Another delightful post from the Hayes family as they work on their goal to visit all of our First Landing State Park.
As we weaved and waved through traffic, you quickly realized that you are indeed reaching Virginia’s most visited park. First Landing is located on the eastern coast south of Norfolk. As we pulled up to the park we asked the ranger about the location of the surprise for my son. The ranger smiled and directed us to the area off of the visitor center. My son whined about us not telling him what the surprise was but when he saw the pirate encampment he lit up. One day I will realize that encampments are really just that and stop expecting a huge display.
My daughter's fear of men in costume re-emerged as we approach the encampment. She stood about 20 feet back as my son and husband gravitated to the weapons display. As the pirate spoke to them I went over to the treasure and navigation display. Another pirate (one not so scary looking) beckoned my daughter over with the pretty sparkling jewels. She finally approached but stayed firmly behind me. The pirate handed her a plastic golden doubloon and started to tell us about the equipment found on a ship. Mommy was fascinated with the different tools while the two little girls stared at the jewels. My son came up to see what we were looking at and the pirate started to talk about the "booty" found on a pirate ship. Now anyone who has ever been around a 6 year old can imagine the snickering and questions about "booty".
After the pirates we went in search of the kiosk to get our Trail Master password. The kiosk was down so we went inside the visitor center to ask them. The lady manning the center was another great example of the wonderful people the park system has volunteering for them. She did not know the password, but instead of brushing us off she called around until she found someone who knew it. She then wrote is down on a sticky note, which I am glad she did because there is no way I could spell that on my own.
Since we were at the visitor center we decided to look around. I love this center. It was designed with kids in mind. They have an area that is super kid friendly which allows the parents to browse the educational portion without fear that their kids are going to break something.
We left the center in search of our treasure, the 75th anniversary geo-cache. Just a note to anyone looking for this cache. The shifting of sand will make the cache appear to be in the water on your unit. We did not know what was going on so my husband headed back the visitor center and the lady explained this to him and off we went.
After finding the treasure and a random egg left over from Easter, we flew a kite and let the kids play in the water. The beach was pretty packed, which amazed me since the weather was nice but cool. I can only imagine what it will look like come summer. The kids had a blast and we had to go back to the car to change clothes before we hiked a trail.
Another interesting thing about the First Landing Park is it is actually 2 sides. The north (I believe that is right) has the visitor center and the beach. The south side has the camping areas and trails. Both sides were hopping but there was enough parking and everyone was friendly.
One thing I have to remember that the volunteer told me from the visitor center was to come back in the winter when your kid is studying American History. The cabins then are lower priced and some of them have fireplaces, they all have central heat. Overall this was definitely a park worth visiting. I do enjoy the smaller less crowded parks, but this one does have some beautiful views, great facilities, and wonderful people working there.