Introduction to Newport News, Virginia
The Virginia City of Newport News is located on the southwestern end of the Virginia Peninsula. One of the state's largest cities, Newport News encompasses 62 square miles and lies about 6 miles southeast of Hampton and 24 miles northwest of Norfolk. The city is served by two airports: Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport, located in the city itself; and Norfolk International Airport, in Norfolk. The principal highway servicing the city is Interstate I-664. Other major thoroughfares in the area include Interstate I-64; U.S. Routes 17, 60, and 258; and Virginia State Highways 32 and 143.
First settled in 1621, the area had been referred to "Newportes Newes" several years earlier. The actual source of the name is not known with certainty, although several theories are prevalent. Several Civil War engagements took place in the area including the 1862 Peninsula Campaign. Newport News remained a small community until the 1890s when it became the eastern terminus of the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Railway. The city was formally organized and incorporated as a city in 1896 without having earlier been incorporated as a town. In 1958, the neighboring cities of Warwick and Newport News were consolidated as the newly-expanded city of Newport News.
One of the principal movers & shakers in Newport News' history was a man named Collis P. Huntington. Huntington was one of the builders of the country's first transcontinental railroad and owner of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway. Later he became developer of the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, which became the world's largest shipyard and retains its prominence in the shipbuilding field to this day. The city of Huntington, West Virginia was named in his honor, as was Huntington Avenue in Newport News.
Things to Do in Newport News
World-class attractions, over 30 public parks, as well as great places to go and things to see and do are all part of the Newport News visitor experience. The Peninsula Fine Arts Center houses a wide array of diverse artworks and dynamic exhibitions that change every few months. Kids can create personal masterpieces in the interactive Hands On For Kids gallery. Kids will also enjoy the Peninsula S.P.C.A. Exotic Sanctuary & Petting Zoo. The Exotic Sanctuary features an African mandrill, otters, a Siberian tiger, and a black leopard; while the Petting Zoo contains chickens, goats, deer and even a peacock. The U.S. Army Transportation Museum chronicles 200 years of Army transportation through models, dioramas and full-size vehicles and equipment. The Virginia Living Museum offers hands-on activities and an observatory, allowing visitors to explore the underwater world of the Chesapeake Bay and the underground realm of a limestone cave, or experience a steamy cypress swamp and a cool mountain cove. History buffs will savor the Virginia War Museum, where American military history unfolds. Collections of artifacts, vehicles, weapons, posters, and uniforms trace the development of the U.S. military from 1775 to the present.
Soccer fans can take the 10-minute drive to Newport News' neighboring city of Hampton, where pro soccer thrives. The Hampton Roads Piranhas are participants in the United Soccer League's Premier Development League (PDL). Fans of college sports can enjoy Hampton University's NCAA Division I athletic teams. Known as the Pirates, the University's teams compete in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). Baseball fans can take the 30-minute drive to Norfolk, where the Norfolk Tides play Class Triple-A minor league baseball. The Tides are affiliated with MLB's Baltimore Orioles and compete in the International League.