Washed Ashore at the Virginia Aquarium


There's just about a month left to see the Washed Ashore exhibit at the Virginia Aquarium in Virginia Beach and it's one that definitely needs to be seen. The giant sculptures that make up the exhibit -- a friendly seal, giant jellyfish, massive coral reefs -- are, at a distance, beautiful and whimsical. But as you look closer and start to pick out familiar objects -- bottle caps, fishing bobbers, soda bottles -- you realize that they are all made out of trash washed up on the beach. And the scope of how polluted are oceans have become is even more striking.

We appreciated how interactive the exhibit was -- you can touch and play with most of the pieces, including a set of drums made of huge blocks of styrofoam (which was fun, but imagining these littering the shore of our favorite beaches is just mind-boggling). There were also stations scattered around the room where visitors could see the effect of all of the trash on the animals and plants that live in the ocean, and a table showing off some of the stranger things that have been pulled out of the waves (shoe skeletons, what?)

The volunteers who assembled the Washed Ashore exhibit did a great job in creating something beautiful and powerful out of something ugly and pretty awful, and in fostering awareness through art. It's definitely worth a look.

The Washed Ashore exhibit will be at the Virginia Aquarium through September 28 and is free with admission.

Sons of Summer: Support the Virginia Beach Lifeguard Association!


My amazingly talented photographer friend George told me a while ago that he was starting work on a super-exciting project and now it's done! And it's awesome, AND for a good cause, so even though it is not exactly standard WTWG fare, I really wanted to share. The Virginia Beach Lifesaving Service has recently released their 2015 Sons of Summer calendar calendar, featuring Virginia Beach lifeguards off duty and looking pretty amazing themselves.

A portion of the proceeds of each calendar go to benefit the Virginia Beach Lifeguard Association, a nonprofit that works to prevent drownings and promote beach safety, a mission I think all parents can support. Now that I have Anne, I find myself even more grateful for the lifeguards who watch over us when we're at the beach, and glad they're trained to help us if we need it. Besides the lifeguards, the calendar features water safety tips, history of the VBLS, and beautiful Virginia Beach scenery, some of the best.

The Sons of Summer calendar is a great souvenir to take home if you're visiting the area or a fun gift for local friends. You can buy your copy at the Old Coast Guard Station (they have a fab story time, btw) or online here.

Read more about VBLS here, and see more of George's work here. He was also on the news talking about the project last week. You did great, George!

The (New and Improved) Chrysler Museum


Thanks to the giant duck, you probably know by now that the Chrysler Museum has reopened. We were really missing it in the year and a half that it was closed -- it's such a great free place to go with kids and their programs are really top notch. A few weeks ago, our playgroup met up to revisit this old favorite and see the changes that were made. The Chrysler has such a nicely curated collection of things to see, it's really a treasure box of a place.

The main thing that impressed us was that the museum is a lot more interactive for kids and adults alike, now. There are plenty of places to sit and reflect and some special ways to share your thoughts and some of your own art, if you are so inclined. We also liked the community gallery, which allowed locals to vote on and assemble their favorite pieces of art all in one place. The kids were extremely taken in by some of the exhibits, namely the modern art wing and the exhibit on mummies including, strangely, the kind of gross video that plays on a loop there. Sadly, they didn't seem to want to spend much time in the photography exhibit, which I was looking forward to, so we'll have to plan an adults-only visit soon. We all loved the new courtyard, with the fountains and trees and gravel paths, it was a great place to hang out for a while and run off some steam (depending which age group you belong to).

There were a few kinks -- some of the display cases in the artifact rooms are too far above the kids' heads which meant there was a lot of hefting them up to see, over and over again, and the children's art room (drawing supplies, giant beanbags!) is situated in probably the most echo-y spot in the whole place which was awkward at times. But overall we are really loving the new and improved Chrysler and looking forward to our next trip.

Have you been inside the Chrysler since it reopened?

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