While Morgantown, West Virginia is known as the home of West Virginia University, there are families that live in and around town all year round. Although many places cater to the college crowd, here are eight places that offer great activities for the whole family.
West Virginia University Planetarium & Observatory
Because WVU is the state’s largest university, Morgantown
benefits from many of its amenities of the. The free shows at the WVU College of Arts and Sciences planetarium are the perfect way to introduce kids to the stars, planets, and space. Check out the observatory’s telescope on the same nights at the planetarium shows, which is also open to the public and free, but be sure to make reservations.
Adventure WV Outdoor Recreation Center
Developed as part of WVU’s outdoor education degree programs, the Adventure WV Center is the perfect place to try outdoor adventures close to town. The zip-lining course, high-ropes challenge course, and rock-climbing experiences are all open to the general public, and school classes can also book trips to the center. You’ll get to try these experiences at beginner level, and then next time maybe head out to more adventurous places nearby, such as Coopers Rock State Forest.
Coopers Rock State Forest
This iconic state forest is a great place to get outdoors around Morgantown
. There is an easy, all-ages walk to the overlook of Cheat River Gorge, plus multiple playgrounds for younger kids. The hikes and mountain bike rides also range from easy to hard, and can be enjoyed by the whole family.
Hazel Ruby McQuain Riverfront Park
Check out the amphitheater in Hazel Ruby McQuain Riverfront Park during the summer months to watch free movies during the Movies on the Mon series and music at the Sounds of Summer Concert series. The park is easily accessible from downtown and restaurants are also close by.
Mon River Trail
The Hazel Ruby McQuain Riverfront Park is the starting point for the Caperton Rail-Trail, part of the Mon River Trails
rail-to-trail network. From downtown, you can pedal north or south and enjoy views of the arboretum, Morgantown, and the mountains surrounding the city. Along the trail, there are benches and picnic tables to stop off for a rest and snack.
Suburban Bowling Lanes on the north side of Morgantown near the football stadium is the perfect place to head for an indoor activity on a cold or rainy day. On Sundays, games are reduced price and shoe rentals are free, and on Tuesdays you can bowl for just $2 a game.
Hovatter’s Wildlife Zoo
About 35 minutes east of Morgantown is Hovatter’s Wildlife Zoo, which has one of the biggest collections of wildlife in the state. They are only open seasonally from April to October, and feature 30 exotic species of wildlife including tigers, leopards, lemurs, and giraffes. Take a day-trip out to the zoo with the whole family and explore wildlife you won’t see anywhere else in the state.
South of downtown Morgantown is White Park, a 170-acre space with playgrounds, baseball fields, and five miles (eight kilometers) of hiking trails, offering outdoor activities at any level. The park is also home to the Morgantown Ice Arena
. The arena hosts public skate sessions, family fun days, and local hockey teams.