Saturday, August 24, 2013

Lafayette Park, Norfolk, VA

I had to do a greyhound home visit in Norfolk this morning, so thought I would look for a nearby park for us to explore. I decided to go to Lafayette Park on Granby Street right next to the Virginia Zoo.
Lafayette Park is one of the oldest parks in the City of Norfolk. In 1899, the city officially opened it, and a year later, the park began acquiring animals to put on exhibit. By 1901, the Lafayette Park zoo had acquired over 200 animals including mammals, reptiles and birds. We could see one of the animals, some kind of an African herd animal, through the bamboo but it's very hard to see in our photo. It's kind of a light brown blob on the right hand side of the photo below!
 In the early 1900s, visitors could drive their cars through the park and look at the animals. It wasn't until the late 1960's when the zoo was fenced off from Lafayette Park.
The park is very shady, with lots of paths to walk on. It also has a playground, basketball courts, soccer field, tennis courts, picnic pavilions and rest rooms. There are a lot of homeless people at this park--I don't think I'd feel safe after dark--but on this bright, sunny morning it was OK.

If you walk along the north edge of the park and zoo, there is a boat ramp to the Lafayette River. We met several gentlemen fishing for croaker at the boat ramp.
Sammy and PG weren't interested in going into the river. I guess the day wasn't hot enough for them to want to splash around.
The Lafayette River was originally known as Tanner's Creek. Tanner's Creek was renamed the Lafayette River at about the same time Lafayette Park was established. River and park were named in honor of the Marquis de La Fayette, a French Army officer who became a popular American Revolutionary War hero.

J'aimerais que tu sois là (wish you were here!),
Sammy & PG

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