Learning through Play

The Virginia Discovery Museum is unique in the Charlottesville community in its child-centered focus. We celebrate intermingled exhibit pieces, messy art projects, spontaneous dance parties, and making new friends! The Museum follows an open, free-flowing, single-floor layout comprised of two main galleries and maintains nine hands-on, educational play areas over 6,000 square feet of exhibit space. There is no preset route through the Museum, so after checking in at the Front Desk, families are invited to explore different areas together at their own pace and in any order they choose. Each exhibit is designed to engage children cognitively, physically, emotionally, and socially, and our staff seeks to foster an environment in which there are just a few basic rules and opportunities abound for the critical early childhood skills of imaginative play and collaborative problem-solving.

Amazing Airways

  • What makes the scarves and balls go?
  • How can we get a ball to come out of that exit?
  • Which is faster, a ball or scarf?
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Our STEM Lab will introduce our visitors to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math through the principles of gravity, flight, and motion.

  • Flight Lab
  • Magnetic Wall
  • Automoblox Ramp
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Literacy Lounge

Early literacy skills are essential to literacy development and should be the focus of early language and literacy programs. Visit the Literacy Lounge for book play, nursery rhymes, storytimes, and early writing skills. 

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Construction Zone

The Construction Zone will allow children to free-build with a variety of materials. Children will work together to imagine and construct group projects, or work independently on their own creations. 

  • Imagination Playground Blocks
  • Keva Planks
  • Train Table
  • Light Table
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Virginia Heritage Area

Come act out the life of a time gone by in the Showalter Cabin!

  • ​Harvest vegetables in the garden.
  • Play a games of checkers, skittles, or dominoes.
  • Check on the eggs in the chicken coop.
  • Dress in period clothing as you cook a meal for your family. 
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Sensory Studio

A designated area where children ages birth-two can safely explore, discover and imagine. 

  • Climbing Structure with ramps and tunnels.
  • Book Nook
  • Bubble Tube
  • Light Table
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Lite Brite

A large lite brite wall on which children will be able to create illuminated works of art while they improve fine motor skills. 

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Learn the ABCs and 123s of Virginia as you walk through this colorful and interactive hallway on your way to the Back Gallery.

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Creation Station

A multi-purpose art studio, party and program room, Creation Station features tons of art supplies, project prompts, and gallery space to display the creations of budding young artists. Plus, each month will highlight a master artist of the month such as Leonardo da Vinci, Van Gogh, or Matisse. 

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Sound & Music Studio

The Sound and Music Studio, designed to enable children to explore the concepts of vibration, pitch, volume and melody.

  • Tuning Forks
  • Standing Wave Machine
  • Instrument Gallery
  • Composing Station
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Post Office

Sort the mail by color and number, then load up your satchel with letters and deliver them to all the places around Little C'Ville. 

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Discovery Station Firehouse

Ring the bell to alert your crew, then take a spin down the slide to your fire truck! Sparky, the station canine, will be waiting for you while you gear up in one of the firefighter costumes. 

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UVA Children’s Hospital

Shuffle into your scrubs...it's time to start checking in patients! In the exam room, listen to heartbeats, check blood pressure, and examine X-rays. 

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Panera Bread

Don an apron, seat your family at your best table, and serve up delicious bread, cookies, and pastries! Keep your restaurant spick and span as you keep Little C'Ville well fed. 

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Paramount Theatre

Now playing! Get your tickets and popcorn at the ticket booth, dress up as your favorite character, and stage a show for family and friends. 

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Pollination Station and Bee Hive

See what all the buzz is about at our honey bee observation hive! Learn all about honey bees and pollination as you harvest seasonal fruits and veggies in the orchard and picking patch, then sell your bounty in the farmer's market. 

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