Activities for Kids

Charlottesville Is Kid-Friendly

Charlottesville is full of entertainment offerings, and most of them take into consideration families with both younger and older children. The following resources should serve as a helpful start when looking for things to do:

In addition, check out the Things to Do on a Free Day or Evening page. It includes links to things the whole family can enjoy such as movies, bowling, and offerings in the downtown area such as the City Market and ice skating. Charlottesville also hosts annual events that include children's programming such as the Virginia Film Festival and the Virginia Festival of the Book.

Children's Activities: Arts & Sciences

Child Development Laboratories at the University of Virginia

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
201 2nd Street, NW

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 @email.

Virginia Discovery Museum
Downtown Mall, east end, 524 E. Main Street

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.

1035 Emmet Street North, Barracks Road Shopping Center 

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. 

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Children's Activities: Story Time

Jefferson-Madison Regional Library
201 East Market Street (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
1500 Gordon Avenue, off Rugby Road
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
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.

Children's Activities: Sports & Recreation

Albemarle County Parks and Recreation
County Office Building, Room 323, 401 McIntire Road

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.

Carter Mountain Apple Orchard
Rt. 20 South to Rt. 53 East and follow signs (15-minute drive)
1435 Carters Mountain Trail

Enjoy beautiful views while you pick your own fruit. Fruit picking is July through November. It is also open through mid-December (weather permitting) on the weekends. 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
P.O. Box 911 
Charlottesville, VA 22902

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.

233 4th Street NW Suite Y

The Brooks Family YMCA will open at the new McIntire Park location in summer of 2017. 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.

Charlottesville Sw​imming 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.

McIntire Wading Pool
Rugby Road

Onesty Family Aquatic Center
Located at the corner of Meade Avenue and Chesapeake Street 

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)
1000 Cherry Avenue

The center includes diving board, lap pool, water slide and lazy river.

Washington Park Pool (outdoor)
1001 Preston Avenue

UVA Aquatic and Fitness Center (indoor)
450 Whitehead Road

University of Virginia students can enjoy the Aquatic and Fitness Center, which features an Olympic-sized pool and children’s pool, for free.

Regional Entertainment

Other offerings in Virginia that are a relatively short drive from Charlottesville include the Children's Museum of Richmond, the Science of Museum of Virginia (also in Richmond) and Amazement Square in Lynchburg.

Find More Fun Things to Do

Charlottesville Family

Local publication Charlottesville Family has a number of great suggestions under its "Find Fun Things to Do" website tab. Here are some links from their website to get you started:

Events Directory
Family Fun
Go-to Guide for Family Fun
Food and Home
Online Summer Camps Fair

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