Experience the Atlantic Ocean from the shore to the depths!
The beauty of the ocean is played out in over 800,000 gallons of water at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center. This state of the art complex is considered one of the best aquariums and animal habitats in the country. Located in Virginia Beach, the museum is home to hundreds of hands-on exhibits, marshlands, a lovely nature trail and so much more! One day at this amazing attraction won’t be enough, so you will always have a reason to come back to Virginia Beach!
What Are The Most Popular Exhibits and Activities at The Virginia Aquarium?
While visiting The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, there is plenty to see and do. So much so that it may be hard to decide what to do first. Well, we have 10 of the most popular activities to do while at the museum that you most certainly will be glad you did after leaving. Check them out here!
1. Pet the Sting Rays
At the Ray Touch Pool, you will have the chance to pet a stingray as they slowly glide through the water in a massive tank. Supervisors will be around to help guide your touch. Watch out for their tails!
2. See a 3D IMAX movie in the National Geographic six story theater
Come check out the newly renovated 3D theater that is now digital and features new seats, floors and sound system! This 6-story theater premieres short films as well as Hollywood and educational releases. It’s a great way to come up close and personal with nature in an entertaining and cinematic way. Click here to see what’s playing.
3. Visit the Chesapeake Bay Touch Pool
While here, touch horseshoe crabs, Forbes’ sea stars or whelk, and learn all about the anatomy and behavior of these incredible creatures.
4. Watch the Diver feed the animals
Even though you can’t feed the animals, that doesn’t mean you can’t watch a professional! Virginia Aquarium divers take a dip in the massive tanks at various times throughout the day to check up on their aquatic friends and feed them lunch. Check with the front desk when you arrive to find out feeding times!
5. View the Komodo Dragons face to face through the observation bubble
At the Indonesian Volcanic Island exhibit, you can observe Komodo dragons, the largest lizard in the world, and Indonesian finches. There is also a special viewing area for guests to crawl under and pop up into a see-through dome to witness the animals up-close and personal.
6. Surround yourself with sea creatures in the Red Sea Tunnel
Walk through this 40-foot tunnel and you will be surrounded by a 100,000 gallon aquarium filled with live, colorful coral, Eagle rays, beautiful fish and a zebra shark!
7. Encounter a shark in the Norfolk Canyon Aquarium
Wander through a recreated undersea canyon until you reach an aquarium where Sand Tiger Sharks glide silently through the water. Though these predators have a dangerous rep, they are actually more in danger from humans because of loss of habitat and over fishing.
8. Meet a Live Animal up close and personal
At various times throughout the day, you can meet a live animal at the Marsh Pavilion! Check with the front desk when you enter the Aquarium to find out what time this is happening during your visit.
9. Learn something new from one of the experts
From 10 a.m.–2:30 p.m., the Virginia Marine Science Center has dozens of educators at the various exhibits with a head full of knowledge on the different animals living at the museum. Check at the front desk for a schedule of when these informed educators will be at what exhibit.
10. Book a treetop escape at the Virginia Aquarium’s new Adventure Park!
Are you an outdoor enthusiast who’s looking for adventure and a full excursion of fun? Then you belong at The Adventure Park at the Virginia Aquarium! New this year to Virginia Beach, it offers multiple zip lines and 10 aerial ropes challenge courses suitable for kids, teens and adults. Click here for an Adventure Park coupon.
All of these exhibits and activities are a great way to keep the whole family intrigued and preoccupied, especially if the oceanfront is overcast on a rainy day!
What Is There To Do Near the Virginia Aquarium?
Although The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Museum has plenty to see and do, there are other fun activities to do nearby the museum that the whole family will love! When the sun is shining and the salty air is gently blowing, spend an afternoon outdoors at one of these destinations to experience some of the most exiting and popular places in the Virginia Beach area.
Ocean Breeze Water Park
849 General Booth Blvd. • 757-422-4444
Opening in May for another fun season, the Ocean Breeze Water Park is Virginia Beach’s only water park filled with a long list of attractions. With 10 Rides & Slides, an Adventure River with waves and a steady current, a Runaway Bay, a massive kids’ area known as Little Buccaneers, a Gift/Souvenir/Candy Shop, Dining area and special events throughout the season, you will surely have a fun and relaxing time at this enormous and thrilling water park!
200 Winston Salem Avenue • Fishing Charter 757-425-3400 • Rentals 757-428-4614 • Restaurant 757-425-1777
As one of the biggest attractions in Virginia Beach for more than 20 years, Rudee Inlet offers every activity a beach vacationer could imagine. They offer both boating and fishing charters, jet ski rentals, paddle boarding, dolphin tours, parasailing and even one of the best restaurants in the Hampton Roads area serving fresh seafood, steaks, sandwiches, pastas and more right on the Inlet waters.
The Oceanfront is the main attraction in Virginia Beach, offering an expanded boardwalk full of live entertainment, delicious restaurants, unique shops, water sport and bike rentals, and much, much more. Come see for yourself what everyone is talking about!
Are There Any Restaurants Near the Virginia Aquarium?
Looking for a restaurant to dine at before or after visiting The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center? The Aquarium does have its own in-house restaurant, but if you want to get out for a bit we have gathered a list of places to choose from nearby the museum that are suited for all ages and, of course, are super delicious!
Famous Uncle Al’s
1581 General Booth Blvd., Virginia Beach, VA 23454
Jake’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que
1784 General Booth Blvd., Virginia Beach, VA 23454
Applebee’s1756 General Booth Blvd., Virginia Beach, VA 23454
Yama Sushi Bar
1485 General Booth Blvd., Virginia Beach, VA 23454
Waterman’s Surfside Grille
415 Atlantic Ave., Virginia Beach, VA 23451
Chix Seafood Bar and Grill
701 Atlantic Ave., Virginia Beach, VA 23451
1581 General Booth Blvd., Virginia Beach, VA 23454
Lighthouse Beach Bar & Grill
1201 Atlantic Ave., Virginia Beach, VA 23451
757-428-2972 ext. 113
Tropical Smoothie Cafe
2165 General Booth Blvd., Virginia Beach, VA 23454
1524 General Booth Blvd., Virginia Beach, VA 23454
1483 General Booth Blvd., Virginia Beach, VA 23454
Subway1581 General Booth Blvd., Virginia Beach, VA 23454
You can support The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center just by selecting certain dishes and restaurants. Click here to learn more about the museum’s Sensible Seafood Program!