After a nice long winter and spring, it’s fair to say that summer couldn’t get here quickly enough. Now summer is in full swing, and with kids out of school and family vacations underway, you might find yourself wondering how to fill the long summer days. Fortunately, Richmond offers more than enough to keep your family busy all summer long. To help you get your Summer Bucket List started, I’ve come up with 13 awesome activities and events in and around the Richmond area.
From special events, festivals, and concert series, to local history, to water fun for the whole family, you’ll have no trouble finding ways to beat the heat and spend time together as a family this summer. Get your bucket list started today! Specific Summer Activities in Richmond With so many parks, museums, family-friendly locations around the Greater Richmond area, there’s always something to do. That’s the beauty of living in such a vibrant city. But if you want to narrow the list down just a bit, we’ve got some great ideas for activities that are unique to summer in Richmond.
1. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden - Discover butterflies, larger-than-life origami, water play, and live music at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is worth a visit any time of the year. But there’s no time like summer to catch some of their most popular events – all of which are included in general admission.
Special Summer Events: THEMED WALK - A GARDEN FOR THE BIRDS
Thursday, June 6, 2019 @ 9:00 am - 10:00 am
FLOWERS AFTER 5
Thursday, June 6, 2019 @ 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
ROSES & ROSÉ PRESENTED
Thursday, June 6, 2019 @ 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
WALK AND TALK - MONARCHS AND POLLINATORS Tuesday, June 18, 2019 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
CULINARY EVENINGBITES AROUND THE WORLD: GREECE
Tuesday, June 25, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
2. Make the most of Maymont
Undoubtedly one of Richmond’s greatest treasures, Maymont park offers something for everyone. Whether you want to stroll the grounds and gardens, visit the animals in the Wildlife Exhibits, explore the Children’s Farm, tour the Dooley Mansion, or learn about the local habitat at the Nature Center, Maymont has something for everyone. Be sure to visit their events calendar for special summer events and summer camps, as well
Location: 1700 Hampton St, Richmond, VA 23220
Typical Summer Events: Summer Discover Camps - Maymont offers a wide variety of summer camps for kids of all ages. From nature discovery to educational programs, your kids will love the adventures available at Maymont.
3. Chill out at the Children’s Museum of Richmond
As a longtime favorite of Richmond parents and kids, the Children’s Museum of Richmond is the perfect place to beat the heat while letting your kids’ imagination run free. The CMOR offers interactive, hands-on displays for everyone from big kids to toddlers.
Location(s): Richmond (Central): 2626 W Broad St, Richmond, VA 23220 Chesterfield: 6629 Lake Harbour Dr, Midlothian, VA 23112 Short Pump: 11800 W Broad St, Richmond, VA 23233 Fredericksburg:1275 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Fredericksburg, VA 2240
4. Immerse yourself in Richmond’s living history
One of the best things about living in Richmond is its rich history. From the very beginning, Richmond has played a large part in the founding of our nation. Today, there are many locations throughout the city and surrounding counties that offer living history exhibits and demonstrations, allowing you to not only see, but experience firsthand what life was like for Richmond natives throughout history. Here are some of our favorite living history museums and events:
Henricus Historical Park Travel more than 400 years back in time to the Citie of Henricus, the second successful English settlement in the New World. See how both the English settlers and Native American lived with living history exhibits, displays, demonstrations, and special events. Camps and special theme days are available all summer long. Location: 251 Henricus Park Rd, Chester, VA 23836
Meadow Farm Museum at Crump Park Go back to the year 1860 to see how a real-life farming family in Henrico County lived. This living history farm and museum offers programs and exhibits showing the life of Dr. John Mosby Sheppard and his family. Throughout the summer, you’ll find special events and demonstrations showing seasonal activities in the farmhouse, barn, doctor’s office, blacksmith forge, kitchen, fields, and pastures. Admission is free.
Location: 3400 Mountain Road | Glen Allen, VA 23060
“Give Me Liberty, or Give Me Death” Re-enactments at Historic St. John’s Church Witness the famous speech given by Richmond’s own Patrick Henry at the site where it first happened. It was here, during the Second Virginia Convention, that Henry gave his impassioned plea alongside the likes of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. Today, you can see how his famous words still ring true. Location: 2401 E Broad St, Richmond, VA 23223
5. See movie classics under the stars with FREE Movies in the Park
Grab your chairs and blankets, then settle in for big screen movie classics under the stars all summer long. Offered by Richmond City Park and Rec, Movies in the Park are shown every Friday night at various Richmond park locations. Check the Park and Rec page for a complete line-up of movies and locations.
