With the arrival of Spring and sunny, warm weather, I am reminded of all the fun things the museum has to offer outside of the building (especially as my office is rather chilly). It seems as though a lot of people don’t already know this, but the museum owns 550 acres of property, including the Noland Trail and Lake Maury. Part of the vision of our founder, Archer Huntington, was to create an outside space for the public to be able to enjoy along with the museum. Lake Maury was created by constructing a dam (the Lion’s Bridge) near the James River.
Many people in our community are very familiar with Lion’s Bridge as it is a frequently visited area. I mean, what’s not to love? There are a few places to sit down and enjoy beautiful weather while also getting great views of the James River and Lake Maury while the majestic lions stand guard. Every November festive wreaths are placed around the necks of the lions to help bring in the Holidays, which has become a popular event in the community. As for the history of the lions, they were sculpted by the museum’s founder’s wife, Anna Hyatt Huntington (click HERE to learn more about her), ca 1932.
Anna was a very talented sculptress and the lions weren’t the only works of art she contributed to our wonderful museum grounds. Just up the hill at the end of the Lion’s Bridge is another statue by her called Taming the Wild. It pays tribute to Collis Potter Huntington, Archer’s father and the man who helped turn Newport News into a city by starting the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company (today known as Huntington Ingalls Industries) and bringing the railroad to our area.
Besides walking the Noland Trail (which is about 5 miles long), it is sometimes nice to just come and sit on one of the benches throughout the park and enjoy the beauty of nature (sometimes I like to do this on my lunch break). There is plenty of wildlife to enjoy including our ducks, geese, turtles, hawks, osprey, bald eagles and if you’re around at the right time, deer. I’ve even seen a fox on a couple of occasions!
If you’re looking for some fun family activities this summer, look no further! Starting April 19, we will begin renting boats out, mostly for fishing but they can also be fun if you just want to spend some time on the water. Click HERE for more information about the boat rentals. Also, starting in June we have our popular Thursdays by the Lake concert series featuring some great local artists. This is held right outside the front entrance of the museum every Thursday and is a free event, although you should bring some money because there are always vendors with yummy food and drinks. You can click HERE to see a list of the bands that will be playing.
Another fun activity for families (mostly for the children though) is a little play area next to our parking lot where there is a wooden ship for children to play on. I have played in it and can say that is is quite a lot of fun! It’s also really nice to see children having such a wonderful time in the park.
There is a lot more I can say about the park and what will be coming to it, but I think I will save that for another entry. For more information on the Trail and Park you can click HERE.