Living History Museum, courtesy Newport News CVB
At the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News, fauna and flora tell the story of the state’s natural wonders.
There’s a cypress swamp with alligators and free-flying birds, a 30,000-gallon aquarium and a boardwalk through the woods where river otters, bald eagles and wolves live.
Nature is also part of meeting spaces such as a lake-view deck. After-hours functions can fill fascinating indoor galleries. At a rooftop-patio cocktail party, guests can see stars through a telescope. A new Conservation Garden has an amphitheater and a waterfall.
For daytime corporate meetings, the museum offers animal shows during breakouts. In one team-building option, a handler stuffs a cantaloupe with turkey feathers and puts it in a bobcat’s cage. The animal stalks it, catches it and pulls the feathers out, playing in the process.
“We all get tired of going to the office every day,” said Jennifer Turlington, event and tourism manager. “This activity shows a group the importance of shaking up the routine and making it fun, to alleviate complacency. Coming here is like a grown-up field trip.”