The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center is an aquarium located in Virginia Beach, Virginia. It is a great daytime destination for anyone vacationing in the area as it is just a short drive away from the boardwalk. Additionally, many resort hotels provide a shuttle to the aquarium. Although it isn’t anywhere near the bigger aquariums like the Shedd in Chicago, it was still an interesting way to fill up an afternoon.
The main problem with this aquarium lies in the fact that there are more displays and educational exhibits rather than actual fish, which is a shame considering the high admission price ($21 without IMAX, $27 with IMAX). The large aquariums are pretty cool as is the stingray tank where you can have a hands on experience. I also liked the tunnel fish tank, the shark tank, and the giant sea turtle tank. There are 2 IMAX options; we decided on “Under the Sea.” This IMAX film was a fun experience and fit in well with the tropical fish theme – great special effects and educational information.
There is also a nice nature trail which takes you to another small part of the aquarium. The trail was great on a mild day and we enjoyed great views of the surrounding trees and lake.
Nature Trail photos
Overall, the aquarium is worth a visit if you visit during the spring months when not much else is open. I recommend adding the IMAX option to your admission as it only costs an extra $7 and is one of the best parts of the aquarium experience. Don’t skip out on the relaxing nature trail which provides fantastic photo opportunities!
Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
717 General Booth Blvd
Virginia Beach, VA 23451
Open daily from 9:00am – 5:00pm
Admission: $21 per person, $27 with IMAX