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What travelers are saying
- I went with my 7 year old and 8 year old, and they both thought this place was amazing. Parking was close - self-pay and was 6 bucks for the whole day. I bought our tickets online the night before for a 10 am slot on a Thursday, and the check-in process at the museum with pretty easy. I added the tickets to my Apple Wallet, they scanned the tickets, and that was that. All the staff members I interacted with were kind and welcoming so no problems there.
There's quite a lot to see - my kids spent a good bit of time exploring and playing in every area. They really enjoyed the bank area and entering in the codes to see what was behind the vault and working with the giant money calculator. It was great to watch them so excited to go from exhibit to exhibit.
We caught one of the planetarium shows (From the Earth to the Universe). My 8 year old is very into space, and she liked it. Some kids thought it was kind of scary, and there was a teenager next to me who fell asleep lol. If you go, try and get a spot in the middle so you don't have to crank your neck so much.
There's a pretty outside/courtyard type area next to the museum that's perfect for a picnic, and I wish I brought one so we could spend more time there, but we were hangry (no food/drink in the museum) so we had to go.
We did happen to also get there at the same time as a few field trips so it was kind of busy in some areas, but we hung back a little and the different areas cleared up for them to explore again. If I had to choose another time, I'd probably pick after 12p during the week.Written August 12, 2022This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- It's free and a few steps from the public water taxi that takes you to the stop at Norfolk Waterside. The museum is focused on the role of the Norfolk area and its shipyards in U.S. naval history. You can walk through it in 20 minutes or read every display, including a video about light boats, in under two hours. Then take a walk up and down Old Town Portsmouth (Emanuel AME Church is 1/2 mile away) to make it a half-day trip.Written August 7, 2022This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- Go to city links golf course once a week nice little 9 hole course. The staff is always very pleasant. Can not beat the price.Written June 13, 2021This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- Wow!!! An amazing place! It is worth the $5 admission fee. The docents are very well informed about the house and are very warm and welcoming. The place is full of items from around the turn of the century, including clothes and quilts. This is a must see! They are open on Saturdays starting at 11, but it is run by volunteers so during the week, it would be best to call ahead,Written September 19, 2016
- The Marina threw a party for the whole marina on Harborfest, with drinks, food, and live music. Was a pleasant surprise :)Written July 13, 2022
- This lightship was used from 1915 through 1961. Go aboard and see if you think you could survive on a ship this size at sea for up to six months. It was one of the few lightships that were not armed during WWII. All they ask is for a $2 donation.
I found the staff onboard to be very nice and knowledgeable and seemed to really enjoy answering your questions. It's docked next to a seawall and I highly recommend strolling along it after you are done in the museum. You can watch large and small ships on the water as well as watch the ships in dry dock being restored. I think this museum would be interesting to all ages.Written May 11, 2020
- Lots of cool interesting goodies to check out. It was worth the time and effort for cool souveniers!Written April 23, 2019
- After may 5yo son wanted to go birdwatching, I frantically searched for a place that was close. Thankfully the Hoffler Creek Wildlife Preserve answered both wildlife and proximity searches.
Upon arival we checked the information board, that has a lot of good information on it, and the map. We decided to walk counter-clockwise round the trail. Several butterflies, dragonflies and moths were immediately spotted. After making our way to the pier on Hoffler Creek, we stepped on was was greeted with an egret flying directly over us. Mission accomplished. As we continued back to the parking lot we saw several small birds and a lot of mosquitoes, though no more than you’d expect around a marshy area.
It was a fun trip and definitely worth checking out if you like wildlife.Written August 6, 2019
- It was very hard trying to find the way to get inside the museum grounds. It wasn't even easy finding where we were supposed to park. While we were walking around outside my husband decided to call their number to ask how we could get in. The lady that answered was very nice and walked outside and pointed in the direction of the gate to use to enter the grounds.
The museum consists of five restored train cars (1910 engine, two mail cars, a dining car, and a caboose). It's not a large museum but they did have an interesting selection of artifacts. My favorite item was actually a photograph taken of an old steam engine that was found in Roanoke, VA behind a scrapyard.Written May 3, 2020
- I had this park on my list of places to visit and so glad I found it. Not cheap since I had to pay a couple of tolls to get there but worth the journey.
Several trails to choose from but all in a loop around the water. Excellent signage for plants and the history of the establishment of the area. Promising to know that so many individuals and businesses care about our waterways and the animals. The wood plant is noisy but knowing that the businesses are working in harmony with nature makes it less distracting. I almost missed the “earth mound” and the higher elevation for the improved view. Impressed that someone was there on Christmas digging up invasive plants. Thanks for your efforts!
Definitely want to return to use the kayak ramp in the spring.Written December 25, 2019
- Around 15 beers on tap ranging from ales to IPA to porters and stouts, there's something for everyone. The flights are reasonably priced and they offer short pours for those who want less than a full pint. Although they only have a snack menu, there are several restaurants close by that you can bring back to have with your beer. My faves are the peanut butter porter and barleywine, each well done and good-tasting. Well behaved dogs are welcome and the staff is friendly and knowledgeable. The interior is open and nice for small and large groups.Written March 17, 2019
- The art and cultural center is in the old courthouse that was built in 1846 and was in use until 1960. They have rotating cultural exhibits and visual arts. They offer guided tours on certain days (check their website for those days) and you self-tour the other days. The people inside were very nice and friendly.
Be sure to visit the gift shop. They had some amazing items and I actually bought 2 of the items. If you are in Portsmouth (or just passing through) I highly recommend a stop at this place.Written May 14, 2020
- Love going to the pavilion. Use to be called the Ntelos pavilion, but now its just the Portsmouth pavilion. It is a smaller venue, but the acoustics are great and the artists are always very talented. I would definitely go back here and we regularly go there. There are a lot of food places and bars with in walking distance or you can just stroll along the water's edge waiting for the show to start.Written April 14, 2019
- Two year old daughter had fun splashing in the sprinklers and fountains, even though she doesn't like getting her face wet. The facility is not very big but it wasn't very full either. (5 kids were the most that were present at any one time so there was plenty of room for them to frolic. We were there late on a weekday afternoon and stayed until they closed.) And it was FREE!Written July 30, 2017
- I participated in the annual Steeple to Steeple tour of historic churches in the Old Towne section of Portsmouth, VA and Emanuel A.M.E. was one of the churches featured on the tour.
This church is full of local African American history. Everything inside and out was built in one year and completed in 1857 by slaves and freedmen living in the area. Most of the structure is still original (stained glass, balcony floors, ironworks, pews/benches, some furniture, beams, etc.). Because the church was so close to the harbor at the time, it was used in the Underground Railroad, with people escaping to ships on the Elizabeth River going north. The church had some renovations in the 60s or 70s, so it is not allowed to be on the National Registry of Historic Places. There are three historic state markers in the front church yard.
Even though the church does participate on the annual Steeple to Steeple tour and the annual Umoja Festival Heritage tour, it does not do scheduled tours. With that said, the people are so nice and if you called ahead, I am sure they would let you walk around.
It is located in the historic Old Towne section of Portsmouth, VA that features many other historical sites, museums, restaurants, and a movie theater (Children's Museum, Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, Commodore Theater, etc.). Old Towne is also across the Elizabeth River from downtown Norfolk, VA. You can take the ferry over the river and visit Nauticus, the MacArthur Memorial, and St. Paul's Church all in one weekend.Written June 10, 2016
Frequently Asked Questions about Portsmouth
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Portsmouth Attractions Information
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