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Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center Reviews

Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center

Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center

Virginia Beach, VA
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Reviews

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4.3 out of 5 rating
4.3 out of 5 rating
9 Reviews
85% recommend it
  • Quality of service
    4.4 out of 5 rating
  • Average response time
    3.7 out of 5 rating
  • Professionalism
    4.3 out of 5 rating
  • Value
    4.4 out of 5 rating
  • Flexibility
    4.4 out of 5 rating

Awards

9
Weddingwire
4.3/5 9 reviews
Google
4.4/5 14142 reviews
  • Krystal
    Krystal Sent on 01/21/2019
    5 out of 5 rating
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    Dream Come True

    Everyone we encountered throughout the planning process and day of were absolutely amazing! Very professional staff and the guests loved the venue!
  • J
    Jessica Sent on 06/07/2012
    5 out of 5 rating
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    The Aquarium was a wonderful spot to have a reception. We wanted a family friendly wedding and that is what we got. Even the adults loved watching the sharks and sea turtles and petting the sting rays. The food was great and the service went off without a problem. Stacey and Cecilia were even flexible enough to change the plans of our wedding a few times until we were happy with the way the event went. This is a perfect place for anyone who wants a fun location with more than just a dance floor.
  • K
    Kendahl Sent on 05/01/2015
    4.8 out of 5 rating
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    We wanted a nice simple but fun wedding with just family and close friends but when family is actually pretty big its hard to find a place at a decent price...The aquarium did it for us. They are taking care of everything but the cake and decorations and pretty much all we have to do is show up.
  • illustration stars

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  • User1018269 Sent on 11/16/2012
    4.8 out of 5 rating
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    Beautiful, inexpensive venue. I have to admit that due to a staffing change, response times were sometimes slow, but our wedding day went off without a hitch, and Lisa, the catering manager, was wonderful at anticipating things we would need before we would even think of them. She and her staff added personal touches to our wedding that made it better than I could have imagined.
  • Heather
    Heather C. Sent on 12/09/2018
    4.6 out of 5 rating
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    Very Good Experience

    This venue was amazing and had plenty of activities and options. We just decided to go with another venue so we could do an outside caterer. Wonderful team to work with though!
  • User1305469 Sent on 08/28/2013
    4.5 out of 5 rating
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    Beautifully put together and amazing speed
  • Lauren
    Lauren H. Sent on 01/02/2020
    4 out of 5 rating
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    Unforgettable experience

    Don't be fooled by the lower marks we gave for Flexibility and Responsiveness; we couldn't be happier with how our aquarium wedding turned out. It was utterly unique, and frankly still seems a bit unreal: our guests were able to browse nearly all of the aquarium exhibits during our reception, our ceremony was held on a catwalk above a sting ray touch tank, and our reception room featured floor-to-ceiling windows. The catering coordinator, Lisa, did her best to accommodate our specific requests, and her day-of assistance was absolutely on-point. She was a whirlwind who made everything come together, which was no small feat considering our specialized New Year's Eve ceremony and our lack of a wedding coordinator. The food was objectively some of the best I've had at any wedding (herb-crusted catfish, gouda farfalle mac & cheese, portobellos with quinoa, exceptional popcorn), and the chef worked with us to make a last-minute change to the menu. The staff were professional and friendly. Honestly, I couldn't imagine a better setting or execution of the wedding itself, and we will forever be grateful to the aquarium for their support. All of this at a price (just over $3000) that was less than many, if not most, of the other venues we surveyed in Virginia. We wish we could give 7 stars out of 5 for Value and Quality of Service.

