Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center

Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, Virginia Beach: Hours, Address, Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center Reviews: 4.5/5

Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center

Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
4.5
Science Museums • Aquariums
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9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
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About
A 300,000-gallon tank with sharks, rays, and other aquatic species, is the main attraction at this popular aquarium, along with a walk through tunnel featuring sharks, rays, and more. Featuring thousands of animals representing hundreds of species.
Suggested duration
2-3 hours
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
3,568 reviews
Excellent
1,866
Very good
1,086
Average
460
Poor
108
Terrible
48

Lisa
Bucks County, PA10 contributions
Feb 2022
The weather was too cool to go to an outdoor attraction, so my son asked if we could go to the Aquarium. We had a nice visit, and my son enjoyed it very much, which is really all the matters to us. They are renovating a building, so several animal exhibits were not available, like Otters, which was unfortunate, but we understood. It is smaller than I imagined, both in exhibits and size of hallways. Many people clogged up in certain areas, plus strollers, made it often hard to navigate. But it was a Sunday on a holiday weekend, so there was a large crowd. Highlights include: Komodo Dragons, Rays, Sea Turtles. However, the Cafe is a disaster. It's only open till 2:30, and the day we ate there, they were woefully behind on orders, with only one cook. It took us (3) at least half an hour to get food (pretty straight forward burgers, etc...) and they apparently forgot to even prepare the food of the couple that ordered before us. I'm not sure if it's staffing shortages, or just poor management, but maybe don't bother and get food outside of venue. That experience really marred an otherwise nice day. There is a nature trail to walk, which has nice views of water and wildlife.
Written March 1, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

jln1992
Pennsylvania28 contributions
Aug 2021
The aquarium was very nice, however a little crowded and pricey like all other aquariums. Before you visit either get your tickets online in advance or you can get them when you get there, but there are time slots that you have to wait to get in. When you first walk up the the aquarium you see seals in an outside enclosure which is pretty cool. Once inside there is quite an array of animals to see and some areas of learning and touch activities to do. We would have liked to do the Dolpon
Written September 9, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
We appreciate your thoughts and feedback, JLN. Thank you for taking the time to connect with us. We will pass this along to our leadership team. Wishing you all the best and hope for the opportunity to see you again soon.
Written September 28, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

thinktankjp
Washington DC, DC118 contributions
Dec 2020 • Family
We went during Covid and the aquarium did a good job with reduced capacity, timed entry tickets to keep the crowd low and spaced out. We had a 9am entry and it almost felt like we had the place to ourselves. Most of the interactive elements, including touch tanks, were off limits for now, but our visit spanned over 90 minutes which was a pretty good timeframe. One building is closed for renovation, opening in 2021, which was a little disappointing, but the parts that are open are well-crafted exhibits with a great variety of animals and fish. I would imagine with the reopening of the second building a visit would be 2+ hours.

The facility itself is older, but kept in good shape. Lots of keepers and volunteers were on hand to answer questions. Even at the touch tank with sting rays where we could not currently touch the animals, there were volunteers to tell us about them and learn how to tell them apart.

Note there are no food options available at the facility right now, so bring snacks if needed (did not even see a soda machine). Also, due to COVID there is a one-way path through the facility so don’t rush it; there is no reentry once you finish.
Written December 31, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Trish N
Norfolk, VA77 contributions
Jun 2022 • Family
This was once a very good museum that did good work but I don't know what's going on with it now. I would advise calling first to see what is opened/closed and then decide if you think it's worth going. To be fair, it was prior to COVID that we had a membership here. My niece is in town so we thought it would be a great way to spend a Sunday. I bought tickets online, as instructed on the website.There was no mention that the south building is still undergoing renovations, so it is closed, indefinitely, along with my favorite otter exhibit and the aviary. And the final insult was that they now charge for parking. It's only $5, but after shelling out $25 a person for half of a museum, you'd think the City could waive that until it's fully back up and running. The museum is nice but not worth the money they're asking for now. For a tourist, I'm sure it'll be OK. But as a VB resident, I will wait until it gets back up to par before I go again. The quality of the exhibits is lacking.
Written June 12, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jeni
La Crosse, WI4 contributions
May 2022 • Couples
While this aquarium had many varieties of species, I personally feel the adult ticket charge of $24.95 was way too much. There were also several exhibits that were closed. In addition, the website tells you to buy tickets online for timed entry to help limit the number of people at any one time. Their system is flawed as some exhibits were impassable due to the number of people.
Written May 13, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

