Family Friendly Activities In Charleston

Things to Do With Kids in Charleston Wv

Charleston, WV, is bustling with kid-friendly activities that blend education with fun. At the Clay Center, children can dive into the worlds of art and science through interactive exhibits that spark their creativity and curiosity. It's a great way to introduce young minds to complex concepts through hands-on learning.

A visit to the Capitol Market offers a lively environment where families can explore local crafts and savor fresh produce. This market isn't just a place to shop; it's an opportunity for kids to learn about local agriculture and the importance of supporting local farmers.

The State Capitol and State Museum are must-visit spots for a dose of West Virginia's history. The majestic architecture of the Capitol is more than just visually stunning; it tells the story of the state's legislative evolution. Meanwhile, the State Museum provides an educational journey through the region's heritage, showcasing artifacts that bring the past to life.

For those who love the outdoors, Kanawha State Forest is a natural playground. The trails are perfect for family hikes where you can spot a variety of wildlife and plants. This direct interaction with nature is an excellent way for kids to learn about the environment and the importance of conservation.

Every experience in Charleston helps paint a broader picture of American life, offering both fun and learning opportunities for visiting families. Each activity is not only enjoyable but also enriches the children's understanding of the world around them.

Visit the Clay Center

Explore Science Art Music

When you're in Charleston, WV, don't miss out on the chance to explore the Clay Center with your family. This expansive 240,000-square-foot facility is a key part of downtown Charleston's renewal and is home to the Avampato Discovery Museum and the Juliet Museum of Art. It's a perfect place for families, providing numerous interactive exhibits that engage children and adults alike.

At the Clay Center, your kids can actively learn about water energy, human biology, and the science behind sound waves through hands-on exhibits. These exhibits are carefully designed to educate and ignite a deep-seated curiosity for science and the arts.

The center doesn't just focus on education; it also offers a variety of fun activities. Kids can enjoy lively puppet shows and interactive climbing sculptures, which provide both entertainment and a bit of a physical challenge. These features make every visit to the Clay Center a memorable event where learning happens through active play.

Each trip to the Clay Center is an opportunity to build lasting memories and discover the excitement of learning in a playful environment. Whether it's exploring scientific concepts or enjoying creative arts, the Clay Center has something to captivate every member of the family.

Explore Capitol Market

As you explore Capitol Market, you'll discover a vibrant selection of fresh, seasonal produce that highlights the rich agricultural traditions of West Virginia. Local craftspeople showcase their skills with unique items like hand-blown glassware and homemade truffles that are a treat for anyone looking to experience regional flavors and craftsmanship.

The market isn't just about shopping; it's a hub for community gatherings too. There are numerous events tailored to families, providing a fun and engaging environment for both adults and kids to enjoy their day. These activities not only entertain but also foster a sense of community and connection among attendees.

Moreover, visiting Capitol Market gives you a chance to support local farmers and artisans. By purchasing their products, you contribute to the local economy and encourage the preservation of unique crafts and farming skills.

Seasonal Produce Selection

Explore the vibrant selection of seasonal produce at Capitol Market, where you can find everything from juicy tomatoes and sweet corn to fresh berries and hearty pumpkins. This market is more than a place to shop; it's a celebration of West Virginia's farming culture. By browsing Capitol Market, you're not only buying groceries—you're participating in a tradition that supports local farmers and showcases the best of the season's offerings.

Each stall at the market has its own story, highlighting the commitment of local farmers to provide fresh, high-quality produce. When you select a basket of colorful berries or a robust bunch of tomatoes, you know they were grown nearby and are freshly picked. Talk to the vendors, and they'll share insights about their farming processes and the distinct features of their produce, like the sweetness of their peaches or the crunchiness of their apples.

Visiting Capitol Market offers more than just the chance to buy fresh food; it's an opportunity to connect with your community and understand the importance of sustainable farming. By choosing local products, you're not just feeding your family—you're supporting the livelihoods of the farmers who are the backbone of the agricultural sector.

This experience doesn't only nourish your body with top-notch fruits and vegetables but also enriches your understanding of where your food comes from. It's a step toward more conscious consumption and appreciation for the local land and labor.

Local Artisans Showcased

Discover Local Craftsmanship at Capitol Market

Visit Capitol Market to see an impressive selection of handmade items from local West Virginia artisans. You'll find everything from unique glassware to specialty salts, each showcasing the rich culture and creativity of Charleston's community. This market isn't just a place to shop—it's a vibrant center that connects you with the local heritage and the personal stories of the artisans.

