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7 Wonderfully Fun Family Activities In Northern Virginia

Find Fun Activities to Celebrate Your New (Or Soon-To-Be) Home In Northern Virginia

What better way to start adjusting to a new place than by doing fun family activities together?

Having a family of my own has given (and still is giving) me the chance to get to know a different part of Northern Virginia than I have in the past. Well, sort of. Some family activities here have stuck around and new ones are coming all the time. It’s a fantastic mixture of tradition and contemporary.

I want to share with you some of the great places, old and new, that can be ideal for creating wonderful family memories together.

Greg Dempsey and Family

1. Steven F Udvar-Hazy Center

If you like discovering hidden gems then this is a big one – a hidden Smithsonian.

Imagine the Air And Space Museum in Washington DC, but not quite as large (with less traffic, thankfully). Though it may not be as big as the A&SM in DC there are still plenty of fun family activities in this Northern Virginia gem.

  • Walk through exhibitions of space flight, WWII planes, and more
  • See science demonstrations and fly your own paper airplane
  • Get an incredible viewpoint from the IMAX theater
  • Fly combat jet simulations
Udvar-hazy smithsonian one of many great family activities in Northern Virginia

There are also plenty of events to attend, such as Family Days and star-gazing parties.

The coolest parts are seeing the Space Shuttle Discovery, seeing the fastest jet in the world, and participating in hands-on exhibits and activities.

Open every day except 12/15 from 10 – 5:30. Parking is $15 before 4 pm because admission is free (have to keep the lights on somehow).

Trip Advisor Review
5 Stars

“I’ve been to all of the Smithsonian museums in DC and never made it out here before this. This place is amazing, free tours, close up opportunities with a lot of history. Definitely a great place to visit!”
– BBlkburn, 6/4/19

2. Monster Mini Golf (and more)

This is mini golf on a whole new level (and there’s more than just mini golf).

The course is delightfully spooky, not scary, making it a fun and entertaining family activity in Northern Virginia.

They cater to people ages 5-95 (I know where I’ll be mini golfing at 95). There are 18 holes too, so you can get the full experience.

You can also enjoy arcade games, a Laser Maze (for our inner spies), mini bowling, and the game Atomic Rush.

Find out everything you need to know and even take a Google Maps tour of the place.

Monster mini golf course a fun family activity in Northern Virginia
Photo by TMBLover – Creative Commons License 4.0

Google Review
5 Stars

Great place for a fun afternoon or evening.  The bowling game is easier than real bowling but still challenging enough to be a good time.  The mini golf is also fairly easy which makes it good for younger kids, but the holes do require some strategy and it’s a fun course for adults as well.  The decorations and black lighting give the place a cool vibe.”
– Jon F, 6/5/19

3. Tyson’s Corner Center

This is one of the top 10 shopping centers in the country, and you’ll be able to see why it’s one of Northern Virginia’s top family activities:

  • 300+ department and specialty stores
  • 16-screen stadium seating and IMAX 3D AMC Theatre
  • Many restaurants and a food court
  • Events held at the outdoor plaza
One entrance to Tysons Corner Center as a family activity in Northern Virginia
Photo by Ser Amantio di Nicolao – Creative Commons License 3.0

You can find almost anything you want or need at this mall, but you’ll have to get to it first. The traffic and parking are the only real problems you’ll see in the reviews:

Yelp Review
4 Stars

“…You love it for the convenience. They have a great assortment of stores and restaurants, a movie theater, multiple play areas for kids, and easy access to and from the Metro. However, you hate it for the traffic that it causes…and parking is a whole conversation of its own…”
– Rebecca C, 5/16/19

4. Frying Pan Farm Park

This neat farm is like stepping back into the Roaring 20s, rural style. You can take a wagon ride and see the entire farm, pet their amazing animals, and see what farm life was like almost a century ago.

This video explains more about Frying Pan Farm Park:

Admission and parking are free, well, except on special event days.

As for how people like it, this review pretty much says it all:

Trip Advisor Review
5 Stars

“They have animals that you can see, animals you can pet, a wagon ride, carousel, playground, and tractors the kids can climb on. And all for free! There is a store where you can buy popsicles. And they do educational sessions regularly. They also host special events like horse competitions and festivals. This is an awesome outdoor “thing to do” with little ones.

Oh, and one of my son’s classmates did their 5th birthday party at Frying Pan Farm Park and it was amazing…”
– SonalFamily, 6/4/19

5. The National Museum of the Marine Corps

We can’t not mention this place, it’s one of the best family activities in Northern Virginia! How many places do you know of that have 4.9 stars on Google with almost 4,000 reviews (there aren’t many).

This honorable place pays tribute to the brave US Marine Corp, and they do an amazing job.

National Museum of the Marines
Photo by Gwenn Adams

Google Reviews
5 Stars

“AMAZING!!!!  We could have spent days here.  We have been there twice and still have not seen it all AND they were adding more.  Our 7 year old and then 9 year old the second time, did not want to leave!  There is so much history inside and it is kept up beautifully.  The USMC has a true treasure here! Keep up the great work USMC!!!!”
– Lynette Tiede-Beals, 6/10/19

You can see everything from Civil War uniform styles to tactical tanks. Some of their exhibits are interactive and they have a gallery specifically for children to go through.

It’s open 9-5 every day except Christmas and admission is free.

6. Room Escape Fairfax

Teamwork, problem-solving, and family fun await in this Northern Virginia family activity!

Room escapes puzzles are a thrill sweeping through the nation. You and your team of friends, family, or anyone enters a room where you must solve a series of puzzles in order to escape.

There are different types of escapes from horror to save the world and everything in between.

This video tells more on Room Escape Fairfax:

This is one family activity that might become a tradition (especially with the changing themes).

5 Stars
“My family and I had an excellent experience! The staff was really nice and professional. We were paired with another family of 5 and had a blast! Will definitely do it again, either as a family activity or birthday party for my kids.”
– Nadia Khati, 5/11/19

7. Atlantis Waterpark

Gotta have some summer fun and this is one of the best summer family activities in Northern Virginia.

Waterslides, open pools, and a play area for children are waiting for your family this summer. Their lifeguards have a good reputation for vigilance and customer experience.

They are open from 11-7 every day except on certain days. As for pricing, most people pay anywhere from $7-8.75 depending on when you go. You will want to check out their website for all the details.

5 Stars

“We have been coming to Atlantis for years…The lifeguards have always been diligent, polite and friendly…The park was clean, the pool clean and well staffed. The snack bar is a snack bar..with the type of food one expects to find at a pool. While you can’t bring your own food inside the pool, many times we have brought our own food and had a picnic. The price is certainly reasonable.

All four boys had a great time and so did the adults. We will be back….probably many times again this summer.”
– Karyn Howard, 6/4/19

Which Family Activity Would You Try First?

We would love to know which family activity interests you the most! You can give us your opinion in the comments below.