Free and low-cost activities for kids
Reprinted with permission. Compiled by Martinsville-Henry County Tourism / VisitMartinsville.com.
1. Visit the Smithsonian-Affiliated Virginia Museum of Natural History. Children will enjoy the interactive exhibits and playing in the Discovery Reef. Parents can relax with a cup of coffee from the Paleo Café & enjoy free WiFi while watching them play. Located at 21 Starling Ave., Martinsville. 276.634.4141.
2. The Discovery Room at Piedmont Arts is a place for children to use their creativity. From paint and crayons to musical instruments and puppet shows, every child can find something that sparks their imagination. Located at 215 Starling Ave., Martinsville. 276.632.3221.
3. Blue Ridge Regional Library offers much more than books! Did you know that you can borrow a fishing pole and gear for FREE at the libraries? The Martinsville Branch is also home to the Family Fun Zone with toys, games and activity stations. Located at 310 E. Church St., Martinsville. 276.403.5430.
4. The Spencer Penn Centre is great for families. Tour the historic facility, visit the children’s library, enjoy camps & classes or rent a space for birthday parties. See the Stanley Bowles 1927 classroom and school memorabilia on display throughout the building. 475 Spencer Penn Rd., Spencer. 276.957.5757.
5. Treat your little ones to lunch at Simply Suzanne’s at the Blue Ridge Airport and they may be lucky enough to see a plane or helicopter land on the runway. With a great selection of family friendly sandwiches, salads and entrees, it’s dinner and a show! 525 Airport Rd., Martinsville. 276.957.1142.
6. Not just for sporting events, the Smith River Sports Complex boasts an EVOS playground, walking trails, a River Access Point and the Paw Path dog trail. Enjoy watching Martinsville Mayhem Semi Pro Football. New for 2016: Water slide and Driving Range. 1000 Irisburg Rd., Axton. 276.638.5200.
7. Experience the Smith River Trail System. The trail system is a network of more than 20 miles of trail offering opportunities for running, hiking and bicycling. Both paved and natural surfaced trails are offered. www.VisitMartinsville.com/trails. 276.632.8006.
8. Explore the many area murals and public works of art located throughout MHC. A variety of topics are featured. Discover the full list at visitmartinsville.com/publicart. 276.632.8006
9. The Mountain Laurel Trails biking complex provides 8 miles of trails on 100 acres. The trails offer varying levels of difficulty for beginners as well as seasoned bikers. 361 Mountain Laurel Trl., Ridgeway. 276.340.9144.
10. Enjoy climbing on the 10-foot bouldering wall at Jaycee Park. The sport of bouldering is a way to practice skills used in rock climbing. The activity is also great exercise and fun for the whole family. No special equipment is needed. 475 Parkwood Ct., Collinsville. 276.632.8006.
11. Beaver Creek Reservoir Canoe Rentals: Pack up the family, bring the boat, fishing rods and a picnic lunch and you’re all set for a day in the great outdoors. Canoes with all equipment can be rented on site to use on the reservoir for a low cost. 600 Redskin Dr., Martinsville. 276.656.5179.
12. Sportlanes is a retro bowling center from 1962 with 18 traditional wood lanes. They offer leagues for all ages and plenty of open play bowling. If you work up an appetite, Ten Pin Café can fill you up! Be sure to grab a coupon at the MHC Visitor Center. 10 Koehler Rd., Martinsville. 276.632.6060.
13. The Skate Park at Wilson Park is the place where skateboard lovers can practice their craft. A variety of ramps, jumps and elements are offered in the fenced-in space for skaters to use. 502 E. Church St. Ext., Martinsville. 276.403.5140
14. Mini Par & Driving Range is your place to take in a round or two of golf or to just practice your swing. Enjoy 18 holes on a 6 hole par 3 loop or chip away on the driving range with a bucket of balls. Lessons, equipment and repairs available. 17935 A.L. Philpott Hwy., Ridgeway. 276.957.4085.
15. Kids love the Martinsville Mustangs Collegiate Baseball team. Home games feature fun on-field activities. Firework shows are also offered throughout the season. Check the VisitMartinsville.com calendar for game listings. 450 Commonwealth Blvd. E., Martinsville. 276.403.5250.
16. Roll A Bout Skating Center is a family-friendly skating center with a nostalgic feel. Everyone’s welcome from the youngest skater to the skating enthusiasts. Specials/events can be found online. Private and in session parties are available. 100 Fifth Ave., Collinsville. 276.647.1160.
17. Fish the Smith River for native brown trout and stocked rainbow trout. Ten public river access points make getting in the river a breeze. Visitors and residents can take advantage of the free Tackle & Pole Loaner program at the Blue Ridge Regional Libraries & Philpott Lake. 276.632.8006.
18. Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants travel to a specific set of coordinates and then attempt to find the item that’s hidden at that location. There are are more than 780 treasures to find in the area! www.Geocaching.com
19. Visit Studio 107 where visitors are encouraged to watch the artists at work and browse the studio shop for original artwork and gifts. Many artists also offer classes for adults and children. 105 E. Church St., Martinsville. 276.638.2107.
20. QBall Billiards & Arcade offers pool tables, air hockey and vintage arcade games. You’ll love sharing this oldschool fun with your kids. 6629 Greensboro Rd., Ridgeway. 276.734.0417.
