplies for a masterpiece or two. Also near the studio is a toddler area, which looked awesome for the wee ones, and a snack area, with vending machines, a microwave, and tables and chairs.
The gift shop was a great way to end our visit, and we picked up several games that I hadn’t seen before, and at very reasonable prices. I even got a few Christmas gifts there!
The only downside to our visit was that we stayed so long, we closed the place down, which landed us on Hull Street smack in the middle of 5 o’clock traffic. But that just gave us more time to talk about all of the fun things we did on our adventure.
Visit www.c-mor.org for hours and prices.
Reviewed by RFM Founder and Publisher Margaret Thompson.