Across Virginia
Eastern Shore

Dolphin Watch

Many people have seen dolphins in aquariums, but even the best aquarium experience cannot compare to seeing these beautiful creatures in their natural environment.

The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, located in Virginia Beach, offers a dolphin watch excursion during which participants have the chance to view dolphins as they frolic in the ocean.

The excursion consists of a 90-minute boat ride that departs from the Virginia Beach Fishing Center at Rudee Inlet.

You’ll enjoy a lovely ride out to where dolphins are known to frequent. While sightings are not guaranteed, most of the trips do produce an impressive dolphin encounter.

Often the dolphins will swim right up alongside of the boat for several minutes, jumping from the water and seeming to enjoy putting on a show for their audience.

Photography and videography is allowed, and some lucky passengers capture fabulous shots. If you don’t, you can purchase some pictures from past excursions below deck.

Drinks and light refreshments can also be purchased while on board.

During the dolphin watch excursion you are free to move about the boat. You can sit on the top deck, in the small dining area or on the main deck.

The main deck is the best place to be during dolphin encounters because you will be closest to them. The view of dolphins from the main deck is still quite good.

During the entire journey a guide will be addressing the passengers over the intercom. In addition to pointing out dolphin sightings he will also give some local history and point out any other wildlife that may be seen.

This is a fun and memorable activity for the entire family.

Want to Go?

When: Dolphin watch excursions are offered seasonally from April through October. Exact dates for the dolphin watch excursions are subject to change, so you will want to check with the Aquarium prior to your visit.

Note that if you visit Virginia Beach during the winter months, the Aquarium offers a Winter Wildlife Boat Trip. During this winter trip some lucky visitors have seen whales.

Tickets: You can buy tickets at the dock or you can purchase discounted tickets with your admission to the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center. The address for the Aquarium is 717 General Booth Boulevard, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23451. The address for the dock is 200 Winston Salem Avenue Virginia Beach, Virginia 23451.
Cost: Tickets are $21 for ages 12 and up and $15 for ages 4 to 11.
Call 757-385-FISH (3474) for more information.

Stored in Attractions and tagged

Kiptopeke State Park

Photo Credit: Virginia Dept. Conservation & Recreation

Kiptopeke State Park is located just a few miles from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel on the state’s gorgeous Eastern Shore. It has everything that you’d expect from a park located so close to the sea: great fishing, boating and breathtaking views.

The park, at just 562 acres, is smaller than some of the other Virginia State Parks, but there are still about four miles of great hiking and biking trails. The fishing is great, and special fishing clinics are available to help attain the best possible catch. In addition to the fishing clinics, other special programs, such as guided hiking and canoe lessons and excursions are also available.

All of these features are wonderful, but the best thing about the Kiptopeke State Park is the birds. Birdwatchers flock from all over the state to get a glimpse of some rare species, including many birds of prey. Some bird species live in the park throughout the year while others just pass through.
Kiptopeke State Park is such a rich birding area that it is home to a yearly bird population study.

The study, sponsored by the Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory, captures birds, records vital information, bands the birds and then releases them back into the wild. If you’re interested in volunteering for the bird study at the park, contact the Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory for more information on how to get involved.

Even if you don’t become a volunteer, this is one of the best state parks for bird watching. You can certainly explore on your own, but the park also offers special bird watching excursions and classes. Different species are more common at different times of year, but the population studies take place from August to November. If you want the best chance at seeing raptors then a visit sometime from September through November would be your best bet.
Primitive camping is offered seasonally, but you can stay overnight in the park anytime by staying in the Lodge. Pets are welcome in the Lodge, but there is a fee of $10 per pet, per night.

Kiptopeke State Park Basics
Parking: $2 weekdays, $3 weekends
Boat Launch fee: $3
Cabin/House Prices: Varies by cabin type and season, call for more information
Handicap accessible: Some areas of the park, including the camp store, are accessible by wheelchair
Pet-friendly: Yes, but pets must be kept on a leash at all times and there is a fee for overnight pets
Public bathrooms: Yes
Located at 3540 Kiptopeke Drive Cape Charles, Virginia 23310
Call 757-331-2267 for more information

Stored in Recreation and tagged ,

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