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Programs for Adults

Learning can be a life-long adventure. Join Virginia Living Museum staff biologists, naturalists and scientists to explore the natural world in special adult-oriented programs. Each activity-oriented program is presented in a relaxed, hands-on format and includes classroom instruction combined with opportunities to examine specimens from the Museum’s extensive collections and up close encounters with live animals. Come and share a journey of discovery with others who have an enthusiastic desire to continue to learn about the natural world of Virginia and beyond.

Advance registration is required for many programs. For more information or to make a reservation, call the Reservations Coordinator, at 757-595-9135, Monday-Friday, 9am-4:30pm.

Naturally Speaking – April 18

Salt Marshes, Ghost Forests, and Sea Level Rise

Speaker:  Dr. Matt Kirwan, Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Salt marshes are simultaneously among the most valuable and vulnerable ecosystems on Earth, and an important part of the Chesapeake Bay’s cultural and environmental legacy. Sea level rise rates in the mid-Atlantic are twice as fast as the global average. Some marshes are fighting back by rapidly building their soil up to higher elevations and invading dying “ghost forests,” while other marshes are rapidly deteriorating. Join Dr. Matt Kirwan, Assistant Professor at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, to learn about how salt marshes and coastal forests are faring in the Chesapeake region and beyond.

Sponsored by:


Time: 6:30-8pm

Cost: Free, but please register in advance.

Register Now

Naturally Speaking – May 2

Turning Blooms to Butterflies

Speaker:  Steve McCurdy; Butterfly Society of VA

 A season of blooming flowers is just ahead, and along with it, the reappearance of butterflies – the one insect that everyone wants invading their gardens! The Butterfly Society of Virginia will help you understand and get the most out of this pleasant invasion with expert information about butterfly species, life cycles, habitat and food preferences, threats to populations, and more. Bring your curiosity and questions to this evening that will celebrate color on the wing!

Sponsored by:


Time: 6:30-8pm

Cost: Free, but please register in advance.

Register Now

Wildlife Photography 101 – May 20

Are you using a digital camera and enjoy photographing in the outdoors, have a good eye and that wildlife photo did not turn out right, then this seminar is for you.  The course is primarily for upper beginners or serious hobbyists, who wish to take their wildlife/nature photography to the next level and own something more than a point and shoot camera.  Class segments will concentrate on wildlife photography by teaching the fundamentals (how the digital camera works, memory cards, appropriate equipment, megapixels, aperture/depth of field, composition) and advanced techniques of digital photography (histogram interpretation, use of ISO, Autofocus, light compensation, metering,  required shutter speeds, tools of the trade). Specific concentration will portray “how to get the shot” using different wildlife photo scenarios.

This is a three-segment seminar.  Part one, will be classroom instruction.  Part two, will be a short field session with students taking photographs within the museum grounds of live animals and applying taught classroom essentials.  Part three, will be back in the classroom to review captured images and applying a digital workflow using Adobe Photoshop.  At the conclusion of this course students will have an understanding of the basic operations of their camera, understand photography terminology, what it takes for a good wildlife photograph for both printing/web and tips to becoming a semi-pro photographer.

Requirements: Digital camera and camera manual.  Knowing what camera buttons do and where they are located and having a tripod would be helpful.

Instructor: Ken Conger

After a rewarding career as a Virginia game warden and Alaska park ranger, Ken has carried his motivation and enthusiasm for wildlife protection over to his passion of wildlife photography. He has attained both a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degree.  Ken’s interest in photography began at a young age.  Wildlife photography has always been his concentration. The majority of his images utilize available early morning and late afternoon light to capture the natural color and beauty of wildlife. His photographs are primarily taken within National Parks and Fish & Wildlife Refuges and strictly of wild animals within six of the seven continents. His annual treks to remote locations are to be inspired, obtain unique images, and hopefully to educate as well as encourage viewers to connect with nature as well as consider conservation.  A published author and award winning photographer (National Wildlife Federation, National Parks Competition, Sony International Photography Contest, Popular Photography Contest), receiving “Best in Show” within art festivals, Ken’s images have adorned a number of magazine covers and in numerous nature calendars. A wildlife photographer professional since 2010, Ken currently teaches wildlife photography through full day classes and private lessons, leads international photo tours and participates in art festivals along the east coast.

Age: 18 and above.

Time: 9am – 4:30pm

Cost: $155

Register Now






Naturally Speaking Summer Family Series – June 1

Hummingbird Haven

Speaker:  Kristin and Gregory Millslagle, Owners of Wild Birds Unlimited Yorktown

Join Kristin and Gregory as they discuss how to turn your backyard into a “Hummingbird Haven.” They will walk families through the steps of creating a backyard that attracts hummingbirds and they will have products that can help families in building their backyard paradise.  There will also be an educational hands on activity.

Horticulture is also propagating Red Bee Balm and possibly other plants that attract Hummingbirds and they will be placed in planters and available for Museum donation so families can start their Hummingbird Haven.

Sponsored by:



Cost: No added fee for program after museum admission, advance registration required.

Member admission will be verified on the day of the visit.  Non-member admission will be collected on the day of the visit ($20 per adult, $15 per child, ages 3 – 12, and ages 2 and under are free).