Virginia Zoo asks community for help in raising $300K for reptile house

Construction of the crocodile exhibit is underway in the World of Reptiles. The zoo says the 850-square-foot exhibit will feature a male and female crocodile. (Courtesy of The Virginia Zoo)
Construction of the crocodile exhibit is underway in the World of Reptiles. The zoo says the 850-square-foot exhibit will feature a male and female crocodile. (Courtesy of The Virginia Zoo)

NORFOLK — The Virginia Zoological Park is asking for community help to raise $300,000 to finish renovating its reptile house.

Originally built in 1974, the new reptile house will contain more than 200 reptiles, providing zoo staff with the increased ability to study, care for and breed endangered species like the Iranian newt, according to a zoo press release.

The reptile house will also include classroom space for educational opportunities and live interactions with the animals, a reptile nursery, an aquatic gallery and a floor-to-ceiling crocodile exhibit, the release states.

“The World of Reptiles will reinforce the zoo’s mission to inspire and serve our community with engaging, meaningful, safe and memorable experiences. As well as creating innovative facilities that provide a broad audience with outstanding and unique educational opportunities, which we hope lead to the appreciation and stewardship of nature,” Virginia Zoological Park Executive Director Greg Bockheim wrote in the release.

The reptile building before construction started in November 2016.
The reptile building before construction started in November 2016.

The zoo has already raised 90 percent of its $2.6 million goal for the reptile house through donors like the Goode Family Foundation, Hampton Roads Community Foundation, Batten Educational Achievement Fund, Patricia and Douglas Perry, Townebank, Bank of America and the Virginia Zoological Society Board of Directors.

The building is slated to open later this year. To make a donation to the campaign, call 757-441-2374 or visit virginiazoo.org/worldofreptiles/donate.

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Adrienne Mayfield is an award-winning, multi-media journalist hailing from Clermont, Fla. She moved to Lynchburg, Va. on a whim when she was 19, and worked her way to Hampton Roads in 2013. Adrienne is passionate about telling people stories via covering public safety and the judicial system. She isn’t afraid to take a heads-on approach to covering crime, including knocking on doors to get the details police aren’t sharing. Adrienne is a 2014 Old Dominion University graduate who still lives within walking distance of the college. You may see her cruising around Downtown Norfolk on her bike, enjoying a sandwich from Grilled Cheese Bistro or playing fetch with her dog, Greta, at the Colonial Place dog park.