VA Aquarium

Y'all... I won't lie. I have a little bit of a love/hate relationship with the aquarium. I've got several problems. I hate driving the 40 minutes or so it takes me to get there. During the summer it attracts lots of tourists, and during the winter it has lots of field trips. Also, it is EXPENSIVE. An adult admission is $24.95 and a child is $19.95. (Kids under two are free.) That's a lot of money for what they say is 2.5 hours of exhibits. If you do decide to go, look into the membership. They have advertisements outside saying that's worth it if you go twice. However... of all the places I have taken R, this has been the most where he has looked at an exhibit and been actually interested. So I guess this means we will have to come again. I might even ask for a membership for R's birthday next year.
The museum is made up of several different sections. There is a bay and ocean section, a marsh section, a few touch tanks, a room with animatronic giant bugs and a creek path. There is also a 3-D theater for an extra cost. What I didn't know the first time that we went was there are actually two buildings. The nature path takes you to the second building which has river otters, snakes, turtles, and a Native American exhibit. They do have a play area, but it was closed when we went.

Don't overlook the nature trail. (Like I did the first time! Whoops! I don't know how that happened. We didn't know there were two buildings either the first time. I guess I wasn't paying attention.) On it we found places to walk out over the water and even a playground that opened at 11:00. The trail goes under the Adventure Park which is great for older kids and adults. Boat trips are also available from the aquarium for an extra fee. If you have a toddler or preschool aged child, aim to go on a Tuesday. With the price of admission children are invited to attend Toddler Tuesdays where they are read a story, they sing a song, and sometimes will see a puppet show. These range in times from 10:00-12:30 and last for thirty minutes, so be sure to check the website before you go. 
Another tip, I know I've said this before.. but if you have a membership to anywhere, look and see where you have reciprocity. We got in free for a month because of our zoo membership, so we were able to go twice without having to pay. I'm hopeful that next summer will have the same deal because although I do hate all of the things I said above, it's totally worth it to see the look on little man's face when we walk through the tunnel and are surrounded by blue water and colorful fish. 

P.S. Check out this article- it's about how zoo's and aquariums prepare for hurricanes. Lots more to do I ever thought about! Who knew?