February 28, 2018

Finding Nemo at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Life Center

So we found Nemo at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Life Center, and that's all that mattered to our Nemo-obsessed toddler.

Even before the trip began, I had high expectations... and reservations. The aquarium admission price for an adult is by no means cheap, and after factoring in the other costs (Airbnb rental, food, gas), my thrifty side nearly scrapped the whole trip. But wanderlust prevailed, as did the toddler's increasingly-cute obsession with sea turtles and marine life.

We began our trip on Friday night after our commute home. All told, what should have been a 2.5 hour drive turned into 3.5 hours in the car, due to detouring south to avoid horrendous rush hour accidents in both Richmond and Newport News (any readers remotely familiar with Virginia can attest to the horror of tunnel traffic in Bad News and Norfolk!). We checked into our Airbnb rental at about 8:30pm with a very tired toddler and infant in tow. Leaving late on a Friday can be difficult with young kids, but with all our vacation days currently in limbo for a potential Germany trip, it's a necessity in order to maximize our weekends.

"I shall call him Squishy, and he shall be mine, and he shall
be my Squishy." - Dory
Our schedule for the weekend revolved around the aquarium. There was nothing else on our to-do list, which made for a more relaxing weekend than anticipated. However, I do wish I had made the six block trek to the boardwalk, but the allure of a mid-afternoon nap overcame any desire to brave the frigid breeze at the beach.

As for the aquarium itself, well, it was good, but not that good.

The sea turtle tank and the shark tank are understandably the biggest draws of the aquarium, with the glass tunnel featuring a manta ray, assorted coral fish, and Dory being a close second. The aquarium has thousands of residents, representing 300 species, and it really is a very enjoyable way to spend a few hours when vegging at the beach. However, in the future, we will likely invest the time to travel to the National Aquarium in Baltimore or the world's largest aquarium in Atlanta, for more bang out of our buck, as they're larger and yet comparably priced.

Nevertheless, it was a great weekend escape from the Virginia Piedmont region, celebrating hubby's birthday and enjoying a few adult beverages with good friends who sportingly came along for the ride and made it a great time of fellowship.

Do you like aquariums? What is your favorite marine creature?

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