    With all of those positives in mind, there are challenges associated with the venue that we wish we would've planned for more thoroughly. First and foremost (and the primary reason we gave a 3 out of 5 star rating for Flexibility) is the inherent limitation of the space: the aquarium is open 9-5 to the public most days of the year, so the wedding preparation can only take place in a very limited time. For us, the tables in the reception room were set up with linens in the hours before our rehearsal, so we had about an hour on the day of our rehearsal and about 3 hours the day of the wedding to decorate that space. We only had about an hour to decorate the ceremony space. If you want a wedding with extremely personalized rehearsal and ceremony spaces that will take hours or days to prepare, this isn't the venue for you. A dedicated wedding planner would be a huge help to coordinate all the setup while the bride and groom are doing other things (e.g. pictures). That being said, the venue is so stunning that it really doesn't need any additional decoration. We had a stressful setup, but it all came together and looked superb in the end.

    Additionally, another reason for the average Flexibility rating is the limitation of caterer (only Sodexo) and alcohol (only in-house). Again, our food was fantastic and the alcohol prices and quality were consistent with industry standards, but this isn't the place to bring in your favorite food trucks and cases of wine from Costco.

    The slightly lower ratings for Responsiveness and Professionalism has to do with our somewhat muddled interactions with Lisa in the time leading up to the wedding. Lisa listened to and implemented our requests at every step in the planning process, and she was fantastic during the wedding itself. However, the planning felt somewhat disorganized; some deadlines were missed, some questions and answers were repeated, and a few details were lost right up until the wedding. Some of this could admittedly be on us, and it's another reason we think a planner probably would have been worth it: Lisa did a lot to help us with the process, but she doesn't have the proper systems in place to make everything run as smoothly as it could've given the inherent challenges of the space (i.e. limited setup time) to account for. A few Google Docs or Google Forms with FAQs and information/lessons from past weddings would've gone a long way to helping us bypass some issues. Again, it all worked out and we're quite happy with Lisa in the end, but the road to that result could have been much easier.

    Overall, we would highly, highly recommend a wedding at the aquarium; the costs were extremely reasonable for the exceptionally unique experience that is offered. We loved it and can't wait to celebrate our anniversaries there!
  • H
    Hayley Sent on 09/27/2016
    3.4 out of 5 rating
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      3.5 out of 5 rating
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    Booking the venue was easy - however, communicating with the catering supervisor was extremely difficult leading up the event. Most responses were "I'll email back tomorrow" and then we would receive an email back two weeks later. Furthermore, many responses did not include answers to the questions we asked, and the information she did provide was contradictory and confusing. Due to this unreliable communication, our final menu was not decided until days before the event.

    Despite the difficulties and frustration leading up to the event, the catering supervisor was very accommodating the night of the event as we had to make an unexpected change in the start time. We really appreciated her understanding for that sudden change.

    Overall, the event ran smoothly and we had a great time. We loved being able to bring in our own dessert and our guests loved the venue (with the exception of the pirate ship driving by and yelling at us while someone was giving a toast... and the two cockroaches crawling up the wall during another toast). The biggest issue during the event was the screen/slideshow - my maid of honor spent the entire rehearsal dinner working with various people trying to figure out how to work the AV system to show a slideshow... and it never worked. She started working on it as soon as the guests went into the room for dinner and she didn't get a chance to sit down and eat, which was upsetting because we were weighing venues based on whether or not they had a screen and we ended up not having one. Besides those issues, it was a wonderful night. We love the Aquarium!
  • Grace
    Grace M. Sent on 09/17/2019
    2.2 out of 5 rating
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    No responce

    Man, let me just say I was so excited to find out that we could potentially have our wedding at the aquarium -its one of my favorite places. Unfortunately, that delight diminished as the time went on without a reply for them. Once they FINALLY reached out, they said they would be unavailable for that date. That was totally fine, no problem, yet I still requested the information on prices due to our date being flexible. AGAIN, never got a reply. So unfortunate to have experienced such unprofessionalism in regards to getting a response from the or prices.
    Other than that, I can't really say much!

    Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center's reply:

    Please accept my apology for not responding to you sooner.
    You are now considering the date of Sunday, October 18, 2020 and that is open, presently. I would like to send you the Wedding Information.
    With kindest regards,
    Cecelia