As I mentioned in my previous post, while camping in Virginia Beach a few weeks ago, a few of my friends and I had the opportunity to go to the Virginia Aquarium http://www.virginiaaquarium.com/Pages/default.aspx. Nestled along the road , but among the trees and a pond, it’s quite a nice aquarium. We stood in line for about five to ten minutes; it was very busy. I’m not sure if it’s always like that, or if it was just busy because it was a Friday. Walking in, there’s the gift shop on the right, ticket counter on the left, and starting entrance to that particular building’s tour of the aquarium straight ahead. It’s set up with a clear purpose of order; it’s like walking along a path, going through and seeing all the marine life in a particular order. They have all the usual animals you’d find in an aquarium – sharks, fish, sting rays, jellyfish, alligators, seals, and a lot more. One of my favorite things in aquariums is the tunnel. If you’ve ever been to an aquarium, chances are you know what I’m talking about. It’s a clear tunnel you can walk through that’s underneath one of the huge tanks the aquarium has where the fish and other animals are swimming all around you. I always say I could just set up my bedroom in one of those. Another one of my favorite things at the aquarium was the jellyfish. They are in tanks that have LED lights shining down on them, and since they’re pretty transparent animals to begin with, it makes them look like they’re glowing. I love watching them float around, so light and seemingly carefree.
After making our way through the main building of the aquarium, we had a ten minute walk on a trail through the woods to the aquarium’s second building, which housed the frogs, snakes, and otters. As I mentioned in my last post, it was pretty cold, so the walk was chilly. We stopped by a little lookout tower overlooking the pond and took a few pictures, then continued our walk to the building. Once inside, we enjoyed the frogs, snakes, and the few otters that happened to be in their massive tank that day. I’m not sure where they all were, but it was kind of disappointing because we only saw one. We meandered around the gift shop in that building then walked back to the main one. Both buildings have a place or two to eat, so hunger is not a problem if you visit. Because it’s so early in the year, the outdoor things we saw weren’t open yet. Along the trail it seemed as though in the warmer months they have little stations with activities and little animal shows, but none of that was running because of the season.
If you like zoos and aquariums, I would definitely recommend the Virginia Aquarium, but I’d say you’d have a fuller experience if you went in the late spring or summer to take advantage of everything they have to offer. You can take half a day if you want, or you can be in and out in a couple hours like we were. It all depends on what you are interested in and how much time you have. It is very accommodating to kids, and it has a lot of fun things for them to do, and adults will enjoy it as well. For us, we loved just walking around getting out of the cold, and looking at all the awesome marine life. The Virginia Aquarium was a great part of my trip, and I definitely recommend it to anyone who visits Virginia Beach.