​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Since 1989, our boat tours have been staffed by knowledgeable marine educators engaging in responsible viewing practices, research, and conservation.

Tickets must be purchased in advance through online ticketing only.

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


Dolphin Watching Tour

Join us for an unforgettable 90-minute excursion aboard the Atlantic Explorer and experience an unforgettable journey in search of Virginia's most common and charismatic marine mammal, the bottlenose dolphin. If you are ready to find adventure, make memories, and inhale the fresh air, then come let the salty ocean mist kiss your cheeks and the offshore breezes fill your lungs. Learn from our knowledgeable educators about our other Virginia coastal animals like majestic seabirds, curious sea turtles, and unique fish species. Book a tour soon, breathe deeply, and find adventure again! Dolphin sightings are not guaranteed.


The times shown below are the scheduled launch times. 

Tours are weather-dependent and passenger safety is our primary concern. On occasion, we have to make changes to our schedule and we will do our best to keep this page updated on changes.

Unfortunately, due to predicted unfavorable conditions, the September 17 boat tour at 2:00pm has been canceled.

September 7 - 30
  • 11:00am Saturday and Sunday
  • 2:00pm Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday
  • 4:30pm Wednesday and Saturday
October 1 - 24
  • 11:00am Saturday and Sunday
  • 2:00pm Sunday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday (plus a special tour on October 11)

​Child (3-11)
​Infant (under 3)
​FREE a reservation is required
​FREE a reservation required
​FREE a reservation required


To ensure the best experience and for the safety of all onboard our boat tours: 

  • Tickets must be purchased in advance through online ticketing only.
  • Plan to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to your scheduled departure time to allow for check-in.
  • Facial coverings are required for all unvaccinated passengers (2 and older) and while inside the cabin, facial coverings are required for all.*
  • Hand sanitizing stations are available on the boat.

*Facial coverings are available for purchase from our gift shop.


Whale Watching Tour

No trips are currently scheduled.

This 2-2.5 hour tour 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. Tours 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 tour 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. Whale sightings are not guaranteed.

Ocean Collections

No trips are currently scheduled.
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. ​​

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