Top 6 Page County Activities to Enthrall Future Scientists
Do you have a future scientist in the house? If you have one, you know what I’m talking about. They’re the kid that loves to take things apart just to put them back together again. They boast an endless collection of rocks and are always on hand to catch a bug or a lizard. They love to know why and how things work. Nurturing this curiosity is not only fun for your future scientists, but can help them do well in school and set them up for a bright future.
There’s nowhere better than Page County to encourage and enthrall a future scientist while having fun with the whole family. Plan your trip today and don’t miss these six activities:
- Explore Luray Caverns
Discovered in 1878, the Luray Caverns boast cathedral-sized rooms with ceilings 10-stories high featuring towering stone formations around every corner. Future scientists will learn about speleothems including stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone and columns. They’ll also get to experience Leland Sprinkle’s invention: the Great Stalacpipe Organ. Over three years beginning in 1956, Sprinkle created a lithophone from 37 naturally formed stalactites within Luray Caverns. He then shaved them to create specific notes and wired a rubber mallet for each stalactite that is activated by pressing an associated key on the instrument’s keyboard. Music from the organ can be heard throughout Luray Caverns 64 acres.
- Hike in Shenandoah National Park and George Washington National Forest
Shenandoah National Park and George Washington National Forest are brimming with opportunities to explore the natural sciences. Learn about geology from the mountain ranges throughout Shenandoah National Park or get to know the 40 species of trees and more than 2,000 species of shrubs and plants in the George Washington National Forest. In both the park and the forest, you’ll encounter wildlife to peak future biologists’ curiosity, from white-tailed deer to black bears, a wide variety of migratory and resident birds, box turtles, salamanders, butterflies and hundreds more species.
Visit the Harry F. Byrd, Sr. Visitor Center to learn more about Shenandoah National Park through a range of exhibits and historical films. While you’re there, enroll your future scientist in the National Park Service’s Junior Ranger program to receive a list of learning activities to do at the park. Once complete, they’ll receive an official Junior Ranger patch and certificate. Then check out the Town of Luray’s Junior Naturalists Program for even more activities and to learn more about protecting our natural treasures.
- Enjoy the Luray Zoo
Want to get a better view of the wildlife and learn more about their habitats, diets and activities? Head over to the Luray Zoo. This rescue zoo is home to more than 100 exhibits of reptiles, primates, felines, birds, and mammals, all of which are either retired zoo animal ambassadors, retired zoo animals from conservation programs, unwanted pets, confiscations, and sadly occasionally abused animals. The zoo is home to one of the largest venomous snake collections on the east coast. In addition to visiting each animal exhibit, you’ll be treated to zookeeper talks, demonstrations, and even a petting zoo where you can get up close and feed the animals.
- Visit the Luray Car and Carriage Museum and Shenandoah Heritage Village
For the future mechanical scientist, there can be no better place than the Car and Carriage Museum (besides perhaps the Luray Train Museum, next on our list). Check out the 1897 Mercedes-Benz, one of the oldest cars in America that’s still in operating condition. Learn about the long history of electric vehicles and the challenges overcome and improvements made to arrive where we are today when you see the 1908 Baker Electric. And just for fun, see an indulgent 1925 Rolls Royce. This museum is located on the grounds of Luray Caverns and is included in the admission price, offering future scientists a full day of learning.
While you’re there, visit the neighboring Shenandoah Heritage Village to infuse your love of science with a little history. You’ll see historic items dating all the way back to pre-contact Native people’s and get to explore a local recreation of a 19th century farming community typical to this area and spread over 7 acres of the park grounds.
- Discover the Page County Railway Museum
Located in the former Norfolk & Western train depot and adjacent to the Luray Visitors Center, this museum charts the history and development of locomotion in Page County. The depot itself was constructed in 1906 and designed by N&W’s chief engineer, Charles S. Churchill. Inside the museum, you’ll learn about the history and construction of the trains and railroads, including a scale layout of the Norfolk & Western tracks and depots throughout Page County.
- Fish and Kayak the South Fork of the Shenandoah River
For future physicists, what better way to learn Newton’s second and third laws of motion than through kayaking? Bring the concepts of force, energy, torque and buoyancy to life by paddling the south fork of the Shenandoah River. Navigate to a prime fishing hole, and experience angular momentum and rotational energy by casting a line. When you get a bite, future scientists will truly understand drag as they reel in the fish. Then, return to a little biology and see if you can identify the taxonomy of your catch. The river is home to the greatest density of smallmouth bass of any river in Virginia alongside largemouth bass, carp, musky and more.
Where to Stay
There’s too much great science to explore in just one day, but there are plenty of great places to stay in Page County that will keep your future scientist engaged. Skyland Resort and Big Meadows Lodge offer hotel accommodations within Shenandoah National Park while the Luray Caverns Motel lets you sleep just steps away from all of the attractions at the caverns. Get even closer to nature with cabins and campgrounds throughout Shenandoah National Park, the George Washington National Forest and the surrounding Page County. Many are situated on the Shenandoah River or high in the Blue Ridge Mountains, so you’ll be surround by the natural sciences.
Page County is where future scientists are encouraged and ignited. We make science fun for the whole family. So pack a bag and plan your trip. There’s lots to explore.
- Luray Caverns
- Great Stalacpipe Organ
- Shenandoah National Park
- George Washington National Forest
- Harry F. Byrd, Sr. Visitor Center
- National Park Service Junior Rangers
- Town of Luray Junior Naturalists
- Luray Zoo
- Car and Carriage Museum
- Shenandoah Heritage Village
- Page County Railway Museum
- South Fork of the Shenandoah River
Where to Stay