Apple picking at Carter's Mountain
Charlottesville Home
Family Time


Children's Activities: Arts & Sciences

Community Children's Theater
www.cvillecct.org
info@CvilleCCT.org
961-7862

This local volunteer organization arranges for performances by professional touring companies and one local production each season. Performances are on Sundays at the Charlottesville Performing Arts Center on Grove Road next to Charlottesville High School. Season tickets (four shows) are available for $30 (plus $1 for shipping and handling) or $10-$12 for individual performances (depending on show) by writing or calling the Charlottesville Community Children's Theater. Email info@CvilleCCT.org for more information.

Curry (UVA Education School) Summer Enrichment Program and Saturday Enrichment Program

Programs are offered in Charlottesville, Orange County, and Fauquier County. Dates and time vary. Check website or call for more information.
website
405 Emmet St. So.
(434) 924-3182
curry-sep@virginia.edu


The Summer Enrichment Program is designed for gifted and talented students. Students who are currently enrolled in grades 4-10 may apply to attend a two-week session, where the curriculum emphasizes extending a student's capabilities in problem-solving, creativity, and critical examination and evaluation of content rich fields of study. Areas that are new or of special interest to students are investigated through hands-on simulations, demonstrations, lectures, discussion and/or individual or small-group investigations. The 9th-11th grade program also emphasizes the acquisition and practice of research skills within advanced topic areas.

The Saturday Enrichment Program is a program for gifted and/or high-ability students in kindergarten through grade 5. Activities in the program are designed to expose students to new interest areas, provide interaction with students with similar interests and abilities, enhance interest in learning by providing stimulating and challenging activities, encourage creative/productive thinking and expression, and foster skills for independent learning.

Child Development Laboratories at the University of Virginia
www.virginia.edu/psychology/childdevelopmentlabs
234-5234

Research at the Child Development Labs at the University of Virginia helps create better learning environments for children. They are looking for children from birth to 7 years of age to participate in fun, quick studies. Your child might read a story or play a game, and you can be with your child at all times. Call or visit the website for more information.  

McGuffey Arts Center

www.mcguffeyartcenter.com
295-7973
201 2nd Street, NW
mcguffey@mcguffeyartcenter.com

Classes for children vary each season, depending on which resident artists are teaching, but may include painting, calligraphy, bookmaking, Chinese art, stained-glass mosaics, modern dance and African dance. Call or look online for the seasonal schedule. For more information you can also email them at mcguffey@mcguffeyartcenter.com.

Virginia Discovery Museum
www.vadm.org
977-1025
Downtown Mall, east end, 524 E. Main St.
Tue-Sat 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun 1 p.m.-5 p.m.

This museum specializes in hands-on activities and exhibits related to history, culture, nature and science. It's great for rainy afternoons, especially for kids up to age 10. Toddler Time offers directed activities for toddlers on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Annual family membership is $60, or $40 per person. Admission is $4 (free for children under 1). Two hours free parking is available in many downtown garages with museum validation.

Michaels
website
971-1072
1035 Emmet Street North, Barracks Rd. Shopping Center
Mon-Sat 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

Michaels offers many craft classes that both kids and their parents would enjoy, ranging from beading to card making. Call for details or check out their class and events website.

return to top


Children's Activities: Story Time

Jefferson-Madison Regional Library
website
979-7151
201 East Market St. (Central Library)
Children's Programs

The library offers a wide variety of family programs including Toddler Time, Preschool Power, Mother Goose Time and Storytime Stew. See website for more details.

Gordon Avenue Library
website
296-5544
1500 Gordon Ave., off Rugby Rd.
Children's Programs

This branch of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library offers drop-in story time on Saturdays at 11 a.m. There are also other children's programs. Call for details.

Northside Library
website
973-7893
Albemarle Square Shopping Center
Children's Programs

This branch offers a variety of children's programming including Preschool Storytime, Two's and Three's Together, Mother Goose and a variety of other programs. Registration may be required for activities. Call or check the website for more information.

Barnes & Noble Bookstore
www.barnesandnoble.com
984-0461
Barracks Road Shopping Center

Sun 9 a.m.-9 p.m. | Mon-Thu 9 a.m.-10 p.m | Fri-Sat 9 a.m.-11 p.m

Barnes & Noble Bookstore has a children's story hour on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. for preschoolers. Elementary-age children may participate in a Young Readers Book Club. The bookstore also offers special children's events on some Saturdays.

return to top


Children's Activities: Sports & Recreation

Albemarle County Parks and Recreation
www.albemarle.org
296-5844
County Office Building, Room 323, 401 McIntire Rd.

Parks and Recreation offers classes in ice skating, roller skating and karate for children as well as summer swim and playground programs. Call for a schedule, watch for information in the Daily Progress, or see the website.

Charlottesville Swimming Pools
Charlottesville Aquatics Program has indoor pools, outdoor pools and "spray grounds." Hours vary by season. Call for specific recreational times or check the website(s) below. The aquatics office is located at Smith Aquatic and Fitness Center, 1000-A Cherry Avenue.
Charlottesville Aquatics website

McIntire Wading Pool
295-9072
Rugby Road

Onesty Family Aquatic Center
website
295-7532
located at the corner of Meade Avenue and Chesapeake Street

Open August 25 - September 7 (2010)

The center is complete with diving board, lap pool, water slide, lazy river, in-water play structures, coolbrellas and a zero-depth entry beach. Call ahead.

Smith Aquatic and Fitness Center (indoor)
977-1960
1000 Cherry Ave

The new Smith center held its grand opening in October 2010. The center is complete with diving board, lap pool, water slide and lazy river.

