PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The largest children’s museum in Virginia is making major changes.

Sentara Healthcare and Optima Health have invested $700,000 for upgrades at the Children’s Museum of Virginia’s BodyWorks exhibit.

The exhibit encourages healthy decisions and promotes healthy lifestyles. The money will be used to expand the activities for children to have fun, while being active. The new activities will teach kids about body parts, functions and why it’s important to exercise. 

“Sentara Healthcare and Optima Health’s gift marks a major milestone in the Children’s Museum’s history,” said Portsmouth Museums Foundation Executive Director Cinda Ayers. “We are very proud to partner with Sentara Healthcare and Optima Health in reaching our young visitors and introducing them to fun and creative ways to learn about taking care of themselves and their families. With this updated and timely exhibit, the Children’s Museum can appropriately address the whole child: health and well-being, creativity, and community along with environment and industry throughout the museum. We are grateful to Sentara for placing trust in us to deliver meaningful, state-of-the-art experiences for our guests.”

Sentara says it’s part of their mission to improve health for people every day. 

“It is critically important to meet individuals in the community where they live, work, play and learn,” said Sherry Norquist, Sentara’s director of community engagement and impact. “The Children’s Museum offers lower cost admission to individual learners who may not otherwise have the opportunity to access these exhibits as part of their commitment to inspire healthy habits that lead to healthier outcomes. Together, with our shared commitment to education and reducing health disparities, we can infuse creative ideas into the hearts and minds of children and families in Virginia.”

Work for the exhibit is scheduled to start later this year. 

For more information you can visit the City of Portsmouth website.