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Preparing for Your School’s Visit

Preparing for Your School’s Visit

Planning a field trip can be an enormous undertaking. The Virginia Living Museum wants your class to have the best visit possible. Below are some things to keep in mind before your trip and while you are here, as well as the answers to some frequently asked questions about a Museum visit.

Teachers Please Note:
If you schedule a visit, you are entitled to reserve a free Teacher Check Out prior to your school’s visit. To set up your check out, please call Reservations at 757-534-7410. When you arrive, make sure that you bring your teacher ID.

Preparing For Your Visit

  • Forward the confirmation to all teachers and staff that will be attending the field trip.
  • If you have scheduled a Program or Lab, review the Teacher Resource Guide for your program for pre-visit information and post-visit activities/questions.
  • Distribute and collect permission slips/payment from students.
  • Discuss field trip with students, including pre-visit classroom activities and rules for the Museum.
  • Assign students to specific chaperones.
  • To make your student’s visit to the Virginia Living Museum more meaningful, print out our grade-oriented Exhibit Guides.
  • Don’t forget to bring pencils!

We encourage teachers to come to the Museum with planned activities related to the exhibits.
If your group is drawing or taking notes in the exhibit halls, please remind students not to use exhibits or exhibit cases as a writing surface.

One month before your visit, the School Group Coordinator will email the lead teacher to re-confirm your field trip.

Before You Leave the School

Count the exact number of students, chaperones, and teachers you are bringing to the Museum.

Make sure chaperones know for which students they will be responsible.

Arrival Procedures

  • Schools should arrive at least 20 minutes before first scheduled program to give time for orientation, payment, restroom breaks and regrouping.
  • We realize that groups may arrive late due to situations beyond their control. If our schedule allows, we will try to accommodate those groups who arrive late so that they still enjoy a full experience.
  • If your group will be significantly late arriving on the date of your trip, please call the Reservations Office at 757-534-7410 as soon as possible.
  • Buses should drive around main parking lot and pull as far forward in front of the museum as possible.
  • Students need to remain seated on the bus until teachers return
  • Museum representatives will board the buses to orient students
  • ALL classroom teachers should check-in with the School Group Coordinator

Lead teacher needs to have:

  • TOTAL number of Students from School
  • TOTAL number of Teachers from School
  • TOTAL number of Staff from School
  • TOTAL number of Free Chaperones (based on total number of student’s brought to the museum)
  • TOTAL number of Parents included in your payment

Check your confirmation package for more.

VLM School Group Coordinator Will Provide

  • Maps of the museum specifically for each Teacher.
  • If registered for a program, meeting location and times written on map.
  • Maps of the museum for Chaperones.
  • Adult admission stickers (counted out and distributed based on numbers provided by Lead Teacher).
  • Stickers must be worn visible on chest.
  • Any adults with school group not wearing an admission sticker will be asked to pay at the front desk.
  • If we are billing your school, we will bill for adults based on the number of admission stickers provided to you.
  • Lead teacher will go into the front desk to make final payment and get receipt.


Final payment for admission is due in the form of a single payment. We accept cash, American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa and school-issued checks made payable to The Virginia Living Museum. If necessary, we can bill the school after your visit.
We discourage pre-payment as student numbers are likely to change on the date of visit due to illness, appointments, etc.

Classroom Programs

  • Please meet your program instructors at the specified meeting locations FIVE MINUTES BEFORE your scheduled program time.
  • If you are running behind, please send a representative to let the instructor know that the group is on its way.
  • Parts of your program may be cut to accommodate lost program time.
  • Parents are NOT guaranteed a seat in the program.
  • Siblings are NOT allowed into the program.

Museum Rules

  • Respect others in your group and other museum visitors
  • Respect Animals & Habitats
  • Use indoor voices
  • If an animal is touched during a program or at the Touch Pool, please wash hands or use hand sanitizer
  • Walk in the museum—no running
  • No climbing on exhibits
  • Keep hands out of the fish tanks
  • No food or drink outside of designated picnic areas
  • Students are not permitted to carry backpacks/large bags in the museum
  • Teachers and chaperones MUST stay with their groups at all times
  • For the safety and enjoyment of all visitors, disruptive or unsafe behavior will not be permitted and may result in the entire group being asked to leave without a refund

Museum Store

Students are welcome in the Wild Things Museum Store, as long as they are accompanied and closely supervised by the adults. Adults should assist students in making sure they have enough money for their purchases.
Limit of 5 students per school at a time.
Pre-packaged gift bags are available for school groups when reserved in advance.
The Wild Things Museum Store carries a wide variety of fun and educational science and nature items, including a selection of useful teacher resource materials.


Four outdoor picnic areas are conveniently located on the Museum grounds, one of which is covered and three are shaded. There are NO eating facilities for school groups inside the Museum (including Café.)
Please make alternate plans for rainy days. Large groups may want to picnic at nearby Deer Park where tables and shelters are available on a first-come, first-served basis until 4pm weekdays.
No outside food is permitted inside the museum, including the café.

Changes and Cancellations

If for any reason you need to change or cancel your program, please notify us at least two weeks in advance so that we can make programs and activities available to other groups.


A student’s family has a membership to the Virginia Living Museum; do they have to pay for their field trip?

Family memberships are only valid for Self Guided Visits and the parent must attend the field trip with their child.
For classroom/planetarium programs, students are charged for the program itself and the Self Guided Visit is free.

Rain is expected on the day of our field trip, can we eat in the Museum?

Unfortunately, there are no indoor eating facilities available at the Virginia Living Museum. In case of inclement weather we recommend eating on the bus, back at school or around the corner at Deer Park where tables and shelters are available on a first-come, first-served basis until 4pm weekdays.

Our school has reserved boxed lunches and gift bags, can we pay for these with our admission check?

Payment for admission, gift bags and boxed lunches MUST be split out into separate checks as the Virginia Living Museum, Wild Things Museum Store and Wild Side Café are separate businesses.

Contract Schools

The Museum has contracts with the following school systems to provide pre-paid science programs: Newport News and Gloucester. Teachers in these school systems should contact the Museum to determine the specific programs available to them.

Facility Information


The Museum is located at 524 J. Clyde Morris Blvd., Newport News, two miles off I-64 at exit 258-A. It is about 30 minutes from Williamsburg and Norfolk.

Hours of Operation

The Museum is open from 9am to 5pm daily.


There is plenty of free parking for buses and motor coaches.