Celebrate your child’s birthday with fun activities and a chance to meet live animals! Birthday parties are available on Saturdays and Sundays, led by an experienced Aquarium educator, and include two live animals for children to see and touch. Choose from three themed programs:
NEW Under the Sea (for ages 3-12) – beginning May 1, 2016
Play ocean themed games, and get up close to touch some of the ocean’s most amazing creatures. See the sharks, sea turtles and stingrays while you tour the Bay and Ocean Pavilion. Assist with a fish feeding in the Upland River Room.
Location: Classroom in the Bay & Ocean Pavilion.
Dates: Saturdays & Sundays.
Times: September – May from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. – 4: 00 p.m.; June – August from 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
NEW Forest Friends (for ages 3-8)
Enjoy forest-themed activities, visit the Smokey Bear & Woodsy Owl: Home Sweet Home exhibit in the Changing Exhibit Gallery, and meet live animals that will help you learn more about habitats.
Location: Classroom in the Bay & Ocean Pavilion.
Dates: Saturdays & Sundays; year-round.
Times: February 20th – May from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.; June – August from 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.; September 3rd – 18th from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Marsh Animals (for ages 3-12)
Make a craft, play games, and meet native animals that live in Virginia’s salt marshes. See venomous snakes, marsh turtles, blue crabs, and river otters while you tour the Virginia Aquarium’s Marsh Pavilion. Assist with an animal feeding in the salt marsh galleries.
Location: Discovery Room in the Marsh Pavilion.
Dates: Saturdays & Sundays; September – April (not available in summer).
Times: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
$175 for Aquarium members
$225 for non-members
Fee includes materials and activities for up to 25 attendees. This includes the birthday child, family members, and parents of the party guests.
To reserve a date for a birthday party or to receive additional information, contact the Youth Programs Team at (757) 385-0278 between the hours of 9:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M. Monday through Friday, or contact the Program Coordinator.
Let the Aquarium Café take care of your refreshment needs.
The Café staff can provide pizza and other fun foods for your party.
Add Goodie Bags for your birthday child and guests!
To order Goodie Bags at $1 each, contact the Aquarium Store (757) 385-0321.
Frequently Asked Questions
Please contact the Youth Programs Team at (757) 385-0278 between the hours of 9:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M. Monday through Friday to place a reservation. You will need the following:
- Date you would like to reserve
- Party theme
- Payment in full
Note: Birthday parties are reserved based on availability. Parties must be booked a minimum of 2 weeks prior to the party date, and it is recommended to book 4-6 weeks prior as dates fill up quickly. Parties may not be booked more than 6 months in advance.
The cost for Aquarium Members is $175.00. The cost for non-members is $225.00. Payment is required in full to reserve a birthday party date.
We accept the following payment methods:
- Personal Check *, **
- Money Order *
- Cashier's Check *
- American Express
* Payable to Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center.
** Returned checks will be charged an additional fee.
To receive a refund, cancellation must be made 21 days or more prior to the reserved date. Refunds are not issued for cancellations less than 21 days prior to the Birthday party date.
All birthday parties include:
- Aquarium educator to conduct the party
- Activities that include a live animal
- An activity booklet for each guest to take home
- Private room
- Party invitation PDF to send to your guests (hard copies available upon request)
You will be responsible for providing your own birthday cake or cupcakes. If you would like to decorate the room, you will be responsible for providing those decorations.
If you would like to bring specifically themed items, you are more than welcome to do so. This can include themed tableware.
- Items that must be taped or adhered to walls.
- Items with glitter. Glitter is a safety hazard for the Aquarium's animals.
- Because deflated or discarded balloons usually end up in the marine environment and are a threat to sea turtles and other ocean creatures, we do not allow balloons at our parties.
The Aquarium offers Goodie Bags at $1.00 each. Each Goodie Bag includes:
- 1 Aquarium Pencil
- 1 Aquarium Post Card
- 1 Shark Tooth
- 1 Plastic Animal Replica
Goodie Bags can be ordered by contacting the Aquarium Store (757) 385-0321 at least one week prior to the party. Payment will be due to the Aquarium Store on the day of the party.
Yes, all persons in attendance are counted toward the 25 person limit. Typically, parents will drop their children off for parties, or choose to stay and tour the Aquarium on their own during the party. Note: Aquarium admission must be paid for parents to tour the Aquarium on their own.
To ensure the best possible experience for the birthday child and their guests, we limit parties to 25 participants. With more than 25 participants we are unable to provide hands on activities and live animal experiences. Please plan accordingly when sending your invitations to your guests.
Up to 25 Aquarium Admission wrist bands are included with birthday party packages. Wrist bands are valid, same day, following the party until Aquarium closing.
Food and Beverages
Guests are allowed to bring in food and beverages from home. No catered items delivered from an outside source are allowed. Sodexo is the exclusive food service provider for the aquarium.
If you have purchased food or beverages from Sodexo, our onsite caterer, all of the necessary tableware will be provided. If you have not purchased food from Sodexo, you will need to bring any necessary tableware for your guests.
Refrigerator or freezer space is not available at the Virginia Aquarium. You will need to provide your own cooler and ice.