Party & Event Rentals
Discover Your Perfect Party Spot
Forget the stress and mess … birthday parties, small-group playdates, and private events at the Virginia Discovery Museum are as easy as 1-2-3! The Museum's open galleries, bright colors, and interactive exhibits provide a safe and playful atmosphere for any occasion, and our great location on Charlottesville's Downtown Mall is within walking distance of convenient parking, delivery and catering services, coffee shops and restaurants, and local shopping. With rentals starting at $275 and semi-private Saturday and fully private Sunday time slots available, discover why VDM is your perfect party spot!
Book a Party or Event
All party and event rentals must be booked at least 2 weeks in advance, and a $75 deposit is required to reserve a date and time. Please be aware that February is completely booked.
1) Select a Rental Option
The Museum offers Saturday and Sunday options for your next birthday party, small-group playdate, or private event. Enjoy private use of VDM’s Creation Station party room plus shared access with the public to both Museum galleries on a Saturday, or reserve the entire Museum to yourselves on a Sunday and enjoy completely private access to the party room and both galleries. Annual members receive a 10% discount on their overall rentals.
1 The party/event host will be charged an additional $10 per person for any attendees over the total number of guests allowed.
1 The total number of guests allowed is based on the party room's capacity limit and is a percentage of the overall building capacity.
1 The party room can accommodate seating for up to 20 children and 14 adults.
1 The total number of guests allowed includes the host family.
1 If the guest list includes Museum members, they will still count toward the total number of guests allowed.
2 All tableware, food, decorations, party activities, and invitations are the responsibility of the party host.
2) Contact the Museum
Contact Programs & Gallery Manager Sabrina Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org or (434) 977-1025 x105 between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Wednesday through Friday to find an available date and time. Please be aware that booking inquiries made outside of these hours may not be answered until the following Wednesday. To help speed up the reservation process, please have both a primary and alternate date and time in mind and review the Rules & Procedures and FAQs sections below before contacting us. Please be aware that February is completely booked.
3) Complete Deposit & Review Confirmation
To reserve a date and time, you must finalize the $75 rental deposit over the phone. Once payment is complete, a confirmation email will be sent to the email address provided with a payment receipt and your rental contract.
Rules & Procedures
- The rental period includes setup and cleanup time.
- The total number of guests allowed is 30 on Saturdays and 40 on Sundays. These numbers include the party family and any guests who are also Museum members, and they are based on the party room’s capacity limit and are a percentage of the overall building capacity.
- The party/event host will be charged an additional $10 per person for any attendees over the total number of guests allowed.
- The party/event must have at least 1 adult chaperone for every 4 children.
- Adult chaperones must be 18 years of age or older.
- If an insufficient number of chaperones arrives, the group will be denied entry into the Museum.
- Masks are encouraged but optional for all party attendees. If an attendee does not have a mask and would like one, VDM will provide one for them.
- Adult chaperones must supervise children at all times during playtime in the Museum galleries.
- All food and drink must remain in the Creation Station party room.
- The host family is asked to remain on-site until every child has been picked up by an adult.
- All attendees are asked to refrain from opening the emergency exit in the hallway near the party room for other guests. If you would like to use this door for unloading and loading food, drinks, and other party/event supplies, please notify a staff member and they will assist you. The emergency exit should not be opened without a staff member present.
The rental period includes setup and cleanup time. The following schedule is simply a suggested flow of events; you are welcome to do activities in any order you see fit within the allotted time. Please let us know during booking if we can help customize the schedule to fit your needs.
- Rental Start Time: Host Check-In
- First Half-Hour: Setup & Decoration, Guest Arrival, and Gallery Playtime
- Second Half-Hour: Food, Opening Presents, or Gallery Playtime
- Third Half-Hour: Food, Opening Presents, or Gallery Playtime
- Final Half-Hour: Gallery Playtime, Cleanup, and Check-Out
Parking & Directions
VDM validates parking for Museum visitors at the Market Street Garage and Water Street Garage. Both locations provide the first hour of parking for free, and Museum guests 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.
Click the icon in the upper left corner for map legend and details.
To Market Street Garage
To Water Street Garage
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I apply my member discount to a party or event rental?
When booking your party or event rental over the phone, our staff will verify whether or not you have an active annual membership and apply your 10% discount accordingly during the payment process.
To receive this discount, you must have an active annual membership. Families who received a membership gift voucher when their annual membership was purchased or renewed for them as a gift and would like to receive the discount must first contact Visitor Services Manager Matt Berman at email@example.com or (434) 977-1025 x103 to redeem their voucher and officially start their membership.
What if the date and time I want is already booked?
While we will do our best to accommodate your request, VDM only has a limited number of rental spots available. Please be prepared to have an alternate date and time in mind when you book your rental.
Is my party/event subject to any additional fees?
Yes, all party and event rentals are subject to an additional fee of $10 per person for any attendees over the total number of guests allowed. Due to capacity limits in the party room and in the Museum galleries, the total number of guests allowed is 30 on Saturdays and 40 on Sundays.
Membership & Discounts
Have I activated my membership to receive the discount?
Contact Visitor Services Manager Matt Berman at firstname.lastname@example.org or (434) 977-1025 x103, and we'll verify whether your membership is active and eligible for the discount.
Do Sponsored Admission, ASTC, ACM, AAA, AARP, or military discounts apply to party/event rentals?
While you are welcome to book a party or event at the Museum, the discount programs listed above only apply to general admission visits.
Cancellations & Refunds
What is VDM’s cancellation and refund policy for party and event rentals?
All booking fees are refundable up to 2 weeks prior to the rental date. If the rental is canceled within 2 weeks of the reserved date, the $75 rental deposit will be forfeited. If the rental is canceled by the Museum due to extenuating circumstances, all booking fees will be refunded.
Who else will be in the Museum during my party/event rental?
At least two VDM staff members will be present in the building during every party/event rental. All staff members and volunteers who will be in the building have been fully vaccinated against COVID. During Saturday rentals, party/event attendees will have private access to the party room, but both Museum galleries will be open to the public for general admission visits. Party/event attendees will have completely private access to the entire Museum during Sunday rentals.
How often is the Museum cleaned?
The Museum is cleaned daily. VDM staff will reset the Museum galleries and clean and sanitize the Creation Station party room after every party/event rental, and a crew will be on site to clean and sanitize the entire Museum at the end of the day. All party/event guests must exit the Museum by the rental’s scheduled end time to allow for cleaning to take place.
Can’t find the answer you’re looking for? For more information about party and event rentals, please contact Programs & Gallery Manager Sabrina Collins at email@example.com or (434) 977-1025 x105.