As you walk through the market, you'll see beautiful glass ornaments made by skilled glassblowers and gourmet salts gathered by hand, each product representing the dedication of West Virginia artisans. These items aren't only crafted with care but also embody the traditional skills handed down through generations, now merged with contemporary design.

By purchasing from Capitol Market, you're not just buying a product; you're participating in a cultural exchange and supporting the local economy. Each piece has its unique story, from the initial idea to the finished product, ready to be appreciated in your home.

We recommend checking out the hand-blown glass vases that beautifully capture light and the artisanal salts that can elevate your cooking. These examples illustrate the quality and creativity you can expect from the craftspeople at Capitol Market.

Embrace the opportunity to bring a piece of Charleston's artisan legacy into your life. Your support helps sustain these craftsmakers and ensures the continuation of their art and craft. Enjoy the market and take home something truly special.

Family-Friendly Events

Explore Capitol Market with your family for a delightful blend of culinary treats and fun activities suitable for all ages. Wander through the vibrant stalls where local farmers and artisans showcase their wares. You'll find everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to delicious meats and fragrant flowers, showcasing the best of West Virginia's agricultural offerings.

As you explore, take the opportunity to try some of Capitol Market's varied food options. You might taste fresh sushi, pick out top-quality cheeses, or enjoy a gourmet pizza slice at Lefty's Place. Don't forget to stop by Ellen's Homemade Ice Cream for a range of smooth, rich flavors that appeal to both young children and adults.

Capitol Market is more than just a place to eat; it's a center for family-oriented activities. Visit the Lego station for a hands-on creative session that will keep the children engaged.

With new things to explore during each visit, Capitol Market provides an enriching experience for the entire family every time you come.

Discover Kanawha State Forest

Explore Nature In Charleston

Explore the Beauty of Kanawha State Forest

As you venture into Kanawha State Forest, you and your family will be greeted by a variety of nature trails. These paths are perfect for exploring the vibrant, green landscape. Keep an eye out for the local wildlife; this forest is a wonderful spot to spot native birds and shy animals like deer in their own environment.

Remember to bring a picnic along! The designated picnic areas are ideal for a relaxing break, letting you enjoy a meal surrounded by tranquility after a day full of exploring.

Why Visit?

Visiting Kanawha State Forest isn't just about the scenery; it's a chance to connect with nature and spend quality time with loved ones. The trails are well-maintained and suitable for all ages, making it a great family outing. Plus, engaging with nature can be a refreshing break from the digital world, offering a sense of peace and rejuvenation.

Plan Your Visit

Before heading out, it's a good idea to check the local weather and park announcements. This ensures you have the best experience possible, whether it's sunny and ideal for hiking or a bit chilly—perfect for a brisk walk followed by hot chocolate in the picnic area.

No matter the season, Kanawha State Forest offers a unique escape into nature's embrace.

Explore Nature Trails

Kanawha State Forest is a great destination for families looking to enjoy nature together. It features several nature trails, such as the Spotted Salamander Trail and Hemlock Falls Trail, that are ideal for both kids and adults. These paths offer varying levels of difficulty, ensuring a suitable option for every member of the family, from beginners to more experienced hikers.

Trail Variety: The forest has a wide range of trails, from simple, flat paths to those that include some climbing and obstacles, meeting the needs of different age groups and abilities.

Accessibility: One of the trails is specifically designed to be wheelchair accessible, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the natural beauty of Kanawha.

Interaction with Nature: Children have the chance to engage directly with the environment by wading through creeks or attempting to catch small fish, providing a fun and interactive experience.

Learning Opportunities: As you walk these trails, you'll find information about the local plants and animals, making each hike a learning experience.

Quiet Retreat: Although it's close to the city, Kanawha State Forest serves as a quiet getaway where families can immerse themselves in nature and relax.

When planning your visit, consider these aspects to choose the best trail for your family's interests and fitness levels.

Enjoy your time exploring and connecting with nature at Kanawha State Forest!

Wildlife Watching Opportunities

Kanawha State Forest, located just a short drive from the bustling city center, provides a perfect getaway for families eager to experience wildlife in its natural environment. This forest is a treasure trove of wildlife, from native birds to playful butterflies, offering a serene setting for visitors to connect with nature thoughtfully and quietly.

