Virginia Aquarium Announces New Partnership with National Geographic

Thursday, January 08, 2015

The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center will begin 2015 with a new partner for its newly refurbished Giant Screen Theater – National Geographic. The Aquarium’s new National Geographic 3D Theater will celebrate its official “film cutting” ceremony with National Geographic representatives and invited guests Jan. 14 at 10 a.m. Guests will also be treated to the showing of “JAMES CAMERON’S DEEPSEA CHALLENGE 3D.” Christina Symons, PhD, who was the science coordinator for the DEEPSEA CHALLENGE expedition, will introduce the film and then offer a question and answer session about the project.

National Geographic Studios President of Distribution Mark Kartz said, “We are absolutely thrilled to have Virginia Aquarium as the newest National Geographic branded theater in the country, and are excited for all the ways we can bring the National Geographic brand to Coastal Virginia through this partnership.”


Virginia Aquarium Executive Director Lynn Clements said, “The beauty of having National Geographic as a partner is that their science values are totally aligned with ours – conservation through education. Our hope is that National Geographic’s international reputation will help increase our annual visitation reach beyond current levels. This will expose more people to learning about the world in which we live and inspire them to take ownership in preserving it. Additionally, increased visitation benefits the community with more jobs and economic vitality for the City of Virginia Beach, the Hampton Roads area and the Commonwealth of Virginia.”


The Aquarium Theater was added as part of Phase II of the Aquarium’s growth in 1996 – just 10 years after the Aquarium’s initial opening. Since then the theater has showcased hundreds of 3D and regular films, mostly nature related. The large format film of the past has been replaced with digital technology and this sparked the Aquarium’s total renovation of the theater equipment and furnishings as well as selecting National Geographic as a partner. The theater renovation includes:

  • A new digital system which offers flexibility as an open platform for showcasing a wide variety of digital media.
  • The silver screen was replaced with a giant white screen. It accommodates the maximum projected image of 78 ft. wide by 43 ft. tall.
  • There are new interior furnishings such as colorful carpeting and stair treads.
  • 261 larger more comfortable seats plus 6 handicapped spaces.
  • Digital sound system which could even work in a 2,000 seat arena!
  • Significant savings with operating costs and reduction in energy usage.

“DEEPSEA CHALLENGE 3D” will initially have five showings a day, Jan. 14 to 17, when various prizes will be offered to selected viewers. A radio remote will also offer free ticket giveaways. The new film is a companion to the full-length feature documentary of the same name released in August 2014.


The theater is located in the Aquarium’s Bay & Ocean Pavilion at 717 General Booth Boulevard.  Admission tickets may be purchased at either building or online at Movie admission for 40-minute films are: $9 for adults; $8 for children (ages 3 – 11); and $8.50 for seniors. Combination discount tickets for movie and Aquarium admission are available. Shorter films cost $5 each. Movie schedules and descriptions can be found at or by calling (757) 385-FISH.