For every parent who has ever faced the Battle of Boredom, we’re here to help. Downtown Lynchburg offers more to explore than ever before for all kids from the active to the artistic and everyone in between. Check out our list of 12 family activities that promise to break your routine and involve the whole family in memorable and exciting adventures. Share your discoveries by tagging #DowntownLynchburg.
1) Learn Something New at Amazement Square
If there’s one thing you do on a visit to Downtown Lynchburg, it should be the nationally recognized Amazement Square. Kids of all ages will find something to engage their curiosity on four floors of interactive, colorful exhibits that combine movement and play with history, science, music, and more. Pretend to be an architect and draft a building in the “office” or explore the James River with a running replica complete with working dams and canoes.
Located at 27 Ninth Street and on the web at www.amazementsquare.org.
2) Get Up Close and Personal with Nature on Percival’s Island.
If bugs, fish, and other wildlife fascinate your kids, take them for an adventure on Percival’s Island, which can be accessed from the corner of Washington Street and Concord Turnpike. Practice reading maps at the trail information display, take some family photos at the LOVE sign, and get ready to explore. Take the RiverWalk Trail which is paved and spans the whole island, or go off the grid and explore the many hidden foot trails. With two large walking bridges spanning the river at different points, you’ll have great views of both the city and the wooded areas. Everyone will enjoy the quiet sanctuary of the woods whether walking or biking.
Parking available at Washington Street and Concord Turnpike and more information on the web at www.lynchburgparksandrec.com.
3) Go Back in Time at the Lynchburg Museum
Perched at the top of Monument Terrace, the Lynchburg Museum is a great activity for middle-aged and older children who are learning an appreciation and sense of place. Downtown Lynchburg boasts centuries of history and much of it is carefully housed in our old courthouse where curated exhibits reveal what life was like for those who built Lynchburg. Discovery is the name of the game, so after your visit, spark conversation by asking what each child found interesting and memorable. You may be surprised at what stood out to them!
Located at 901 Court Street and on the web at www.lynchburgmuseum.org.
4) Get Culinary with the Lynchburg Community Market
There’s nothing quite as satisfying as creating a meal from start to finish. Get the whole family involved by deciding what you want to prepare (the market blog has some great suggestions) and then divvy out assignments. After making grocery lists, visit the Lynchburg Community Market where kids can select all of their ingredients—fresh and local and on the spot; they can even practice paying with cash if you want to up the ante. Grab a quick snack or dessert for later from one of the many food vendors and enjoy the fresh air.
Located at 1219 Main Street and on the web at www.lynchburgcommunitymarket.com.
5) Appreciate Downtown Lynchburg’s Culture with First Fridays
No longer is cost an excuse because First Fridays means you and your family can enjoy the Downtown Lynchburg scene without admissions costs plus the free trolley rides make it especially easy to pop in places like Riverviews Artspace and the Renaissance Theatre. Starting at 5 p.m. on the first Friday of every month, this uniquely downtown event invites you to explore 10+ stops, each filled with fresh exhibits, a variety of art, history, music, and more.
Find the map for the free trolley and more details on the web at www.firstfridayslynchburg.com.
6) Get Crafty at the Academy Center of the Arts
Interested in an artistic option? The Academy Center of the Arts is offering several family friendly workshops and activities such as three Family Saturday Workshops focused on making your own fall-themed clay pumpkins, leaves, or ornaments. At only $10, it’s a great activity for parents and kids to be creative together and take home a meaningful keepsake. New Kindermusik classes offer an interactive musical learning experience for younger kids and are a perfect “Mommy and Me” option. If you’re interested in some entertainment as well, consider the kid-friendly shows put on this fall by the Virginia Repertory Theatre—“Pocahontas” and “The Night Before Christmas.”
Located at 600 Main Street and on the web at www.academycenter.org.
7) Explore new heights at Rise Up Climbing
Keep everyone active even on a rainy day with a visit to Rise Up Climbing. A quick 30-minute Basic Skills Intro class will get your whole family up to speed on the ins-and-outs of rock wall climbing. Available for afternoon and evening sessions, indoor climbing is an excellent way to find both a mental and physical challenge. It also shows your kids that it’s never too late to try something new.
Located at 1225 Church Street and on the web at www.riseupclimbing.com.
8) Test Your Endurance by Biking the Trails
Downtown Lynchburg is the intersection of several biking trails, allowing you several choices on starting points, trail rides, interesting stopovers, and more. Venture off to the RiverWalk Trail on Percival’s Island or jump on to the Blackwater Creek Trail for miles and miles of exploration. If you’re new to biking and need rental options or are looking for a tune-up, check out Bikes Unlimited at 1312 Jefferson Street, which is right on the Riverfront trail. Or start more centrally on Main Street at scene3 where you’ll also enjoy seeing their creative goods made from recycled materials.
Find more information on the web at www.lynchburgparksandrec.com/trails.
9) Make a Splash on the James River
Canoeing? Check. Fishing? Check. Views of the James River are great but nothing beats the experience of cruising along the water in a canoe, catching some fish, and experiencing the river hands-on. Help your kids learn the basics of water safety and the skills to capture a fish and watch their confidence soar. To access the river from the Lynchburg side, check out the canoe ramp at 7th Street .
More information on the web at www.lynchburgparksandrec.com.
10) Enjoy High Tea at Ploughcroft Tea Room
Foreign travel is a bucket list item for every family but the high costs can make it hard to do; in the meantime, you can enjoy a taste of England in Downtown Lynchburg at the Ploughcroft Tea Room where fine teas are steeped and served in beautiful and unique teapots. The elegance, culture, and tasty bites are sure to leave a lasting impression and perhaps will even spark an interest in the history of America’s relationship with the United Kingdom. Kids may also enjoy tasting some British savories such as Cottage Pie or sweets such as Sticky Toffee Pudding.
Located at 1215 Commerce Street and on the web at www.ploughcrofttearoom.com.
11) Break a Sweat in Downtown Lynchburg
Whether you’re having a family competition via Fitbit or capturing some wild Pokémon, Downtown Lynchburg has plenty to get your blood pumping. See who can summit all 139 steps of Monument Terrace first or who can discover more Pokémon along the recently completed Bluffwalk. Since PokéStops tend to be linked with public art and history installations, you can truly kill two birds with one stone—technology doesn’t need to be the enemy; just use it to get your family out and about in the city.
Find maps and more on the web at www.DowntownLynchburg.com.
12) Retrace History on a Civil War tour
Bust out your walking shoes and join the Lynchburg Visitor Center’s resident Civil War historian, Judy Harvey, for a walking tour of Downtown Lynchburg. She’ll point out areas still present—from buildings to viewpoints—that connect us to the memorable events of our past. Virginia’s known for its wealth of history, and Lynchburg is no exception. Tours this fall will be held on September 3 and October 1 at 2 p.m.; they start at the Lynchburg Visitor’s Center, on the corner of 12th and Church streets, and last for approximately 90 minutes.
Confirm at (434) 485-7290 or visit on the web at www.lynchburgvirginia.org.