​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ As leaders in coastal and marine environmental conservation, research, and preservation, the Virginia Aquarium boat trips 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.

A portion of all ticket sales supports our education, research, and conservation initiatives.


Our boat tours have implemented new procedures for the safety of our guests, crew, and volunteers:

  • Guest capacity onboard has been reduced to allow for safe social distancing.
  • Tickets must be purchased in advance through online-only ticketing.
  • Everyone onboard ages 5 and over must wear face coverings while on the boat (inside and outside cabin).
  • The crew will undergo pre-boarding health screenings and carry out increased sanitation procedures.
  • Additional hand sanitizing stations available on the boat.
  • Some experiences that do not allow for social distancing may be restricted.

**Reminder: In accordance with the Virginia state mandate, guests ages 5 and over are required to wear a face covering while on the boat (both inside and outside of the cabin). Please bring your own face covering for your trip. Face coverings are also available for purchase from our gift shop.**


​Whale Watching Boat Trip

This 2-2.5 hour trip in search of whales, dolphins, seals, and seabirds brings you as close as possible to commonly observed species like acrobatic humpback whales and bottlenose dolphins, as well as an immense variety of seabirds and waterfowl. Other species that migrate into our coastal waters include fin whales, minke whales, critically endangered right whales, harbor porpoises, and harbor seals. Trips typically run from late November to early March. The Atlantic Explorer ​features a comfortable heated cabin, bathrooms, and snack bar with food and drinks available for purchase. Please remember to dress warmly for your boat trip during the winter months through April. While out on the ocean, move around the boat carefully and try to stay seated and hold on in case of unexpected motion.


 **Trips are weather-dependent.**
**Due to a CVB scheduled closure of Rudee Inlet, our 2 pm trip on Wednesday, January 13 has been canceled.**

January 6 - March 7:

  • 10:00 a.m. Saturday & Sunday
  • 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday

School Holiday trips:

  • January 18 at 2:00 p.m.
  • February 1 at 2:00 p.m.
  • February 15 at 2:00 p.m.

*All boat tours subject to weather conditions and schedule changes. Whale sightings are not guaranteed.


​Child (3-11)
​Infant (under 3)


Special Trips

The Aquarium, in partnership with Rover Cruises offers special trips during select times of the year. Reminder: New safety procedures listed above apply to all boat trips, including these specialty trips.  
No special trips are currently scheduled but check back in the new year!

Star Ship: Astronomy Boat Tour

January 21 | 7 pm

$49/person (Special Member pricing)

Escape light pollution to view the splendor of Virginia's night sky that can only be seen during an astronomical 2-hour boat tour! Your onboard astronomy educator will guide you on a tour of the Virginia skies, pointing out prominent constellations and other celestial bodies.  Face coverings are required for ages 5 and over.

This program is weather dependent.

Dolphin Watching Boat Trip

Join us for an unforgettable 90-minute excursion aboard the Atlantic Explorer in search of Virginia's most common and charismatic marine mammal, the bottlenose dolphin. Brown pelicans, bald eagles, and other sea birds are frequently sighted, along with sea turtles.​ 
While our Dolphin Watching trips are over for this year, check back in the spring for our 2021 schedule!

Ocean Collections

Curious about what lives in our coastal ocean waters? Take this 75-minute cruise with Aquarium educators to collect a variety of local fish and marine invertebrates and observe them up close ​aboard the boat. Watch as they work the trawl net and pull up discoveries that may include seahorses, stingrays, blue crabs, keyhole urchins, and jellies, and then release the animals back into the ocean. 
No trips currently scheduled.​​

Have a general boat trip question about the boat, what to wear, or when you should arrive? Take a look at the frequently asked questions here.​​​​