Behind-the-Scenes Summer Fun

If you’re looking for a fun outing for kids, family, friends or even a date this summer, try one these unique or immersive experiences.

Pal Around with Predators: Sharks Behind the Scenes
Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
Virginia Aquarium guests come face to face with these toothy predators every day at the popular Norfolk Canyon Aquarium exhibit with its immersive, floor-to-ceiling view of the Aquarium’s Sand Tiger Sharks. But you can get an entirely new perspective on these incredible creatures with the Sharks Behind the Scenes experience, which costs $30 per person for non-members and $25 for members. From a unique vantage point above the shark exhibit, aquarists will share their knowledge of sharks, including their diet and behaviors, facts unique to the Aquarium’s residents, and information about the Norfolk Canyon itself, which lies deep in the Atlantic Ocean nearly
60 miles off the coast. Learn more at

Get Closer to the Coasters: Roller Coaster Insider Tour
Busch Gardens Williamsburg
If that surprise vertical drop inside the darkened Busch Gardens’ Verbolten coaster gets your heart racing every time, why not see how the magic happens behind the scenes? The Williamsburg theme park’s Roller Coaster Insider Tour starts with a “lights on” look inside the Verbolten special effects building, control rooms and maintenance areas. Four coasters are included in the tour as is priority ride time. Prices start at around $60. Some other behind-the-scenes opportunities at Busch Gardens include How to Coexist: An Inside Look, with the park’s resident wolves, and the Bürgermeister’s Hideaway Cocktail Experience, featuring a chef-curated libation and uniquely immersive bar experience. Learn more at

Spend the Night on the Wisky: Overnight on the Wisconsin Nauticus & The Battleship Wisconsin
Get a taste of what it was like for the crew members aboard the largest and last battleship built by the U.S. Navy. The Battleship Wisconsin is now berthed next-door to Nauticus and open for tours with admission. But did you know you can spend the night on the Wisconsin? It’s an experience that includes the opportunity to chat with Navy volunteers and retirees, tour areas of the ship not open to the public, sleep in the original berthing, and enjoy breakfast in the Officers Wardroom. Adult and family overnights are $120 per person. Nauticus, meanwhile, is undergoing an exciting redesign as part of its “Reimagine Nauticus” campaign, the first phase of which opens this year. Learn more at

You Really Otter Try This: River Otter Experience
Virginia Living Museum
These adorable semi-aquatic mammals can be found swimming and frolicking along our local rivers, lakes, streams, marshes and coastal shoreline in their natural habitat. But Moe and Molly, the two Northern River Otters that called the Virginia Living Museum home, will be happy to teach you a little bit more about their cute carnivorous friends with a behind-the scenes experience. Learn what Moe and Molly love to eat, how enrichment activities keep them mentally and physically healthy, and even get a chance to feed them. Due to the needs and welfare of these amazing animals, this tour is subject to change. Learn more at

Have a Hot Night on the Town: Glass After Dark
Chrysler Museum of Art Perry Glass Studio
The Perry Glass Studio at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk is currently undergoing an exciting expansion that will triple its size to include three hot shops, dedicated classrooms, and a theater that seats 200. But you can still enjoy all this world-class facility has to offer in the meantime, including their monthly Glass After Dark events at which mesmerizing glassblowing demos are paired with live entertainment for a sure-fire good time after the museum is typically closed. Molten glass, mood music and perhaps and adult refreshment for good measure—sounds like a hot date to us. Prices for Glass After Dark are $12 for Chrysler Museum members and $15 for non-members. Learn more at

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