1966 Virginia Governor Mills E. Godwin, Jr., presides over the opening and dedication of the Junior Nature Museum and Planetarium, created through the combined efforts of the Junior League of Hampton Roads and the Warwick Rotary Club.
1976 The facility is expanded and renamed the Peninsula Nature and Science Center, with new exhibits added to include the physical and applied sciences in addition to the natural sciences. The museum was accredited by the American Association of Museums.
1983 Work begins on transforming the Peninsula Nature and Science Center into America’s first “living museum” modeled after the renowned Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson.
1987 Governor Gerald L. Baliles opens the new Virginia Living Museum.
1991 The Virginia Living Museum announces the need to expand, citing educational demands and limitations of the existing facility.
1993 The Museum’s Volunteer Corps exceeds 370 volunteers who worked more than 42,000 hours in one year and the Volunteer Program is cited as a resource in American Association of Museum’s Handbook for Volunteer Administration.
1998 Public announcement of Museum’s planned expansion with $3 million already raised.
2001 Coastal Plain Aviary opens with 16 species of coastal birds, first phase of the $22.6 million expansion.
2002 Governor Mark Warner attends official groundbreaking for new 62,000-square-foot building. New half-mile elevated boardwalk and animal habitats opened.
2003 Red wolf exhibit opens. It is the first permanent public display of red wolves in Virginia and the first time the Museum has exhibited animals that are part of a federal Species Survival Plan.
2004 New 62,000-square-foot exhibition building opens, along with an additional 1/4-mile of elevated boardwalk and new outdoor animal habitats.
2005 First dinosaur exhibit held in new building, draws record attendance.
2006 Rare red wolf pup born at Museum, vulture exhibit opens on outdoor trail. 40th anniversary celebrated with Ruby Jubilee. Former Museum building renovated and dedicated as Wason Education Center.
2007 Museum collaborates with Minotaur Mazes of Seattle, Wash., to create "Survivor: Jamestown" maze exhibit. Wild Side Cafe opens.
2008 $5 million capital campaign launched. 100-seat outdoor Amphitheater completed. Planetarium modernized with state-of-the-art digital projection system and named for the Abbitt family. Museum wins Leading Edge Award from Association of Science and Technology Centers for "Survivor: Jamestown."
The Museum is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, becoming the first institution in Virginia and the 12th in the country to be accredited by both AZA and the American Association of Museums. The Goodson Living Green House and Conservation Garden open, completing Phase 1 of the 2008 capital campaign. $9 million 2004 capital campaign debt is retired with a $6 million challenge grant and $3 million in contributions from individuals, businesses and foundations
The Museum creates an exhibit of Charley Harper artwork, "Beguiled by the Wild." The exhibit begins traveling in 2011. Volunteer Tede Johnson is named Volunteer of the Year by the American Association for Museum Volunteers. Bronze sculpture by Glenna Goodacre is donated.
The Museum wins a conservation landscaping contest. The Holt Native Plant Conservatory is completed and work begins on a Surgical Suite for the animals. Donations by Ferguson Enterprises and an anonymous donor finance a major branding campaign.
The Dr. C. Louise Kirk Animal Surgical
Suite opens. The branding campaign wins a regional Emmy. The Museum adopts a new Strategic Plan that expands programming to include human health initiatives.