Service Animals

The Aquarium welcomes service animals as defined in Title II of the ADA that are trained to assist guests with disabilities. Service animals must remain under the control of the owner or handler at all times while in Aquarium buildings and on Aquarium grounds. If a service animal is out of control or poses a direct threat to the health or safety of staff, guests, or animals in the Aquarium collection, we may require the service animal be removed from the premises; however, in that circumstance, we will work with all guests with disabilities to provide alternative accommodations. 

The Aquarium follows the Standards and Guidelines of the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums and other accrediting agencies, which restricts exposure to permanent resident animals from animals outside of our facility. Therefore, service animals are only allowed in public areas of the Aquarium. These quarantine policies help to prevent cross contamination and possible disease transfer to our animal collection. Should you need alternate assistance to enjoy a Behind the Scenes tour which allows access to restricted, non-public areas of the aquarium where service animals cannot enter, please contact Guest Services at 757-385-0300 and we will make every effort to provide reasonable accommodations to allow participation in these specific programs. 

Please note: Aquarium staff shall not be responsible for the care or maintenance of service animals while on Aquarium property.

Admission for Guests with Disabilities

The Aquarium complies with ADA regulations, which include a requirement that the Aquarium provide equal access to exhibits, programs, and services to individuals with disabilities. There are no special admission rates for guests with disabilities. Organizations that support people with disabilities may qualify for group rates if they arrange for a group visit in advance. Some organizations also may qualify for assistance through our Access Aquarium fund that subsidizes admission costs for organizations serving youth and adults from low income backgrounds. Please direct questions about these opportunities to the Guest Services office. Group rates and Access Aquarium funds do not apply to individuals.

Caretaker Admissions

One caretaker is admitted at no charge if he or she is working with a guest who is visiting the Aquarium, watching a movie in the National Geographic 3D Theater, or enjoying a boat trip on the Atlantic Explorer.

A caretaker is defined as a required medical attendant without whom the guest could not tour the Aquarium, enjoy the movie, or take a boat trip. The disabled guest may request an additional caretaker be admitted at 50% of regular admission.