Find wild adventure during West Virginia family vacations

There's a reason why West Virginia's state motto is, "Wild and Wonderful." Just steps from West Virginia family resorts you can visit local zoos to see exotic animals. You can head for outdoor adventure resorts. You can visit museums dedicated to a local cryptid, or learn about the history of coal mining at a living history museum.

Whether you want to walk a catwalk 700 feet above the ground or you just want to relax and be pampered, your family vacations in West Virginia will offer a world of adventure. Check out some of the memorable experiences you can have in this wild and wonderful state.

Have an animal experience

1. See lions and tigers at the West Virginia Zoo

The West Virginia Zoo in Kingwood offers all the expected critters from big cats to bears and hundreds of other exotic creatures. Here you can see pygmy goats, miniature donkeys, and Russian wild boars, among others. Many of the zoo critters are hands-on and you can experience feeding a young giraffe, meet baby kangaroos, and even play with actual lion cubs.

Few things to do with kids in West Virginia will draw smiles on the faces of your little ones like a hands-on animal experience. This is a great option for families with kids of just about any age.

2. See African Wild Dogs and Red Pandas at The Good Zoo

Located within Oglebay Resort, the Good Zoo offers over 200 exotic animals representing more than 50 species, with a lot of beautiful and unusual creatures. Here you can see adorable red pandas, gorgeous African wild dogs, rare poison dart frogs, and many others. The zoo is dedicated to education and preservation and is divided into different ecological regions.

While you're here you can travel the Wonders of the Wetlands, the Australian Outback, the Lorikeet Landing, and many other interesting exhibits. Many of the creatures you'll see here are exotic and rare and are sure to leave an impression.

Try an outdoor adventure

3. Hit the heated outdoor pool at Black Bear Resort

Black Bear Resort in Davis is a place where outdoor recreation isn't just an attraction, it's a way of life. Where West Virginia family resorts are concerned, there's plenty to do here to keep everyone entertained and occupied. You can tread miles of hiking and biking trails, play sports, visit the fish ponds, and even go for a swim in an outdoor heated pool.

It's all in the heart of the rugged West Virginia wilderness just steps away from wildlife refuges, iconic rock formations, and state parks. You can go whitewater rafting or take a train ride through the serene wildlife terrain.

4. Try extreme adventures at Opossum Creek Retreat

When you choose Opossum Creek Retreat for your family vacation in West Virginia, you're getting over 70,000 acres of unspoiled forest and nature to explore. This place also offers a wide range of extreme adventures. You can soar over the ground on one of the many zip lines or walk over the New River Gorge on a catwalk over 800 feet above the ground.

Between adventures, you can relax in a cozy rural cabin in the heart of the woods. You can head for nearby Fayetteville and explore the quirky independent shops, arts and cultural community, great dining, or just enjoy getting away from it all for a while.

Explore history and museums

5. Learn about creepy cryptids at the Mothman Museum

The Mothman is West Virginia's very own cryptid, or mythological creature, and Point Pleasant's Mothman Museum offers an eccentric and quirky tribute to this strange creature with its glowing red eyes that haunted the area in 1966. The Mothman became famous all over the nation and was even featured in a major motion picture in 2002.

While this particular museum is a bit outside the box, it's still one of the more fun and interesting family attractions in West Virginia. You'll see creepy models of the creature, ephemera, and even movie props from the film.

6. Visit the Expedition Coal Mine

Your family vacation in West Virginia will really thrill the kids when they get to take a ride into Expedition Coal Mine, a real coal mine, and hear interesting stories from real miners about what it's like to live life in a subterranean area. Be sure to dress warm because it stays 58 degrees in this mine all year long.

Above the mine, you can visit a recreated historic coal town with real historic buildings. You can see a coal company house, a miner's shanty, and other shops and businesses. Kids can visit a special youth museum on site that showcases both cultural and natural history exhibits.

7. Walk the past at the Heritage Farm Museum and Village

Heritage Farm Museum and Village is a visit through the past of West Virginia. This restored colonial town is a living history museum populated by costumed actors who live life the way people did in the earliest days of Appalachian settlements. You can learn from a blacksmith or watch a baker make bread.

See a one-room schoolhouse, a restored colonial church, and tons of more traditional museum attractions. Check out ephemera, exhibits, and artifacts that paint a clear picture of what life was like here hundreds of years ago.