York River State Park: Nature Center
York River State Park Visitor Center/ Gift Shop, York River Park Road, Williamsburg, VA, USA
8AM - dusk
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Hands-on learning is offered at York River State Park's Visitor Center/Nature Center!
York River State Park is one to add to your family's bucket list! We absolutely love this state park. There are so many activities, and things to learn! While families are sure to enjoy the playgrounds, beach, and trails - the Visitor's Center is truly a hidden gem of the park! York River State Park has a $5 parking fee. If you arrive with a receipt from REI the fee will be waived. You can also purchase a Virginia State Parks Pass - this will save your family money over time if you visit the state parks multiple times in a calendar year.
The parking lot is nestled between the two playgrounds. The Visitor's Center has a gift shop, as well, so be sure to prep your children if you are not planning on purchasing any items to avoid any major disappointment or meltdowns. The park rangers inside the center are quite knowledgable. They will supply your crew with maps, answer any questions about the park and trails, and be able to answer questions about the animals in the Nature Center. You may also check out a Junior Ranger backpack while here. The backpack has nature related tools, as well as a BINGO board. If your children complete the board, they can earn a Junior Ranger Badge!
The Nature Center has several interactive exhibits. My 4 and 8 year old loved it - lots of buttons, lights, reading and learning! There is an exhibit about the Chesapeake Bay Estuary. I loved this, because you can teach your children about this local area! Children can also learn about which animals live in the shallow area of the Chesapeake versus which live in deep water. There are turtles, fish,, crabs, and lots of fossils, like the ones you may find if you visit Fossil Beach! My son loved seeing the shark teeth, too! Each exhibit is labeled. The tanks with animals state the animal's name as well as their habitat.
When you're all done visiting the animals, enjoy snacks or a picnic lunch at the tables under the covered pavilion. Alternatively, head over to the playgrounds, where there is a picnic table, also.