Martinsville, Virginia


Ice Age Festival and 'Wild About Cats' exhibit opening is Saturday, January 25!

Another Ice Age is being ushered in at the Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville on Saturday, January 25th from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.!

Remarkable displays and fossils of long-extinct animals of the Ice Age will fill the museum! Interact with paleontologists and other Ice Age experts as you marvel over their collections! Children will have a blast taking part in Ice Age themed games and crafts throughout the day, as well as face painting and balloon animals! Some of this year's highlights include...


In 1977, a miner in Siberia discovered the mummified remains of a seven-month-old mammoth calf. Even though the calf had died 40,000 years earlier, it was astonishingly well-preserved, its trunk, skin and organs still intact after tens of thousands of years. At Ice Age Festival, the Virginia Museum of Natural History will feature a pinpoint-accurate cast replica of this remarkable animal, a snapshot of history dating back tens of thousands of years.


Madagascar is the fourth-largest island in the world. It split away from India about 88 million years ago, during the late Cretaceous period, which allowed the plants and animals on the island to evolve in relative isolation. At Ice Age Festival, visitors will be able to see Ice Age-era fossils from Madagascar and learn how the Ice Age affected the unique creatures of this island – creatures such as a giant gorilla-sized lemur!


The Virginia Museum of Natural History's "Wild About Cats" exhibit opens the same day as Ice Age Festival! In addition to featuring numerous mounted specimens of some of the largest and most impressive wild cats that have ever lived, the exhibit will also include fossil cat material from the Ice Age era collected from caves just a few hours away in West Virginia. Highlights include fossils from an extinct cheetah-like cat and an Ice Age jaguar!

Of course, Clawd (the museum's iconic, flesh-model, giant ground sloth) and many other Ice Age displays and fossils from the Virginia Museum of Natural History's collections and the collections of other museums and universities will be on exhibit, including an Ice Age wolf, saber-tooth cat, giant beaver and more!

$10 for adults ages 18-59
$5 for children and youth ages 3-17
$5 for seniors 60+
FREE for children under 3
FREE for museum members
FREE for members of ASTC participating institutions
EBT card holders who present their EBT card and official photo ID can enter the festival at the following rates: $2/adult and $1/ages 3-18.
(Admission is available at the door.)


"Wild About Cats" special exhibit opens the same day!

The relationship between people and cats has fluctuated between the extremes of fear and adoration. For thousands of years, humans have been prey for large wild cats. At the same time, we have domesticated smaller cats, encouraging them to share our homes and sometimes treating them as children.

Cats are the most highly evolved mammalian predator on earth today. They are native to every continent except Antarctica and Australia. All cats are well-equipped to stalk, catch and kill other animals, even animals larger than themselves.

Their coats are colored, spotted, and striped for camouflage. They have large eyes and binocular, color vision for seeing prey and judging distances. Their dagger-like canine teeth for stabbing and razor-sharp claws for catching and holding prey make them extremely effective predators. Even so, tigers actually fail about 90 percent of the time when attempting to catch prey and cheetahs fail about 60 percent of the time.

Unfortunately, cats pay a high price for their talents and beauty. Most wild cats are persecuted as predators, hunted as trophy kills, pursued for their exquisite coats, and threatened by loss of their prey and destruction and alteration of their habitat.

The museum's newest special exhibit, "Wild About Cats" opens Saturday, January 25 and highlights the wide diversity of cats living throughout the world today. The exhibit features taxidermy mounts of lions, tigers, leopards, cougars, and many more cats living throughout the continents of North America, South America, Africa and Asia. Museum visitors will learn about the prey these animals hunt, the science behind their extraordinary predatory abilities, how they adapt to their surroundings, and much more!

Access to this special exhibit and all museum exhibit galleries is included with festival admission!