Spark curiosity and investigative play for children in preschool and early elementary with after-school Discovery Workshops at the Virginia Discovery Museum! Workshops take place once or twice a month during the school year and provide active and engaging enrichment opportunities around a central theme that changes each season. This fall, all of VDM’s Discovery Workshops and Day-Off Camps from September through November will uncover the incredible, infinitesimal world of microorganisms as we investigate the diminutive but dynamic engines that make life on Earth possible, exciting, and – sometimes – kind of freaky. VDM’s Under the Microscope curriculum supports Virginia’s Standards of Learning in Living Systems and Processes for first and second grades and encourages systematic use of investigation with a focus on asking questions, creating and using models, and recognizing relations and patterns.
Wednesday, Sep. 27 | 4:00-5:00 p.m. | Spots Left: 7
Ages 4-8: How do teeny, tiny organisms get from place to place? Forget what you know about legs, wings, and fins: We’ll create models to explore how microscopic things move!
Wednesday, Oct. 11 | 4:00-5:00 p.m. | Spots Left: 11
Ages 4-8: TikTok dances may spread “virally,” but submicroscopic organisms did it first! Discover how viruses make copies of themselves through infectiously fun experiments and games.
Wednesday, Oct. 25 | 4:00-5:00 p.m. | Spots Left: 9
Ages 4-8: Zombies? Mind control? It’s not simply science fiction! Prepare for a close encounter with some of the spookiest microorganisms out there, just in time for Halloween.
Wednesday, Nov. 15 | 4:00-5:00 p.m. | Spots Left: 11
Ages 4-8: We hope the future is green, but we know the past definitely was: Explore the science of blue-green algae and other microorganisms whose byproducts have literally shaped our blue-green planet, Earth.
- Program participants with any of these symptoms are asked to refrain from visiting the Museum.
- Masks are encouraged but optional for all program participants. If a child does not have a mask and would like one, VDM will provide one for them.
- All parents / guardians must Check-In at the front desk before dropping off program participants in the Creation Station program room.
- No food, gum, or drinks are allowed in the Museum, except water bottles.
Check-In & Check-Out
- 3:55-4:00 p.m.: Arrival & Check-In
- Takes place in the Museum’s front lobby area.
- Discovery Workshops do not include playtime in the Museum galleries. If you wish to play in the galleries before a workshop, participants may arrive up to a half-hour prior to the start of the program. Participants who arrive earlier in the day to play in the galleries must pay admission.
- Parents / Guardians are welcome to stay in the Museum galleries to supervise siblings during the workshop or they may leave the building and return for pick-up at the conclusion of the program. The Back Gallery closes to all visitors at 4:45 p.m. Masks are encouraged but optional for all visitors.
- 4:00-4:55 p.m.: Program Instruction & Activities
- 4:55-5:00 p.m.: Pick-Up & Check-Out
- Parents / Guardians may wait outside Creation Station to pick up program participants or wait in the Front Gallery until the class concludes. The Back Gallery closes to all visitors at 4:45 p.m.
- All visitors must exit the Museum by 5:00 p.m. to allow for the arrival of VDM’s cleaning crew.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will VDM be open for general admission during Workshops?
Yes, VDM will be open for general admission visits during Workshops, but the Creation Station program room will only be open to program participants.
Who else will be in the program room during Workshops?
At least one VDM staff member will be present during every Workshop. All staff members and any volunteers who will be in the program room have been fully vaccinated against COVID.
How often is the Museum cleaned?
The Museum is cleaned daily, and a crew will be on site after the Museum closes to clean and sanitize. All program participants must exit the Museum by the scheduled Check-Out time before the cleaners arrive.
Registration & Waitlists
What if the Workshop I want to participate in has filled?
Workshops have a maximum capacity of 12 children. If you have an interest in a Workshop that is full, please contact Education Manager Lara Musser at firstname.lastname@example.org or (434) 977-1025 x106 to add your child's name to the waitlist. In the event of a cancellation, those on the waitlist will be contacted in the order their requests were received.
Does VDM offer financial assistance for Workshops?
In accordance with the Museum’s mission, VDM does offer a limited number of scholarships for all of its programs, including Workshops. For information about applying for a scholarship, contact Director of Operations Lindsay Jones at email@example.com or (434) 977-1025 x102.
How do I apply my 10% annual member discount?
To apply this discount to program registrations made online, you must have an active annual membership and will need to create a Website User Account and link it to your membership record by following these instructions. If you have already created a Website User Account, click the registration link for the program you wish to register for and sign in using the link at the top of the registration page. If you need help applying your 10% discount when using our online order forms, please contact Visitor Services Manager Matt Berman at firstname.lastname@example.org or (434) 977-1025 x103.
How do I set up my Website User Account?
Did I successfully link my Website User Account and membership?
Contact Visitor Services Manager Matt Berman at email@example.com or (434) 977-1025 x103, and we’ll make sure everything is all set.
Cancellations & Refunds
What is VDM's cancellation and refund policy for Workshops?
A minimum of 6 children is required for a program to run. If a program is canceled by the Museum due to insufficient enrollment or other extenuating circumstances, the registration fee will be refunded to all registrants.
Individual cancellations must be made at least 2 weeks before the corresponding program to be eligible for a refund. If an individual cancellation causes the program roster to fall below the required minimum, the refund will be contingent upon the vacancy being filled. If an individual cancellation is made within two weeks of the program, the registration fee will be forfeited. No refunds will be issued after a program begins.
Drop-Off & Pick-Up
Where can I park to drop off and pick up my child?
VDM validates parking for program participants at the Market Street Garage and Water Street Garage. Both locations provide the first hour of parking for free, and program participants receive an additional hour of free parking – for a total of two hours – when they request a validation ticket at VDM’s front desk. The Museum is also located next to the Downtown Transit Station, and Charlottesville Area Transit offers a Free Trolley that stops at the station as it travels through Downtown and the University of Virginia. Click to learn more about parking downtown or more about public bus routes and fares.
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Do Workshops include gallery playtime?
Workshops do not include playtime in the Museum galleries. If you wish to play in the galleries before a Workshop, participants may arrive up to a half-hour prior to the start of the program. Participants who arrive earlier in the day to play in the galleries must pay admission. Members may check-in at any time.
Are parents / guardians allowed to stay and play in the Museum with non-participating siblings during Workshops?
Yes, parents / guardians are welcome to stay in the Museum galleries to supervise siblings during the Workshop or they may leave the building and return for pick-up at the conclusion of the program. The Back Gallery Closes to all visitors at 4:45 p.m. Masks are encouraged but optional for all visitors.
To learn more about Discovery Workshops, contact Education Manager Lara Musser at firstname.lastname@example.org or (434) 977-1025 x106. For scholarship information, contact Director of Operations Lindsay Jones at email@example.com or (434) 977-1025 x102.