There's a place in Virginia where you can come into contact with more wildlife in one day than you'd ever encounter during an ordinary ol' nature hike.
The Virginia Living Museum (524 J. Clyde Morris Blvd., Newport News, Va.) has 250+ species of (living) animals on display, including many that are on the endangered list, e.g. the red wolf, bald eagle and loggerhead sea turtle.
No pandas though. Sorry. Nope.
The museum is also chock full of activities like outdoor/indoor exhibits, a planetarium, special events and outdoor gardens. Labs and uber-local safaris are also a popular activity.
During the holidays (through Dec. 31), you can learn about the Magi and the Star of Bethlehem's "mystery" at the Abbitt Planetarium. Both are laser shows enjoyed with festive music (daytime shows $4).
The museum has provided natural and space science education to more than two million students since 1987. It's also endorsed by the U.S. Dept. of Education and National Science Foundation.
Hours are Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sun. noon-5 p.m.