mgnelu
Rockville, MD216 contributions
Aug 2021
We visited as soon as the aquarium opened at 9am to avoid the crowds as much as possible. We intentionally scheduled the aquarium visit on a day with rain in the forecast because the beach would be less fun. I really don't like to feel rushed when I visit a museum. Limiting the parking ($5) to 3 hours puts pressure on visitors to rush through. I was really impressed with the layout of the exhibits and the ambiance. The kids imposed a pace that was not suitable for reading labels and learning more about the exhibits, so we finished well before the parking expired. I was surprised when we reached the end though, it felt like something was missing. We took the nature walk and we got soaking wet because of a passing rain. The Marsh Pavilion (which seems to be about half the size of the main building) was apparently closed for renovation. With that knowledge, I feel like we paid for a full experience and only got 66% of it.
Written August 23, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Alia A
Portland, OR8 contributions
Aug 2021
The aquarium itself is pretty lackluster. The exhibits were not very engaging and there weren't a lot of unique animals. We had to purchase tickets with a time slot ahead of time and so we assumed that they were operating at limited capacity due to covid. This was not at all the case. The aquarium was so crowded that it was impossible to maintain a 2 foot distance from others, let alone 6 feet. The staff herded us along a predetermined route while patrons crowded in front of exhibits, making it difficult to see anything. The whole thing only took about an hour and considering each adult ticket was $25 and parking was another $5, we felt like we threw our money away and probably just got covid exposure as our souvenir.
Written August 12, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

chrisn954
Arlington, VA2 contributions
Apr 2021
If you are concerned about crowded indoor spaces, avoid the aquarium during the pandemic. April 2 was our second time at the aquarium and first time during the pandemic. Although we had a timed entry ticket and the website noted the reduced capacity, mask requirement, and social distancing, we felt really uncomfortable during our visit and wound up leaving after less than 30 minutes. We noticed several adults with no masks on or masks under their chins, and dozens of people packed into narrow corridors. We will wait until the pandemic is over to return to the aquarium (which we had previously enjoyed).
Written April 6, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for sharing your experience, which we are using to reinforce the importance of asking guests to remain socially distant and to keep masks in the proper position.
Written April 9, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Lily of Brandywine
43 contributions
Sep 2021
Loved it. One day does not allow for a complete exploration of the interior aquarium, much less the green space trails, the boat excursion, and the adventure park. We enjoyed the inside on one day and returned the following day for the boat ride. This aquarium impressed me. The exhibits are amazing and well informed. A must visit for students and conservationists.
Written September 27, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lily, thank you so much for your thoughtful review. We are thrilled you had a blast during your visits and enjoyed the various adventures around the Aquarium. We appreciate your support and hope to see you again soon!
Written September 28, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

JLG
82 contributions
Jun 2021
We had been to the aquarium several times in the past and it has been the highlight of our trip. But not this time. We bought our timed tickets online and it was over $50 for 2 people--kind of pricey. The website said nothing about the 2nd building being closed. We were so disappointed that not only was the 2nd building closed but MANY of the exhibits had been taken down or replaced with PLASTIC animals or photographs. Many of the exhibits had no signage and looked sparse. The first room you visit with the plants looked very poorly kept, with many of the trees nearly dead and lots of just bare dirt on the ground. We walked through the whole thing in 40 minutes, which included a couple of stops to just sit and watch the fish i the larger tanks. You would think they'd lower the price if the entire facility was not open or if all the exhibits were not avaialable. They DO try to get you to pay more for boat cruises, photographs, etc, which I guess is typical for all of these types of places.
Written June 15, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center

Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center is open:
  • Sun - Sat 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
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We recommend booking Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center tours ahead of time to secure your spot. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel up to 24 hours before your tour starts for a full refund. See all 1 Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center tours on Tripadvisor