Department History

​​​​​​​Soap Box Derby TrackIn January 1956, the Board of Supervisors of Princess Anne County established a Recreation Department. When Princess Anne County became the City of Virginia Beach in 1963, the department's name changed to Department of Parks, Recreation and Physical Education. Ten years later, Physical Education separated from the department and became operated by the School Board. Since 1973, the department has been known as Department of Parks & Recreation. (Pictured: Skateboard games at the soapbox derby track)

History Highlights

  • January 1956 | The Board of Supervisors of Princess Anne County established a recreation department and hired the first director.
  • ​July 1957 | Summer Playgrounds was the first program established within the Princess Anne County Recreation Department.
  • January 1963 | Princess Anne County became the City of Virginia Beach. The department's name changed to Department of Parks, Recreation and Physical Education. The physical education aspect of the department was under the supervision of the School Board.  The department expanded to include one full-time employee to assume duties of Maintenance and Athletic Director. An Adult Recreation Program was developed.​
  • September 1963 | After-school Playground program was established.
  • January 1965 | The department began to increase capital improvement funding and efforts were directed into acquiring property for future park and recreation sites.
  • June 1965 | Lifeguard services began at the Steel Pier Surfing Area. One lifeguard was patrolling area, and in 1966 expanded to two guards.
  • May 1966 | Red Wing Park opened to the public as the city's first major park.​

Read more parks and recreation history.​​

 NBCLX: The Most Popular Park in Virginia Beach Is a Mountain of Trash

Hampton Roads celebrated Earth Day for the first time in 1990. We made our own history in the late 60's early 70's when the city converted a 640,000-ton pile of garbage into the nation's first landfill park. 

An environmental wonder, Mount Trashmore Park also features many other eco-friendly amenities. Watch this video to learn how the famous landmark came to be.





 Mount Trashmore - From Landfill to Famous Landmark