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Norfolk, Virginia, for Art-Loving Families

by Teresa Bitler

Jul 30, 2019

Teresa Bitler

Destinations / North America

Norfolk, Virginia, has plenty of family-friendly attractions, including its science center, Nauticus and Battleship, Wisconsin. But, the city also has an artsy side family members of all ages will enjoy. Check out these three family-friendly attractions for art lovers.

 

Chrysler Museum of Art

This free art museum houses one of the largest glass galleries in the United States and boasts works by Pablo Picasso, Frank Lloyd Wright and other greats. It’s also designed with families in mind. Check out The Wonder Studio, an interactive gallery dedicated to kids. Then, encourage your budding Rembrandt to create his own masterpiece on a digital easel. Gallery activities are available at the Welcome Desk as well for families to enjoy throughout the entire museum.

 

Norfolk Chrysler Art Museum.

Norfolk Chrysler Art Museum. Photo: Teresa Bitler

 

At noon, head across the street to the museum’s Glass Studio for a free glassmaking demonstration. Glassblowers will show how they heat and mold glass as well as answer questions. If you want to make sure you get a good seat, plan to arrive early.

 

Neon Arts District

The Neon Arts District takes its name from an acronym, New Energy of Norfolk, and includes the Chrysler Museum of Art, its glassblowing studio and the Harrison Opera House. But, you’ll also find galleries and studios, like d’Art Center and the Rutter Family Art Foundation, as well as several restaurants, home goods stores and boutiques here.

 

After visiting the Chrysler Museum of Art, families can walk through the district admiring public artwork such as the Cementiscope, a kaleidoscope inside the repurposed drum of a cement mixer. You’ll also see the colorful murals on many of the district’s buildings. To be sure you don’t miss the most important murals or artwork, book a guided tour with a company like Norfolk Tour Company.

 

In the evenings, return to the district to catch a family-friendly play at the Hugh R. Copeland Center. Upcoming shows include Dames at Sea and Madagascar.

 

Mermaids

Norfolk is obsessed with mermaids, something that becomes evident after only a few hours in the city. In front of almost every major attraction, as well on office buildings and in front of private homes, you’ll spy brightly painted mermaid sculptures, part of a public art display nearly 20 years old.

 

Norfolk Mermaid in front of Nauticus

Norfolk Mermaid in front of Nauticus. Photo: Teresa Bitler

 

Although there’s no official map showing where to find all the mermaids, you can see them at the Chrysler Museum of Art, Nauticus, Virginia Zoo, Norfolk Botanical Garden, MacArthur Mall (next to the MacArthur Memorial) and Norfolk Visitor Center. The Norfolk Mermaid Quest blog can help you locate some of the lesser-known and harder-to-find mermaids.

 

Inspired to create your own? You can decorate a plaster mermaid (or dolphin) with acrylic paints, glitter, fabric, shells, charms and other embellishments at the Mermaid Factory.

#WhereverFamily

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