As you stroll through the forest, be on the lookout for the vibrant birds perched in their natural habitats. Known for its diverse bird population, Kanawha State Forest is an ideal location for those interested in ornithology or bird watching. The sounds of birds chirping and the sight of butterflies flitting provide a peaceful backdrop to your exploration.

The creeks within the forest are bustling with life. Children will delight in wading through the water, where they might spot minnows darting around or frogs blending into the rocky landscape. These experiences aren't just fun—they're educational, too. Each element of Kanawha State Forest teaches visitors about West Virginia's ecosystems in a hands-on way.

Take advantage of these wildlife watching opportunities to discuss conservation with your children, emphasizing the importance of preserving natural habitats. Each visit to Kanawha State Forest isn't only enjoyable but also educational, offering numerous learning opportunities and the chance to create lasting memories.

Family Picnic Areas

After exploring the variety of wildlife, relax at the designated picnic areas in Kanawha State Forest. These locations are ideal for a family outing, complete with the soothing sounds of nature like rustling leaves and flowing creeks. Each site is equipped with tables and grills, so just bring your family and some snacks or a meal.

Here's why you should consider these picnic areas for your next visit:

  • Scenic Views: The area is nestled within a vibrant forest canopy, offering a stunning natural setting for dining outdoors.
  • Wildlife Encounters: Watch for local wildlife that might appear near your picnic spot, which can be a thrilling addition to your day.
  • Recreational Activities: Take advantage of the forest's hiking and nature trails either before or after you eat.
  • Connection with Nature: This setting offers a great opportunity for both kids and adults to take a break from electronic devices and engage with the environment.
  • Relaxing Atmosphere: The calm surroundings are perfect for spending quality time with your family and unwinding together.

The family picnic areas in Kanawha State Forest aren't just beautiful—they're a great way to enjoy a day with your loved ones and make lasting memories. Don't forget to add this spot to your list of must-visit destinations for a fulfilling outdoor experience.

Tour the State Capitol

Visiting the West Virginia State Capitol Building in Charleston offers a unique glimpse into the state's architectural brilliance and historical depth. As you stroll through its expansive halls, you'll discover that the building features nine different types of marble. Each type not only enhances the aesthetic appeal but also showcases the region's geological variety and the skills of local artisans.

As you delve deeper into the State Capitol Complex, you'll find the striking 'Lincoln Walks at Midnight' statue. This artwork stands as a powerful reminder of West Virginia's role during pivotal moments in U.S. history. Positioned against the grand backdrop of the Capitol, it visually represents themes of leadership and societal change.

While the West Virginia State Museum is also located within the same complex, the Capitol building itself is a treasure trove of cultural insights. The architecture and art installations act as practical tools for education, each designed to highlight significant aspects of West Virginia's history. The dome's grandeur and the intricate floor mosaics aren't just decorative. They help narrate the state's historical journey, turning the Capitol into a living classroom where visitors can learn through observation and engagement.

Experience the State Museum

Explore Exhibits And Artifacts

Visit the State Museum in Westville to explore the fascinating history of West Virginia. From the pivotal John Brown's Raid to the state's ongoing developments, this museum is a treasure trove for both history enthusiasts and families looking to learn more about the region.

Interactive Exhibits: Get hands-on with history through touchscreens and interactive activities that make the past come alive.

Historical Artifacts: View actual items that tell the story of West Virginia through the ages.

Educational Programs: Join in on tours and workshops tailored to enhance your understanding of the state's history.

Architectural Marvel: Take in the stunning design of the State Capitol Building, noted for its use of nine different types of marble.

Lincoln Walks at Midnight Statue: Learn about the significance of this famous statue and the historical context behind it.

Each visit to the State Museum is an opportunity to deepen your appreciation for West Virginia's rich heritage. Ideal for history buffs and families alike, the museum offers a comprehensive look at the state's past and its impact today.

Enjoy Downtown Charleston

Downtown Charleston is always bustling with activities that are perfect for families. Walk along Capitol Street and enjoy its lively environment, then head to the riverfront for some scenic views. The Downtown area is known for its beautiful historic homes and a striking gold dome of the Capitol Complex visible in the background.

When you visit Haddad Riverfront Park, you can relax by the river and attend various outdoor concerts and events, many of which are free and specifically designed for families. This park is a fantastic spot to feel the peacefulness of the river without leaving the city center.

