Small Group Visits
Cville’s Best Discovery Spot for Kids 8 & Under
Explore, imagine, discover, and more at the best hands-on discovery spot in Charlottesville for families with newborns to children age 8! Although the Virginia Discovery Museum remains closed for general admission due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our fully vaccinated staff is excited to open our doors for the first time since March 2020 for prescheduled, in-person Small Group Visits starting in May 2021. Looking for a playdate for a social “pod,” a birthday bash, or just need to get out of the house? Schedule a visit today, and enjoy the Museum to yourselves for up to 25 people! Reservations are available on a limited first-come, first-served basis. Please note that Amazing Airways, Flight Lab, and Creation Station are currently closed for Small Group Visits.
Details | Book A Visit | COVID Procedures | Parking | FAQs | Contact
Book A Visit
1) Contact the Museum
Contact Director of Operations Lindsay Jones at (434) 977-1025 x102 or firstname.lastname@example.org to find an available date and time for a Small Group Visit. Visits start in May 2021, but reservations can be made immediately on a limited first-come, first-served basis. To help speed up the reservation, please take time to review the Details section above and the COVID Procedures below before contacting VDM.
2) Complete Reservation Payment & Waiver
To reserve a Small Group Visit, the person booking the visit must finalize payment over the phone and complete an online Small Group Visit Form & Waiver covering all visitors in the group. All visits are $250, and annual members receive a 10% discount.
3) Review Confirmation Email
Once the Small Group Visit Form & Waiver is completed with all necessary information, a confirmation email will be sent to the person booking the visit. This email will contain the payment receipt; the date, time, and schedule for the group's visit; and the Museum’s COVID procedures and rules.
These procedures are specific to VDM’s Small Group Visits and COVID-19 preparedness. For general Museum rules and policies, please visit Museum Policies & FAQs.
- All visitors in the group must arrive at the same Check-In time (see below) to be granted entry into the Museum. There will not be multiple check-in times.
- Chaperones must be 18 years of age or older.
- The group must have at least 1 adult chaperone for every 4 children.
- If an insufficient number of chaperones arrives with the group, the group will be denied entry into the Museum.
- Last-minute changes within the group are not permitted.
- All adult chaperones must sign a waiver during Check-In.
- All visitors must submit to a temperature check and short verbal questionnaire (see below) during Check-In.
- All visitors over the age of 2 must wear a mask. If a visitor does not have a mask, one will be provided for them.
- All visitors are encouraged to social distance while in the Museum.
- Adult chaperones are asked to supervise children at all times during playtime in the Museum galleries.
- No food or drink is allowed in the Museum, except water.
- The host family is asked to remain on-site until every child has been picked up by an adult.
Prior to the Small Group Visit, please review the following questionnaire, which visitors will be asked at Check-In. In the past 14 days, have you:
- Been directed to quarantine, isolate, or self-monitor?
- Been diagnosed with or have had contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19?
- Experienced a fever, cough, or shortness of breath?
- Resided with or been in close contact with any person in the above-mentioned categories?
If you or anyone in your group answered “yes” to any of these questions, you will not be permitted entry into the Museum. If you have any questions about any of VDM’s policies and procedures, please feel free to contact Director of Operations Lindsay Jones at email@example.com or (434) 977-1025 x102.
Check-In & Check-Out
- Arrival & Check-In: All visitors in the group must arrive at the same Check-In time to be granted entry into the Museum. It is recommended to arrive up to 15 minutes prior to the scheduled Small Group Visit start time.
- Check-In will take place outside by the Carousel, rain or shine.
- All visitors must check in, submit to a temperature check and verbal questionnaire (see above), and listen to a short orientation.
- Visitors over the age of 2 must wear a mask for the duration of the visit.
- Visitors are not permitted to enter the Museum until Check-In is completed.
- Entry: After Check-In, any coats, strollers, bags, etc. will be placed in the Stroller Room.
- Gallery Playtime: Visitors will have access to all Exhibit areas with the exception of Amazing Airways, Flight Lab, and Creation Station. Small Group Visits last a total of 2 hours from the scheduled start time of the visit.
- Check-Out: All visitors must leave the Museum by the scheduled end time of the Small Group Visit to allow for the arrival of the cleaning crew.
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 Visitors Center, 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
These FAQs are specific to VDM’s Small Group Visits and COVID-19 preparedness. For general FAQs about the Museum (including things like changing stations, strollers, WiFi access, and places to eat), please visit Museum Policies & FAQs.
How do I apply my annual member discount to a Small Group Visit?
When booking your Small Group Visit over the phone, we 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 purchased or renewed an annual membership and chosen to activate it immediately. Families who opted to receive a membership voucher when purchasing or renewing their annual membership and would like to receive the discount must first contact Marketing Manager Matt Berman at firstname.lastname@example.org to redeem their voucher and officially start their membership.
Have I activated my annual membership in order to receive the discount?
Contact Marketing Manager Matt Berman at email@example.com, and we'll verify whether your membership is active and eligible for the discount.
I have an ASTC / ACM reciprocal membership from another location. Do my reciprocal benefits apply?
While you are welcome to book a Small Group Visit, ASTC and ACM reciprocal benefits do not apply. These benefits only apply to general daily admission, which we hope returns to the Museum soon.
I have a AAA / AARP / Military ID. Do I receive a discount?
While you are welcome to book a Small Group Visit, our AAA, AARP, and military discounts do not apply. These benefits only apply to general daily admission, which we hope returns to the Museum soon.
What if the date and time I want is already booked?
The Museum is only able to offer a limited number of prescheduled Small Group Visits on a first-come, first-served basis as we work to return to normal operating procedures. While we will do our best to accommodate your request, please be prepared to have an alternate date and time in mind when you call.
Cancellations & Refunds
What is VDM’s cancellation and refund policy for Small Group Visits?
The booking fee is refundable up to one week prior to the visit date. If the visit is canceled within one week of the visit date or the group fails to pass the Check-In procedures, a deposit of $50 will be forfeited. If the visit is canceled by the Museum due to extenuating circumstances, the booking fee will be refunded.
Who else will be in the Museum during Small Group Visits?
At least two VDM staff members will be present during every Small Group Visit. All staff members and any volunteers who will be in the building have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and will be wearing masks.
Will Small Group Visits take place during Summer Camps or other scheduled in-person programs at the Museum?
No. Apart from VDM staff and volunteers, your group will be the only visitors in the Museum during your scheduled visit.
How often will the Museum be cleaned while Small Group Visits are taking place?
After every Small Group Visit, VDM staff will reset galleries and rotate exhibit pieces, and a crew will be on site to clean and sanitize. All visitors must exit the Museum by the scheduled end time before the cleaners arrive.
Will any exhibits be unavailable during Small Group Visits?
Can’t find the answer you’re looking for? For more information about Small Group Visits, please contact Director of Operations Lindsay Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.