Monarch Migration Flyway at Norfolk Botanical Gardens


I wrote a while ago about Norfolk Botanical Garden's Mission Monarch -- a project designed to highlight the recent decrease in monarch butterfly populations and educate both kids and adults about ways to protect them. As part of Mission Monarch, NBG has erected a 600-ft Monarch Migration Flyway to illustrate the incredible journey that the butterflies undertake when they migrate to Mexico each year. The trail runs between the WOW Children's Garden and the Butterfly House, and is a nice walk for a little one. There's even a scavenger hunt you can complete to earn a prize (handed out at the front desk in the Information Center).

Anouk loves butterflies, especially after last summer's Pollinator Protection Project, and really enjoyed the Monarch Flyway. We started at the sign for Norfolk, Virginia, and followed subsequent signs to the butterflies final destination. Along the way, we learned more about the life stages of the butterfly, crawling like a caterpillar and zipping herself into a life-size "chrysalis."  

We're frequently at the Garden and have seen everything a dozen times by now; it's always fun when they put up something new for us to experience, especially when it's interesting information presented in a new and fun way! We highly recommend stopping by if you get the chance (don't forget to check out the beautiful stands of pink and orange milkweed scattered throughout to see the butterflies hard at work!)

Happy Monday!

Friday links (and where else to find me)


We have been having a crazy time these past few weeks as our house undergoes some serious renovations. Remember all that rain we had back in the spring? It wreaked a fair amount of havoc on pretty much every room in our house, thanks to a faulty roof. We're fixing it now, and excited about how it will turn out, but our house is a little bit of a disaster zone. For instance? In our living room we have a couch sitting on top of a couch. Yup. Also, some of my blogging tools (camera, laptop charger) seem to be sitting somewhere around the bottom of the pile. So blogging has been slow (as you might have noticed), but we hope to be back at full speed in the next week or so.

In the meantime, Happy Friday and here are some links that caught my attention this week. Hope you enjoy!

Did you hear that Norfolk/Virginia Beach was named the second happiest metro area in the US? (The first happiest is our neighbor, Richmond -- only a hop & skip away).

Fellow #HRVA blogger The Purposeful Pappy wrote this great article about crying in front of your kids for mamalode this week.

We're about seven items in to this Coastal Virginia Summer Bucket List. Luckily we've got a month left to try to hit them all!

If you have a dino-lover at home, you might enjoy this article that theorizes that all dinosaurs were covered with feathers!

Using game theory to deal with toddlers? I need to try this.

Finding art in science.

This week at Fun and Free Hampton Roads, I wrote about free crabbing (happening tonight!) at First Landing State Park. Click over to check it out. Have a great weekend!

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles


One of my favorite things about Anne is how she loves mechanical things (wheels, horns, engines) just as much as she adores princesses, dolls, and pink. I wasn't prepared for how much exactly she would, but in the two years that we've lived in the Hampton Roads area, we have amassed quite the list of places to go to see planes, trains, and automobiles of all types. I thought I would share our master list, in case you, too, have a little vehicle-lover at home. The list isn't exhaustive, but it will definitely give you enough to keep you running around town through the end of the summer!

Where's your favorite local place to go to see planes, trains, and automobiles? Let us know in the comments.


Norfolk Botanical Gardens Airport Overlook (Norfolk): Watch planes take off and land at Norfolk International Airport and listen to the chatter from the traffic controller towers.

Virginia Air and Space Center (Hampton): One of our all-time faves! Learn about the history of aviation and space exploration and see some seriously cool aviation-related exhibits.

Air Power Park (Hampton): Roam around the park and take a good look at the planes and jets (and space capsules) scattered around. Then visit the small museum and the playground for more fun.

Military Aviation Museum (Virginia Beach): Planes and...dinosaurs? We don't know how they mix, really, but the Military Aviation Museum in Pungo is another cool place to see jets and some fearsome reptile replicas, to boot.


Norfolk Southern Museum (Norfolk): This often overlooked museum recounts the history of one of the area's biggest employers; it also offers a look at a 900 lb. railroad coupler and the chance to sit in a locomotive simulator!

Pokey Smokey II at Portsmouth City Park: This miniature train in Portsmouth's City Park is a local landmark -- and has been for years. Runs daily through Labor Day; on the weekends until June 16th.

Virginia Zoo (Norfolk): The small train takes visitors on a 3/4-mile journey that winds around the zoo. Children under 2 ride free. Remember to buy your tokens a the ticket booth when you come in!

Lancaster Train and Toy Collection, Children's Museum of Virginia (Portsmouth): Around a thousand miniature trains clack around this tiny village. Best feature: the crawl spaces underneath and the up-bubbles that offer a conductor's-eye view.

Dale's Train Station (Norfolk): With 6,000 square feet of model trains for sale, this is the perfect place to pick up a present for the train aficionado. Don't miss: the awesome multi-level train layout.

Railroad Museum of Virginia (Portsmouth): See artifacts from the history of railroads in the US, including restored Engine 1134. The museum is open on Fridays and Saturdays.

Suffolk Seaboard Station Railroad Museum (Suffolk): SSSRM offers a collection of items from local railroads plus the chance to peek inside a real caboose! Open Wednesday through Sunday.

The Tide (Norfolk): Ride Norfolk's light rail system to see the sights! A convenient way to get around downtown but a fun ride in itself, too.


Motor World (Virginia Beach): Motor World features 11 go-kart tracks, including the Family Track, for kids. Mini-golf, paintball, and amusement park rides are also available.

American Indoor Karting (Virginia Beach): This is the place for indoor go-karting, including junior karting for the bigger kids. There's also an arcade, for when you're all vroomed out.

Langley Speedway (Hampton): Go on down to Langley Speedway for short-track racing every Saturday night. This is the oldest consecutive running track in the US, featuring NASCAR Winston Cup series races.

Virginia War Museum, Huntington Park (Newport News): Huntington Park is home to the Virginia War Museum, the yard of which showcases some impressive wartime vehicles (tanks, trucks).

US Army Transportation Museum (Fort Eustis): There's a ton to see here, including planes, helicopters, tugboats, and landing crafts. Open Tuesday through Sunday; admission is free!

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