The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center is a short drive from the Virginia Beach oceanfront. It’s a perfect place to visit when the sun gets too much for you. The aquarium provides a welcome break from the hot Virginia weather and is educational for the entire family.

Your visit to the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center starts before you walk through the doors. There is a large pool near the entrance which houses Harbour Seals. Every day at 10am and 3pm, the Seals are fed and put through their paces with their training sessions.

The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Center are easily navigated; there are different areas for different habitats, making it easy for children to follow and understand. While we visited, the children were quietly observing the aquariums and were enjoying many of the hands-on experiences with the exhibits and fish.

With over 700,000 gallons of aquarium and animal habitats, you can expect to be amazed by the different animals and fish they have swimming around. There are Loggerhead Turtles, Sand Tiger Sharks and even Otters. Over 50 different species of fish occupy the aquariums.

If you’re feeling brave, then reach down into the Stingray tank and feel them brush against your hand. There are two touch tanks that allow you to feel exactly what some of the creatures feel like. Children squeal with excitement through these exhibits.

The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center is split up into two buildings: the March Pavilion and the Bay and Ocean Pavilion. They are joined by a 1/3 mile nature trail. The trail takes you along the water’s edge over marshland and through a forestry area. Along the trail is a 30ft observation tower, which gives you a great view of Owls Creek. You can spot different species of trees and plants as well as birds and other wildlife.

In the Marsh Pavilion you will find the River Otters, Seahorses, Snakes, and the Discovery Room. Just outside of the Marsh Pavilion is the half acre aviary, which has a selection of native birds.

The Bay and Ocean Pavilion explores the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay. It is here you will find the touch pools, as well as the huge aquariums that house the sharks and turtles. Throughout the year you will also find ‘changing exhibits’.

There is plenty to see and do at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, we had a lovely morning looking around at all the displays and watching the fish and marine animals.

If you would like more information, please visit their web site.