Take your wild child out for some activities in Roanoke.

Fun Activities for Kids Around Roanoke, VA

by Amy Sutton

Is your little sweetie pie being not so sweet? If your toddler or preschooler is getting himself into mischief, he is probably bored. It's time for you both to get out of the house for a change of scenery. Roanoke, Virginia, nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains and Allegheny Mountains, has a fantastic choice of activities for you and your little man.

1. Classes

Sign your little one up for a class to keep her busy. Miss Mona's School of Dance and Performing Arts (missmonas.com), just 5 minutes away in Vinton, offers Tiny Tots Ballet for 2 1/2- to 3 1/2-year-olds and Preschool Ballet for 4- to 5-year-olds. Your cutie can do some acting at the Preschool Theatre Variety Camp offered through Roanoke Children's Theatre (roanokechildrenstheatre.org). This class is offered during the summer. Let your princess give gymnastics a try at the Roanoke Academy of Gymnastics (roanokegymnastics.net). There's a "parent and tot" class for your toddler or a preschool class. Kiddos work on skills like rolling, swinging, jumping and other basic skills in an entertaining environment.

2. Parks and Recreation

In addition to standard fare such as soccer and basketball, Roanoke's parks and recreation department (roanokeva.gov) offers Preschool Nature Mornings for kids 2 to 5. This class includes stories, crafts and songs at the Mill Mountain Discovery Center (no website; 2000 J.B. Fishburn Parkway, Roanoke; 540-853-1236). Get your bundle of energy outside to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine at one of Roanoke's 60 parks. There are several parks with playgrounds designed specifically for toddlers and preschoolers, including Strauss Park (no website; Westside Blvd. NW, Roanoke; 540-853-2000) and Eureka Park (no website; Eureka Circle NW, Roanoke; 540-853-2000). Go for a walk together or bring your little man's bike along for a ride on one of Roanoke's greenways (greenways.org). The Roanoke River Greenway is ideal for a bike ride and goes from Franklin Road to Elm Avenue. Make a game of it and see who can spot the most wildlife along the way.

3. Indoor Activities

Is the weather too cold and dreary for playing outside? No worries; there is still plenty to do inside. Pop in for some bouncing fun at the open jump times at Jump Roanoke (jumproanoke.com). This indoor inflatable center has five inflatables to jump in, a slide and an obstacle course. You can also attend Pop-In Playtime at Pump It Up (pumpitupparty.com). This special play time is only for kiddos 2 to 6 and gives your little sweetie an opportunity to play with other kids her age in a safe, clean environment. Head over to the South County Library (roanokecountyva.gov) for storytime with stories, crafts and silly songs.

4. Museum and Zoo

Plan a day of exploring at the Science Museum of Western Virginia (smwv.org). The 4,000-square-foot facility is home to all sorts of exciting, hands-on learning activities and exhibits. Check out the Children's Discovery Zone, an area for preschoolers, with engaging exhibits to teach your little man about science, math and technology. He'll love stepping into the Butterfly Habitat and having butterflies flutter around him. You can have a wild time with your little animal at the Mill Mountain Zoo (mmzoo.org). Pretend you're on safari as you make your way through the zoo looking for snow leopards, a red wolf and the masked lapwing. Your preschooler would have a blast going to the Mill Mountain Zoo Camp in the spring and summer. He could get up close and personal with animals and meet the zookeepers.

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