Situated along the James River, Richmond, VA provides its nearly 5 million annual visitors with easy access to the ocean, mountains, and Washington D.C. The city the state’s Capitol and is flush with history, architecture and a wealth of cultural opportunities from theater to museums, many of which are free to the public. Take advantage of the following free attractions, all of which are appropriate for children ages 5 and older.
1. First Freedom Center Experience “Faces of Religious Freedom,” an exhibit which weaves the stories and photographs of those who have
made sacrifices for the right to religious freedom throughout the United States. Tours by appointment.
2. Hollywood Cemetery The final resting place of U.S. Presidents James Monroe and John Tyler, this cemetery was established in 1847. Also buried here are numerous Virginia notables and thousands of Confederate soldiers. Open 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily.
3. Library of Virginia Collections include ledgers of plantation owners and petitions of slaves and free blacks, as well as Indian treaties and Virginia’s original copy of the United States Bill of Rights. Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
4. Maggie L. Walker National Historical Site This National Park Service site commemorates the life of a progressive African-American woman who grew up in post-Civil War Richmond and was the first female founder/president of a chartered bank in the United States. Open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
5. Maymont Explore the Maymont House Museum, Italian and Japanese gardens, a carriage collection, 700 animals in wildlife exhibits, the Children’s Farm, and the Nature Center. Grounds open daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. November through March, and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. April through October. Exhibits open noon - 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
6. Monument Avenue. Beginning at Harrison Street in the Fan District, this historic landmark showcases monuments to several Confederate generals, Robert E. Lee among them, and tennis champion and philanthropist Arthur Ashe, Jr. It extends west to Horsepen Road and is accessible year round.
7. Old Dominion Railway Museum Housed in a restored Railway Express Agency car, the museum features historical photos and artifacts. Open 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.
8. Richmond National Battlefield Park Civil War Visitor Center at Historic Tredegar Meet a National Park Service Ranger and see three floors of exhibits, plus maps and audiovisual programs that introduce the story of Richmond during the Civil War and highlight the battlefields that surround the city. Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily.
9. Rockwood Nature Center Located at the intersection of Courthouse and Hull Street, the Children’s Corner features activities related to the park’s animals and plants. Open Noon – 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
10 St. John’s Church The site of Patrick Henry’s impassioned oratory “give me liberty or give me death,” this is the oldest wooden church in Virginia and remains an active congregation. Summer Sundays at 2 p.m. provide a free re-enactment of the 1775 debate among 10 of our nation’s founding fathers. Guided church tours - 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.
11. Three Lakes Nature Center Focusing on reptiles, amphibians and fish of the region, the center contains a 50,000-gallon freshwater aquarium. The park is open sunrise to sunset daily. The Nature Center hours are n88oon – 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday from September through November and March through May. From December through February, the center is open from noon – 4:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. From June through August, the hours are 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and noon – 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
12. Virginia Historical Society - hear the story of Virginia from prehistory to the present. The 13 exhibition galleries feature the largest display of Virginia artifacts on permanent view. Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 1–5 p.m. on Sunday. Free every day during the summer.
13. Virginia Holocaust Museum Learn about the lives of Holocaust survivors through their stories of the Kovno Ghetto and Dachau concentration camp. Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
14. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts - features include the Mellon collections of French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art and British sporting art; the Pratt collection of Peter Carl Fabergé, European and American paintings, and an extensive collection of English silver. Open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
15. Virginia Capitol and Executive Mansion Designed by Thomas Jefferson, the Capitol houses America’s oldest legislative assembly. Daily one-hour guided tours showcase historical statuary and paintings, rare exhibit objects, and nnewly restored legislative chambers. Self-guided tours are also available. Enter at 10th and Bank streets. Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 1 - 4 p.m. on Sunday.