Washington Park Pool (outdoor)
970-3589
1001 Preston Ave

UVA Aquatic and Fitness Center (indoor)
website
450 Whitehead Rd.
924-3791

University of Virginia students can enjoy the Aquatic and Fitness Center, which features an Olympic-sized pool and children’s pool, for free. Membership is only $85 per month for the spouse of a student, $40 per year for the first child of a student, and $20 for each additional child, per year.

Carter's Mountain Apple Orchard Student Favorite
www.cartermountainorchard.com
977-1833
Rt. 20 South to Rt. 53 East and follow signs (15-minute drive)

1435 Carters Mountain Trail

Carter's Mountain Orchard.
Carter's Mountain Orchard.

Enjoy beautiful views while you pick your own fruit. Fruit picking is July through October, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. in November. It is also open through mid-December (weather permitting) on the weekends from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The Apple Harvest Festival is the first two weekends of October. Pre-picked fruit, pumpkins, cider and apple fritters are for sale. Hay rides are free.

City of Charlottesville
Department of Recreation & Leisure Services & Parks and Grounds Division

Parks & Grounds Division
970-3589
P.O. Box 911
Charlottesville, VA 22902
office: 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

A broad range of classes and competitive sports are available for children ages 6 months and up on a seasonal basis. Activities vary by age and include art, dance, music, basketball, tennis, swimming, gymnastics, and much more. Call for a brochure or watch the Daily Progress for information.

The Little Gym
www.thelittlegym.com
975-KIDS
907 Gardens Blvd. (Garden Shopping Center)

The Little Gym is an exercise and development center for children ages 4 months to 12 years, offering instruction in gymnastics, karate, and sports skills. It has a mobile after-school program at various public schools, private schools and the YMCA. Parent Survival Nights—drop your kids off for a night off—occur on select Friday and/or Saturday evenings.

YMCA
www.piedmontymca.org
974-9622
442 Westfield Road

YMCA members, nonmembers, and their children have access to a variety of educational classes, little league sports teams, and other leisure activities. The "Y" runs a summer day camp for children ages 5-14, as well as several sports camps.

return to top

Tip

For more activities, check out the Things to Do section, or the Clubs and Organizations by Sport page, which offers valuable information on swimming pool locations, skiing, snow tubing, canoeing, and more.

Tip

The Call of the Wild

For kids who enjoy the great outdoors (and what kid doesn't?), see the Parks and Lakes page for ideas on day hikes and cool places to see wildlife. If your children are elementary-school age or older and good walkers, you might want to check out the Hiking page for longer treks. For detailed information on local playgrounds, see one of the websites listed in Resources.

Tip

Dogwood Parade

Dogwood Festival and Parade

The Annual Dogwood Festival is held every April during the peak of the Dogwood blossoms and features a carnival and fireworks show at McIntire Park and concludes with the Grand Feature Parade in Downtown Charlottesville. Participants include veterans, schools, organizations, local businesses and politicians from the city and surrounding counties.

Tip

Virginia Law Families Tips:

The Jefferson-Madison Regional Library is the local library system. Its libraries are great places to entertain kids at no cost, featuring kid-friendly areas and very helpful staff.

The Central Library has an excellent collection of children's books in a large kids' room just to the left of the main entrance. Board books for very young children are in baskets at the extreme front left corner of the building, in a carpeted area where kids can freely crawl or climb around on two large tiers. The children's room has several computers with child-friendly software that can also access the Internet (filter programs are installed). The Central Library also has a good selection of children's videos available for free loan, but these are not obvious—go straight in from the main entrance passing the circulation desk on your left. The kids' videos are in an alcove near the restrooms. (Video loans are for a shorter period than books and fines are considerably higher— return them on time!) The only issue with the Central Library is the lack of a parking lot (have to hunt for limited on-street parking in the vicinity).

The Northside Library has lots of free parking, and a large kids' area in the rear right corner of the library with almost as many books as Central. It does lack the sizable video collection, however.

Books and videos can conveniently be returned to ANY branch. A hold can be placed on a book from any branch in the computer card catalog; it will automatically be delivered to the branch that issued your library card and you'll get a mailed notice when it arrives.

The Downtown Mall

The Downtown Mall is a great way to spend time with your kids. There are shops, great places to eat for lunch and dinner, ice cream, movie theaters, concerts, and much more. More


Charlottesville Pavilion

A great place to view live musical acts on the Downtown Mall area. Not only does it host concerts, it also hosts food festivals, movie screenings, craft fairs and a number of city events. There are concerts every Friday after five during the summer months. Local bands play music ranging from rock and blues to salsa and reggae. It is also FREE!


John Paul Jones Arena

UVA’s new basketball arena features many kid-friendly events such as circuses,concerts and plays. For upcoming events, see their website.


Albemarle County Fair

Located in North Gardens (look for signs for the fair on Rt. 29 South) just about 10 miles (and 10 minutes) south of the city. Iit's very kid friendly with animal exhibits and shows, local music, displays of things that interest kids and some rides. More info is available at www.albemarlecountyfair.com.


Other Fairs and Festivals

Check out Albemarle Family for listings of fairs in surrounding counties, fall apple festivals, etc. Kids will think them worthwhile, and many of these fairs are free. (Remember to buy only pasteurized cider for small children!)


Martha Jefferson Special Events

Martha Jefferson Hospital sponsors community events. Visit their website for more information.

What's your opinion? Add to the C'ville guide, report new information and let us know what you think. We reserve the right to edit or reject submissions.