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Virginia Beach Activities

Millions visit our city each year, but fewer may realize this popular seaside resort also marks the place where the original English colonists first landed in 1607. In fact, a treasure trove of Virginia Beach museums, history and art lies beneath the surface—a different side of Neptune City that can nicely compliment some relaxation on the beach!

Battleship WisconsinWhile you're there, it's easy to start exploring at the Old Coast Guard Station near the ocean boardwalk and 24th Street Park. This historic building holds thousands of photographs and artifacts related to Virginia's maritime communities and Coast Guard. Documentary films and lectures on subjects like ice patrols after the Titanic are regularly presented along with their rotating exhibits—check the schedule to see what's happening during your trip.

More nautical history can be found in Norfolk, less than a half hour drive east. Here, you can take an in-depth tour of the Battleship Wisconsin, which saw action in both World War II and the Korean War. Massive as it is, the ship is just one part of Nauticus, an expansive museum that shows the workings of the global maritime trade and our country's navy from its location on the Norfolk harbor.

AquariumGo deeper into the sea at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, one of the most popular attractions in Virginia. Although it's much smaller in size, the Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum also pays tribute to Virginians' special love of sport for a different breed, wildfowl, through wooden carvings, artworks and other items.

Fans of these museums and animal life in general should definitely consider traveling to Newport News for the Virginia Living Museum. A zoo, aquarium and much more, the Living Museum hosts species ranging from coyotes to pelicans and tree frogs, plus a variety of native plants. A geology gallery and planetarium make the trip out of Virginia Beach definitely worthwhile. The journey also puts you within range of the Virginia Air & Space Center in Hampton, which also boasts a huge range of educational exhibits and attractions—including a 3D IMAX theater, spacecraft vehicles and a flight simulator ride.

Art by PicassoEven with this assortment to choose from, the list of museums in Virginia Beach isn't complete without mentioning the two major art institutions in our neighborhood. First is the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, a diverse collection of paintings, sculpture, video and other media by the significant artists of our time. An even broader selection can be seen free of charge at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk. Works by artists as diverse as Picasso, Pollock and Renoir are featured alongside relics of ancient Egypt, Africa and other civilizations

Finally, the number of military bases in our area have also made Virginia Beach an ideal location for the Military Aviation Museum, a mere half hour by car from the Sundial Inn. This set of World War I and II era aircraft, one of the world's largest private collections, can also be supplemented with a stop by Fort Monroe and the Castmate Museum in Hampton.

No matter where your tastes run to or who you're traveling with, Virginia Beach is sure to have a museum that can make for a stimulating or simply fun visit during your stay at the Sundial Inn!

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