When you think of Virginia Beach, most people think of water. Its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay, the many rivers, streams and coastal waterways, and even the marshes. A trip to Virginia Beach means that you will come in contact with some sort of water. If you’re looking to get up close and personal with the natural side of Virginia Beach, come to the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center!
This world-class aquarium brings the marine environment of the world to you. There you will have access to some of the wildest, wettest parts of Virginia Beach and the world that you might not get to encounter otherwise. You will learn about the importance of our upland rivers, our coastal marshes and the animals that live there. Learn the geological significance of this region. See – and sometimes touch – a variety of marine animals
Beginning with a Vision
The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center celebrates its 30th year on June 14, 2016! The idea was spurned by the Virginia Beach City School Board asking C. Mac Rawls to head a panel to study the idea for an area science resource room. The panel decided that it wanted to pursue the creation of a marine science museum.
It took over 10 years of work, with help from the City of Virginia Beach, who donated the land, but the museum officially opened in 1986. And since then, it has expanded from simply a marine science museum to the inclusion of an aquarium and other exciting expansions.
The aquarium aims to encourage conservation of the marine environment through education, research and sustainable practices. They want people to understand the marine environment that is so intrinsic to Virginia Beach and other areas, and to know simple ways they can make a difference. Their staff is involved in a wide variety of research, including watershed protection, eelgrass restoration, sea turtle nest monitoring, osprey tagging and surveying whale populations. They also offer water quality monitoring services to locals.
What is There to Do?
Get up close and personal with the animals.
See amazing creatures, like stingrays, crabs, birds, sea turtles, sharks and even Komodo dragons and salt water crocodiles. You can also see native animals like river otters and harbor seals. Visit the fish that live in the Norfolk Canyon, the Chesapeake Bay and local marshes and rivers.
National Geographic 3D Theater
Watch a variety of exciting and educational movies on the huge Imax screen.
Take a Sea Adventure Boat Trip
If you want to experience the wonder of nature for yourself, take a boat trip to search for dolphins, whales and other wildlife.
Zip into the Adventure Park
The truly adventurous can climb up into the tree for an aerial forest adventure. High above the ground there are zip lines, bridges and more. Trails range from beginner to advanced.
See the new exhibit, STRANDED
This exhibit is a way for guests to understand the scope and scale of the work performed by the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Team. The team rehabilitates stranded sea turtles and marine mammals, including seals. At the exhibit, learn about the types of animals they help, get details about recent patients, get a glimpse of a dolphin necropsy (autopsy) and even get a view into the stranding center with a live video feed.
Interactive activities for kids
The aquarium knows that young ones learn by doing, so interactive exhibits can be found throughout the Virginia Aquarium. They also have programs geared toward toddlers and others for elementary aged children. These programs incorporate scavenger hunts, active movement and games and sensory activities to explore different themes. They introduce young ones to animals, scientific exploration and discussions.
717 General Booth Boulevard, Virginia Beach VA