As leaders in coastal and marine environmental conservation, research, and preservation, the Virginia Aquarium’s Sea Adventures bring the ocean to you. Since 1989, our boat trips have been staffed by knowledgeable marine educators engaging in responsible viewing practices, research, and conservation.
Our trips feature interpretation of the marine environment and animal behaviors, interactive and hands-on programming for children and adults, and the knowledge that you are helping protect and conserve these key species.
- All of our trips conveniently depart from the Virginia Aquarium’s private, on-site dock, located adjacent to the Bay & Ocean Pavilion parking lot.
- Programs include responsible observation and interpretation from expertly trained educators.
- A portion of all ticket sales support Virginia Aquarium conservation initiatives, including the rescue and rehabilitation efforts of the Stranding Response Team.
Whales & Wildlife Sea Adventures Boat Trips
Join our experienced naturalists aboard the Atlantic Explorer for a ~2 1/2-hour boat tour to search for the whales, dolphins, seals, and seabirds that visit Virginia’s coastal waters in winter. Although sightings are not guaranteed, marine mammal species commonly observed include humpback whales, fin whales, minke whales, right whales, bottlenose dolphins, harbor porpoises, and harbor seals, along with a variety of seabirds and waterfowl such as Northern gannets and ruddy ducks.
Schedule: Trips will resume in December, and are subject to change due to boating conditions. Schedule may be adjusted dependent upon sightings.
Dolphin Discoveries Sea Adventures Boat Trip
Join us this spring, summer, and fall on an unforgettable 90-minute excursion aboard the Atlantic Explorer in an exploration for Virginia’s most common and charismatic marine mammal, bottlenose dolphins!
Each trip offers close-up observations of our marine environment and its inhabitants. When resources allow, we use a hydrophone (an underwater microphone) to listen for dolphins and whales. Trained Aquarium educators provide discussions about incredible natural dolphin behaviors, and share what is being done to conserve and protect the species and its habitat. Brown pelicans, bald eagles, and other seabirds are frequently sighted, along with sea turtles.
Schedule: Trips will resume in March, and are subject to change due to boating conditions.
Ocean Collections Sea Adventures Boat Trips
Curious about what lives in our coastal ocean waters? Take a 75-minute cruise with Aquarium educators to collect a variety of local fish and invertebrates and observe them up close aboard the boat. The catch varies seasonally, and some of the exciting discoveries may include seahorses, stingrays, blue crabs, keyhole urchins, and jellies. During this hands-on trip, you’ll have the opportunity to help work the trawl net, collect plankton, examine animals the temporary touch pool, and release fish back into the ocean.
Space is limited because of the hands-on nature of this program, and advanced reservations are highly recommended.
Schedule: Trips will resume in June, and are subject to change due to boating conditions.
In addition to following recommended responsible viewing guidelines, the Virginia Aquarium is also Whale SENSE participant. Whale SENSE is a voluntary education and recognition program for whale watching companies committed to responsible practices and whale conservation.
To ensure that space is available on the day and time you’d like to go, we do recommend purchasing your tickets in advance. You can do online, in person at the Aquarium’s Guest Services office, or by calling 757-385-FISH. Advanced sales may pick up their tickets at the Aquarium dock prior to the trip’s departure.