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Hampton Roads Community News

Free Admission On Oct. 16 – Zoo: ‘Health, History and Habitat Tour’

In a novel effort to stem the bulging tide of overweight and obesity rates in Hampton Roads, on Sunday, October 16, at 2:00 p.m., the Norfolk Department of Public Health, Healthy Norfolk, and the Norfolk Department of Recreation, Parks and Open Space, in association with the Virginia Zoological Park, will be staging the Health, History & Habitat Tour: A Sunday Afternoon Walk in the Zoo.

This FREE event will, at once, enlighten walkers on the amazing, century-old history of the Zoo, as well as showcase its current zoological collection. Interested persons can register online at and onsite registration will be available on the day of the event.

The first collection at the Norfolk Zoo began over 100 years ago, in 1900. By the end of 1901, it featured over 220 birds and animals. In 1911, some of its most popular animals included the likes of “Johnny Tortoise,” the badgers “Big Bage” and “Little Bage,” three Black bears by the names of “Jack Tilton,” “Teddy” and “Sleepy,” a 30 year-old Florida alligator named “Jumbo,” and a host of others. The current Virginia Zoological Park collection includes African Lions, Asian Small-Clawed Otters, Asiatic Black Bears, Binturongs, Malayan Tapirs, Malayan Tapirs, Masai Giraffe, and many more.

In the 2013 report The State of Obesity in Virginia, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Trust for America’s Health noted that, statewide, the adult obesity rate was 27.2 percent. That same year, however, the Virginia Department of Health Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey observed that 39.5 percent of Norfolk adults were overweight, that 28% were obese, and that childhood overweight and obesity rates had tripled since 1980. The Walk Norfolk Health & History Tours provide an inventive opportunity for residents to get in some history and exercise.

For more information, call (757) 683-8836.

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