Virginia Beach museums are plentiful and so diverse that all visitors will find at least a few that are fun and exciting to explore. Whether it’s the numerous art mediums at the Contemporary Art Center, marine history at the Tugboat Museum or Mariner’s Museum, or natural history at the Virginia Living Museum, there are many avenues available for exploring Virginia’s rich cultural history, nautical past, and natural endowments.
Even the smallest of children have a museum dedicated to kids, the Children’s Museum, where almost 100 exhibits offer a hands-on approach to learning about toy history, space, as well as daily activities that include phonics, crafts, and scavenger hunts.
Chrysler Museum of Art
The Chrysler Museum of Art in Virginia Beach offers free admission with the exception of some events. The art collection is one of the largest of all Virginia Beach museums and includes European sculptures and art, including some by Matisse. American pieces by famous artists are also on display. Two popular exhibits portray life during the Civil Rights Movement and the Civil War history. The Chrysler Museum of Art also incorporates two historic homes to exhibit art tours offered to visitors. The museum is open from 10:00 a.m. from Wednesday to Saturday and opens at 12:00 p.m. on Sunday. The Chrysler Museum of Art is located at 245 West Olney Road, Norfolk, a 25-minute drive from Virginia Beach. The route passes Mount Trashmore Park, which is well worth a look.
Association for Research and Enlightenment
The Association for Research and Enlightenment aims to continue the important work of Edgar Cayce, and researches and delves into topics such as ancient mysteries, holistic health, dreams, interpreting dreams, and personal spirituality. Founded in 1931 by Cayce, the association was developed to continue work on these topics. A.R.E has a mission of helping all people to better their lives through information from by an overview of conducted studies by Edgar Cayce. The international headquarters and visitor’s center is in Virginia Beach along with A.R.E. Meditation Garden, Stone Labyrinth, and The Historic Cayce Hospital. Tours are offered at the main visitor’s center located at 215 67th Street.
Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum
The Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum exhibits modern and antique wildfowl artwork, decoys, bird carvings, and numerous wildfowl artifacts, along with presentations and displays on the city’s history. The main museum is inside a quaint, 1895 cottage, called DeWitt Cottage, the oldest of all beach cottages in the Oceanfront area near the Virginia Beach Boardwalk, where a main attraction is the expansive oceanfront garden. Other buildings comprising the museum include the first local library and a boathouse-turned-museum. Included on the state’s Landmark Register, the Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum was constructed during the birth of Virginia Beach and is located at 1113 Atlantic Avenue at 12th Street. Hours are Tuesdays to Saturdays 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sundays 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Old Coast Guard Station
The Old Coast Guard Station preserves and celebrates the history of the state’s seafaring heritage and coastal settlements. The local community is just one of the focuses of the museum along with water and coastal history, Virginia’s seafront, and more. Inside, two main galleries display the history of shipwrecks and the U.S. Coast Guard and Life Saving Services. The museum is located in the old Life-Saving Station, built in 1903, and presents an incredible look at more than 1,000 photographs and 1,800 artifacts pertaining to the coastal community and dual nautical services. On the National Register of Historic Places and flagged as a Virginia Historic Landmark, the site of the station, at 24th Street & Atlantic Avenue (only four minutes east from the Virginia Beach Convention Center), is as impressive as its oceanfront surroundings. It is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Image: Virginia Beach CVB