Where is the best place to see Virginia Beach’s underwater world? At the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center. Get away from the beach and go further under the sea with interactive exhibitions and thousands of creatures from sea, land and sky.
One of the top aquariums and animal habitats in the country, Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Centre has a diverse range of sea life, educational and entertaining exhibits and a huge host of activities for people of all ages to enjoy.
With thousands of animals representing over 300 species, the center is a voyage of discovery and a real treat for anyone interested in and fascinated by wildlife. As well as the wonders of the sea the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Center also features an outdoor aviary, nature trail and marshlands which are home to mammals, birds and local and tropical vegetation.
Some of the exciting creatures you might meet there are cownose rays, that are found in the ocean and bay environments of North and South America . Land and sea creatures such as the harbor seals and the North American river otter also call the Center their home.
Plus, if you miss out on them by the bay, Chesapeake natives such as the Blue Crab and the horseshoe crab can be seen in the aquarium. The Aquarium is also involved in conservation efforts to save Sea Turtles by studying those in Chesapeake Bay and the surrounding waters.
It’s not just the locals that live at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center. Tropical creatures such as Loggerhead turtles and Sand Tiger Sharks also reside here.
From below the sea to high over land, the aviary is a star feature of the center housing over 70 unique birds including owls, such as the Great Horned Owl.
Large spaces mean the animals are free to explore in areas such as the Chesapeake Light Tower Aquarium which is home to three species of sea turtles who paddle around the 70,000 gallon tower.
Aside from just animals, the Center is a great place to see remnants of past times when Virginia was a volcanic area, or the Malaysian Peat Swamp which is reminiscent of how Virginia looked during the Carboniferous period.
With over 300 interactive exhibits there’s more to the center than just looking through glass cages at the animals. Hands on experiences give visitors the opportunity to touch a stingray or horseshoe crab in the touch pools if they like.
But to get a feel of what it would be like in the ocean with the surrounding nature there’s nothing quite like the 3D IMAX theatre, which will have you jumping out of your seats and looking around as if you were in the sea with the sights and the sounds of the ocean all around.
For those who like getting their hands dirty, The Adventure Park is the perfect answer with a zip line through the trees up above the owls creek, a labyrinth of a jungle gym and plenty of challenges, it’s fun for all the family.
You can spend your time walking from point to point or you can take advantage of a tour, which will guide you through the center.
Open daily from 9 am to 5pm, closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.