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There are so many ways to spend your days in Chesapeake. The potential for fun is tremendous, whether you are the outdoor, adventurous type, or you're looking for culture, art, and shopping opportunities. Plus, there are always great festivals and events happening here, no matter what time of the year you visit.
The largest portion of the Great Dismal Swamp lies within the boundaries of Chesapeake. This 111,000-acre wildlife refuge offers hiking, biking, bird watching, and more to its visitors. The city also has 10 scenic parks, including the 763-acre Northwest River Park, where you can get in touch with your "wild side." The South Chesapeake loop of the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail takes explorers along the city's slowly rambling rivers, through thick woodlands, and into lowlands rife with wild creatures and birdsong. Thirty miles of waterways make Chesapeake a pleasure boater's paradise, particularly since the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway passes through the city along the eastern edge of the Great Dismal Swamp, providing watercraft travel all the way from Boston to Key West. In fact, Chesapeake has more miles of deepwater canals than any other city in the nation, and even if you're not a boater, you can watch yachts and pleasure craft ply the serene waters of the Albemarle Canal and observe the opening of the locks from the overlook at Great Bridge "Bridge."
But there's much more to Chesapeake than its lovely natural areas. It's also home to a thriving arts community, which includes the historic-yet-trendy Portlock Galleries at SoNo, housed in the former Portlock School originally built in 1908. There, visitors can enjoy a variety of traveling exhibitions, browse the gift shop and galleries where artists sell their work, and even join an art class. Antique lovers will delight in exploring Chesapeake's "Antique Alley" on Canal Drive, while shoppers will appreciate the city's two distinct shopping districts at Greenbrier and Chesapeake Square. The kid in everyone can stargaze like a professional astronomer at the Chesapeake Planetarium or fly down a dolphin slide, talk on a three-way underground telephone, and scramble across a shaky bridge at the beloved three-acre Fun Forest in Chesapeake City Park. Not far away, you can stroll through the native plants and flowers on display at the Chesapeake Arboretum or take in the heady scent of antique roses. Additionally, you can visit Rodgers' Banana Pudding Retro Shop located in the historic district of South Norfolk at 1410 Poindexter Street. Sample their retro, award-winning product Rodgers' Banana Pudding Sauce that is used to make a homemade banana pudding dessert. You can also sample flavored pudding shots: coconut rum, butter rum, bourbon whiskey, and more. Additionally, you can browse selection of retro candies and gift items. At Rodgers' Banana Pudding Retro Shop, you will definitely get a blast from the past! Phone: 757-543-9290. Hours: 9:00 -5:30 (Monday -Friday) and 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. (Saturday). Tours are available for groups; however, tours must be scheduled at least 2-weeks in advance. Tours detail Rodgers' Banana Pudding Sauce Story, which includes why the the specialty food business and the production process
After a day of adventure, Chesapeake offers more than a hundred tempting restaurants where palates can be satisfied by anything from fine gourmet cuisine and seafood, while enjoying views of the Intracoastal Waterway, to the offerings of favorite national chains.