The West Virginia Department of Culture and History operates six museums, all of which are free to the public. They offer information and exhibits relating to the history of the state, as well as its culture and predictions for its future. Some museums are primarily indoors, while others are outside, like the Grave Creek Mound Archeological Complex and the Museum in the Park. Check the websites before you go -- most museums are closed at least one day of the week.
Locations: Charleston, Wheeling, Moundsville, Clifftop, Lesage, Logan
Carnifex Ferry Battlefield is one of many important Civil War battlefield sites throughout the state. This one has been made into a state park, and is complete with a museum -- the Patterson House -- located next to the battlefield. Entry to the park is free, and if you call ahead there's a good chance you'll get a guided tour for no charge.
Location: 1194 Carnifex Ferry Road, Summersville, West Virginia, 26651
Blenko Glass Company does make functional glassware, but they're famous for their hand-blown creations. Stop by on almost any day of the week for a free glass-making demonstration, and then stop by the gift shop to check out the beauties available for purchase. Check the website or call before you go, because their demonstration hours vary by season.
Location: 9 Bill Blenko Drive, Milton, West Virginia, 25541
This fish hatchery ships healthy trout eggs to hatcheries all over the United States. They also raise mussels, a species that is threatened due to pollution, and release them in the wild after improving their habitats. They offer free tours to the public, so you can see what they do and how you can help. The tours are usually through the week during business hours, and you have to call at least a week ahead of time to ensure someone is available to show you around.
Location: 400 E. Main St., White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, 24986
You'll never find another playground like Ritter Park. While you're here, your kids can dig for dinosaurs, explore a castle, ride a mini zip line, play a bongo and watch a water show. You can easily spend a whole afternoon here, or pack a picnic lunch and stay the whole day!
Location: 13th Ave., Huntington, West Virginia, 25701
The Huntington Museum of Art does normally charge a small admission fee, but it's free for kids from kindergarten through fifth grade every Saturday, from 1-3 p.m. Drop your child off or stick around and watch as they have fun creating a new art and craft project every week. This program takes place all year long.
Location: 2033 McCoy Road, Huntington, West Virginia, 25701
Moms, this place is for you. The International Mother's Day Shrine is an entire museum dedicated to honoring mothers everywhere. The spot was chosen because the founders of Mother's Day were raised just down the road from the shrine. That history is told through exhibits in the museum. The museum is only open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Location: 11 E. Main St., Grafton, West Virginia, 26354
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