A History of Fun
The observance of the county’s history is a common theme to many parks. History buffs can visit Henricus, the recreated 1611 city of “firsts,” located on the James River. Here, Pocahontas married John Rolfe, tobacco was first cultivated in the New World, and the first American hospital, Mount Malady, was established. Annual events such as “Henricus Comes Alive,” “Harvest Time,” and the “James River Parade of Lights and 17th Century Christmas” are a must.
The county’s coal mining history is interpreted at Midlothian Mines Park. Midlothian was the home to the first coal mines in the United States, and today its village still harkens back to the past with an array of antique shops.
Various Revolutionary War and Civil War sites are located in the county, including Drewry’s Bluff where the Confederate Naval Academy was located on the James River. Here, earthworks still remain, and visitors have a cannoneer’s-eye view of the river where a Union raid on Richmond was repulsed in May 1862.
Examples of exciting architecture beckon visitors and residents alike. Magnolia Grange is an 1822 Federal-style plantation house that sits across from the historic 1917 courthouse. Tours are available at the lovely plantation home listed as a Virginia Historic Landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places.
Eppington, a plantation owned by Thomas Jefferson’s brother-in-law, Francis Epps, is another historical landmark. Jefferson visited there often, and historians believe one of his daughters is buried there.
Visitors can also visit Chesterfield County Museum, a replica of the county’s original 1749 courthouse with collections including everything from pre-historic fossils to 20th-century items. The Old Jail, built in 1862, was used for 70 years, and today is part of the museum complex, housing historical exhibits including Police and Fire Department equipment.
For the Adventurous
The Metro Richmond Zoo features more than 600 exotic animals such as lions, tigers, warthogs, giraffes, penguins and more displayed in spacious, natural habitats. The giraffe feeding station is a favorite and the Safari Skyride chair lift provides visitors with an aerial view. A new nocturnal exhibit features bats and sloths.
NASCAR runs every Friday night at the toughest short track in the South– Southside Speedway. Races are held from April to September at the 1/3 mile asphalt oval track which has been in operation for more than 50 years.
The IceZone is the area’s only year-round indoor ice-skating facility. Public skate sessions, group and figure skating lessons are available. The forum also offers hockey and pickup hockey sessions.
The region is home to several professional sports teams. Two major amusement parks are both less than one hour’s drive from Chesterfield. The coastal beaches at Virginia Beach and the famed Blue Ridge Mountains are each about a two-hour drive from the county, all underscoring the convenience of a Chesterfield County location for both work and leisure pursuits.