21. Enjoy the natural beauty of Philpott Lake. The lake covers 3,000 acres with 100 miles of shoreline and offers boating, swimming, camping, picnicking, hiking, biking, hunting, fishing and wildlife observation. Explore the Welcome Center’s exhibits on local wildlife. 1058 Philpott Dam Rd., Bassett. 276.629.2703.
22. Do your kids love seeing animals? If, so call Infinity Acres Petting Ranch and schedule a guided tour! Camps and workshops are offered throughout the year. You can go alpaca trekking, hold a sugar glider, see giant tortoises and much more! 136 Joppa Rd., Ridgeway. 276.358.2378.
23. Hit the dirt at Lake Sugar Tree Motorsports Park. The stadium-style supercross track hosts a number of events throughout the year that appeal to riders and fans of all ages. In addition to scheduled racing events, the track is also open for bikers to practice. 400 Movie Movers East, Axton. 276.650.1158.
24. For those who love cats and dogs, consider volunteering at the Martinsville-Henry County SPCA. This is a perfect way to allow children to experience what it’s like to care for a pet before taking the plunge, plus you are helping a great cause. 132 Joseph Martin Hwy., Martinsville. 276.638.7297.
25. Stonehaus Farms offers farm tours so visitors can get an up close and personal look at the animals raised there. The one hour tour features Nigerian dwarf milking goats, llamas, donkeys and more. They also offer classes for children and adults. 59 Forsythia Dr., Martinsville. 276.957.4656.
26. Gallery 22 offers many drop-in workshops for artists of all skill level and ages. Children are welcome to visit the gallery and create a unique piece of glass art. Events and special workshops take place throughout the year, including holiday and family events. 22 Walnut St., Martinsville. 276.806.7186.
27. Discover the history of the Fayette Street Historical District at the FAHI African American Heritage Museum. This museum represents one of the most historic African American neighborhoods in the area. 211 West Fayette St., Martinsville. 276.732.3496.
28. Martinsville Speedway is NASCAR’s oldest and shortest track. Stop by on weekdays to walk the Half Mile of Mayhem! The Speedway is home to two NASCAR races per year, plus the annual July 4th “Celebration” featuring rides, music and fireworks. 340 Speedway Rd., Ridgeway. 276.956.7200.
29. If your children have an artist’s spirit, register them for art classes at de Spot School of Art. Instructors are either certified in their medium or have many years of experience. All levels and all ages are welcome. Private lessons also available. 38 Franklin St., Martinsville. 276.734.6923.
30. Wilson Park offers an 18 Hole 60 Par Disc Golf Course for your enjoyment. Visit the Martinsville Parks & Recreation online for course review and downloadable scorecard. Discs can be rented from the Martinsville City Parks & Recreation office. 502 E. Church St. Ext., Martinsville. 276.403.5140.
31. Enjoy live, family-friendly music and dancing at a local jamboree on Sundays, Tuesdays & Fridays. Multiple locations available. Check the calendar at www.VisitMartinsville.com, 276.632.8006.
32. Martinsville Grand Prix Go Karts lets you start your engines and see who the best racer in the family is. They offer a basic racing package that includes 15 lap racing with single and double seated karts. Feel the need for more speed? Bullet carts are available. 2577 Greensboro Rd., Martinsville. 276.340.9968.
33. The Martinsville-Henry County Family YMCA‘s two locations are great places to keep your family active and entertained. From swimming pools, to day camps and group classes, the YMCA is great for families. 3 Starling Ave., Martinsville. 276.632.6427.
34. Hunt for fairy stones, a naturally occurring crystal called Staurolite that is formed in the shape of a cross. Learn about the legend of these stones and find some to take home. Multiple locations available, visit www.VisitMartinsville.com/fairystones, 276.632.8006.
35. Enjoy wading in the Smith River at The Great Road Access. This shallow spot offers easy access and a flat area to get into the river. Be sure to wear river shoes or old sneakers for safety and call ahead to hear the water generation schedule for the day. 4313 The Great Road, Fieldale, 276.629.2432.
36. Go behind the scenes at Arrington Engines and see the research and development process of manufacturing performance engine components. Free guided facility tours by appointment. Motorsports Dr. Martinsville. 276.666.6767.
37. Escape reality and summer heat by taking in a blockbuster movie at Hollywood Cinema (6 Hollywood Blvd., Martinsville, 276.656.3456) or Movie Town (67 Veteran Rd. Martinsville. 276.632.7400).
38. The Bike Barn on the Dick & Willie Passage Rail Trail offers free bike loans. Equipment is provided to guests ages five and up, when accompanied by an adult. Bring photo ID to check out a bike and helmet and enjoy your ride. 220 Doyle St., Martinsville. 276.632.1772.
39. Enjoy watching the boats coming in and out at Philpott Marina. At this family-friendly destination you can enjoy a picnic on the floating platform, buy an icecream to enjoy on the end of the pier and soak up some sunshine on the beautiful lake. 300 Boat Dock Rd., Bassett. 276.340.0485.
40. Stop by the Martinsville-Henry County Visitor Center for a free MHC temporary tattoo and a Philpott Lake Coloring Book. Gifts & area souvenirs available. 191 Fayette St., Martinsville. Parking and access on Moss St. 276.632.8006.
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