January 12, 2024

Virginia Aquarium’s South Building Opens to the Public on Jan. 14

The exhibits feature 16 species in a newly renovated and expanded facility.

Otters at Virginia Aquarium

Virginia Beach residents and visitors will be able to enjoy new, immersive experiences with interactive exhibits, kids’ play areas, touch pools, a veterinary care center, water quality lab and much more when they explore the Virginia Aquarium’s newly renovated South Building when it opens on Sunday, Jan. 14.

Throughout the nearly 20,000 gallons of exhibit space, guests will be introduced to species new to the Aquarium including the Pacific sea nettle jellyfish, decorator crab, mantis shrimp and cuttlefish. Joining our new friends will be the return of some old friends – the North American River Otters.

Pacific Sea Nettle Jellyfish at Virginia Aquarium

Brand-new exhibits put the superheroes of the marine world front and center in addition to a moon jelly touch pool, highlighting the lifecycle of a jellyfish. Don’t worry – the barbs on the jellyfish in our touch pool are harmless to humans!

The Windows Into Animal Care Gallery offers guests of all ages an opportunity to observe real-life animal examinations on occasion and a look at the water quality testing lab through viewing windows. Kids and adults can play the role of a veterinarian or field biologist in the nearby interactive exhibit, mirroring the work of the dedicated professionals who care for the 200+ species that are housed in the Aquarium.

In the warmer months, an outdoor playground area features hands-on activities, teaching the role of watersheds in the environment and the impacts that humans have on our waterways.

In addition to the exhibits, the building has an education hall for schools to use on field trips and an outdoor amphitheater with elevated seating for up to 200 people for events, programs and entertainment.

The Aquarium is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Plan your visit and purchase tickets today at VirginiaAquarium.com!

Virginia Aquarium South Building Lobby

The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center’s mission is to connect people to the marine environment, inspiring a more sustainable future. The Aquarium aspires to be a driver in conservation, education, tourism, and sustainability, leading the charge to save wildlife and their ecosystems. Owned by the City of Virginia Beach, the Aquarium operates as a city department in partnership with the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center Foundation. The Aquarium is proud to be an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquarium, and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, supports the work of the Virginia Aquarium. The Foundation procures and maintains the Aquarium's exhibits, including the animals and habitats. It is also responsible for annual and capital fundraising, administration and funding for the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Program, conservation and scientific research efforts, and the Aquarium's mission-related education programs. You can be a part of our mission by making a tax-deductible donation to support our programming.

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