6. Take your family out to a ball game with Richmond’s very own Flying Squirrels
Nothing says summer quite like a ball game. This summer, be sure to catch The Flying Squirrels at their home stadium, The Diamond, in Richmond’s historic Fan district. Featuring special events, theme nights, a free kids club, and fun for the whole family all summer long, this is one summer tradition your family is sure to love. See the full schedule of games and special events.
Location: 3001 N. Boulevard, Richmond, VA 23230
7. Enjoy lazy summer nights with free Music Series throughout Greater Richmond
Make the most of your summer nights with family-friendly music series this summer. With a wide range of musical genres, activities, and special events for the whole family, Richmond’s Summer Music Series are the perfect way to spend a summer evening.
General Summer Activities in Richmond
The best thing about Richmond is that there is never a shortage of things to do, no matter what the season. But, with so much natural beauty and historic richness, summer is one of the best seasons to get outside and explore the city’s sights, sounds, and fun-filled attractions. Here are a few of our favorite must-do Richmond summer activities:
8. Volunteer in your community
If you’re looking for ways to keep your kids engaged this summer, then let them volunteer. While it can be tricky finding volunteer opportunities for every age group, we’ve picked our five favorite area organizations that offer volunteer opportunities for kids of all ages. Visit our Best Volunteer Opportunities for Kids in Richmond This Summer or see a complete list of options with Richmond Mom’s Guide to Volunteer Opportunities for Kids in Richmond.
9. Get into the summer groove at a Richmond Festival
Richmond offers many things, but few that we love as much as their vibrant festival scene. With festivals of all kinds, from music to food to culture, there’s truly something for everyone. Be sure to visit our Guide to Summer Festivals in Richmond to see what’s coming up next!
10. Beat the heat at a water park, pool, or splash pad
Summers can get hot here in Richmond. So what’s the best way to beat the heat? Water fun, of course! Take advantage of Richmond’s water parks and free splash pads this summer for an easy way to keep your whole family cool and happy. Here are some local water parks and splash pads to start you off:
Cobblestone Park Cobblestone Park features “Splash Zone” with giant waterslides, waterfalls and one of the largest swimming pools on the east coast. Open from Memorial Day until Labor Day, the park includes a beach area, party spaces and picnic pavilions, as well as basketball, volleyball and a one-acre fishing lake.
Location: 13131 Overhill Lake Lane, Glen Allen, VA 23059 Hours: 10am – 5:30pm
Pocahontas State Park Pocahontas State Park’s Aquatic Center features a toddler pool, fountain wet deck, three-foot and five-foot-deep leisure pools, an activity pool, and two tubular water slides. Once you’re done swimming, be sure to enjoy the park’s many other offerings, including boating, fishing, picnicking, hiking, and nature and history programs.
Location: 10301 State Park Road, Chesterfield, VA 23838
11. Make the most of the James River
We are fortunate here in the Richmond area to have one of the most beautiful rivers in the state right in our own backyard. The James River features America’s only Class IV/V rapids in an urban setting and offers water sports opportunities for the whole family. Try rafting, kayaking or tubing down the James, and make this summer one to remember. Here are a few places to get you started:
Riverside Outfitters 6836 Old Westham Rd. Richmond, VA 23225 (804) 560-0068
River City Adventures, LLC 100 Stockton St. Richmond, VA 23224 (804) 233-4000
RVA Paddlesports 1320 School St. Richmond, VA 23220 (804) 898-0697
12. Richmond’s Farmers Markets
Enjoy fresh fruits, veggies, and locally sourced foods from Richmond’s Farmers Markets. Surrounded by rich farmland, Richmond is a haven for fresh produce. From Hanover tomatoes to juicy strawberries, Richmond’s farmers markets are filled with the best our area has to offer all summer long.
13. Soak in the sun at a James River Park
While the James River Park System offers more than 550 acres of shoreline and islands throughout Richmond, Belle Isle and Pony Pasture with their large rocks and cool water hit the top of our favorites list. These iconic Richmond locations are perfect for a day of wading, sunning, and having fun as a family. See a complete list of all of the James River Park locations here.
Other Summer Activities for the Whole Family…
Richmond is packed with summer activities, but there are plenty of ways to have fun as a family this summer without even leaving the house. Here are a few family activities that we think should make everyone’s Summer Bucket List:
Play in the sprinklers or water hose.
Make homemade ice cream.
Camp out in the backyard.
Build a fort or treehouse.
Take family nature walks