Make sure to stop by the Capitol Market. Located in a renovated train depot, this market is a bustling center of local entrepreneurship. Here, you can find everything from fresh produce to handicrafts made in West Virginia. It's more than just a place to shop; it's a vibrant community space that showcases the area's agricultural roots.

Location Activity Feature
Capitol Complex Historical Tours Iconic Gold Dome
Haddad Riverfront Outdoor Concerts Scenic River Views
Capitol Market Shopping & Dining Local Products

This table highlights top attractions in Downtown Charleston, each offering a unique aspect of local culture and history, ideal for a family outing.

As you plan your visit, consider these engaging spots that not only offer fun experiences but also a slice of the local heritage. Whether you're interested in history, shopping, or just enjoying the outdoors, Downtown Charleston has something for everyone.

Walk Capitol Street

Exploring Capitol Street Charm

After a relaxing visit to Haddad Riverfront Park, continue your day with a stroll up Capitol Street. This street is more than just a pathway; it's a vibrant hub of activity perfect for families. Its location near the riverfront means you'll enjoy beautiful views as you explore.

What to Explore on Capitol Street:

  • Creative Mini-Golf: During summer festivals, local shops creatively transform parts of the street into mini-golf courses.
  • Diverse Shops: Whether you're interested in unique local boutiques or familiar retail chains, there's something for everyone.
  • Street Performers: Experience live entertainment from skilled musicians and artists that enhance the street's lively atmosphere.
  • Local Eateries: Try a variety of tasty dishes from the family-friendly restaurants and cafes along the street.
  • Interactive Attractions: Discover hands-on activities and displays that are great for keeping children engaged.

Walking down Capitol Street isn't just a simple stroll; it's an opportunity to immerse yourself in Charleston's dynamic culture. Every step brings a chance to create lasting memories with your family.

Road Trip on Route 60

Explore Route 60: A Road Trip Adventure

Set off on a road trip along Route 60 and discover the stunning landscapes and attractions near West Virginia's capital. This journey offers a unique blend of nature and history, ideal for travelers looking to escape the everyday rush.

First Stop: Kanawha Falls

Begin your adventure at Kanawha Falls, a magnificent waterfall that provides a perfect setting for a family picnic or a photo opportunity. The area is accessible and offers a chance to enjoy the natural surroundings with your loved ones.

Serene Views at Glen Ferris

Continue your drive to Glen Ferris for tranquil views that captivate all who visit. It's a great spot to unwind and take in the beauty of the region.

Cathedral Falls: A Must-Visit

Don't pass up the chance to see Cathedral Falls at Gauley Bridge. This waterfall is renowned for its stunning beauty and provides a serene environment for contemplation and relaxation.

Adventure at Hawks Nest State Park

Your next stop should be Hawks Nest State Park, a highlight of West Virginia's park system. Here, families can enjoy jet boat rides on the New River, offering both thrill and a unique way to see the landscape. The park also has a variety of hiking trails suitable for all skill levels and a visitor center that offers insights into the local ecology and history.

Why Choose This Route 60 Road Trip?

This road trip along Route 60 is more than just a journey; it's an opportunity to connect with nature and learn about the area's rich heritage. Whether you're looking for relaxation or adventure, this route has something for everyone.

Enjoy your trip and make sure to take plenty of photos and create lasting memories on this scenic Route 60 adventure.


Embark on a captivating journey with your kids in Charleston, WV.

The Clay Center presents engaging exhibits that not only entertain but also educate on various topics, making it a perfect spot for curious young minds.

For nature lovers, the Kanawha State Forest is a must-visit with its lush trails that offer both relaxation and a chance to teach your kids about the local flora and fauna.

Make sure to stop by the Capitol Market where you can explore local crafts and foods, providing a taste of regional culture.

A visit to the impressive State Capitol building isn't just about viewing its architecture; it's an opportunity to discuss the workings of our government with your children, making the experience both fun and informative.

The State Museum is another great destination, where you can delve into West Virginia's rich history through well-curated exhibits that bring the past to life.

Each of these spots in Charleston helps families bond over shared discoveries and the joy of learning new things together.

Charleston, WV, offers a diverse array of activities that cater to both kids and adults, making it an ideal location for a family outing.

Whether you're interested in history, nature, or art, there's something here that will catch your eye and create lasting memories.

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