Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Public Programs

The Virginia Institute of Marine Science and its federal partners offer a wide variety of free public programs, both on the VIMS campus in Gloucester Point and at venues throughout Hampton Roads and the lower Chesapeake Bay region.

VIMS Park Programs

These interactive programs at local parks give the whole family the opportunity to get outside and have fun while learning about popular topics like sharks and jellyfish!  Visit our events calendar for details and upcoming programs.

After Hours Lecture Series

This monthly series of public lectures by scientists from VIMS and elsewhere explores hot issues facing Chesapeake Bay and the ocean. Learn more and register here.

Discovery Labs

These monthly labs provide hands-on opportunities for adults and children to explore selected aspects of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. Offered by the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve program at VIMS.

Inside to Seaside

This hands-on summer program gives families an up-close look at Chesapeake Bay animals through a visit to the VIMS aquarium area followed by an educational collecting and seining adventure on the nearby beach. All children must wear water shoes or sneakers that can get wet and muddy, and those under 13 must be accompanied by an adult. This program is free, but registration is required and space is limited. Register nowWaiver required (pdf).

Virginia Science Festival

The Virginia Science Festival is a state-wide event that provides opportunity for engagement and exchange between children, teens, families, and scientists. Register for science festival offerings at VIMS.

Marine Science Day

VIMS' annual open house is a fun-filled event for the whole family. Join us in Gloucester Point for exhibits, children's activities, seining, lab tours, seafood cooking demonstrations, mini-lectures, and more.

Public Tours

We offer guided tours of VIMS on select mornings during the summer months, as well as special group tours throughout the year. The tours are most interesting for adults and older children, and reservations are required.

Activity Days in VIMS' Visitor Center

Stop by the VIMS Visitor Center between 1:30 and 4:30PM on Wednesday afternoons June 10th through July 29th for special hands-on activities, an electronic photography exhibit, and an up-close look at animals that live in our waterways. No charge; no reservations needed. For additional information, call 804-684-7061.

Science Under Sail

This unique partnership between VIMS and Yorktown Sailing Charters LLC allows paid guests to learn about Chesapeake Bay and its marine life from VIMS researchers during two-hour cruises on the York River aboard the 105-foot schooner Alliance. The program typically runs from 2-4 pm on Wednesday afternoons in April and May. Visit our events calendar for details of the upcoming cruises. For details, reservations, and pricing information, visit

A Scientist Walks Into A Bar...

Join us at a local tavern for good food, good times, and good information as a VIMS scientist initiates a casual conversation on a relevant environmental topic. Visit our events calendar for details and upcoming programs.

Speakers Bureau

Invite VIMS faculty and staff for talks or other outreach activities at your school, club, business, community organization, or other venue. Call 804.684.7061 or e-mail [[programs]] for more information.

Mini-Schools of Marine Science

VIMS collaborates with public organizations and educator groups on "mini-schools" of marine science and policy for the general public and educators. Taught by VIMS faculty and staff, mini-schools provide an in-depth exploration of topical issues in marine science for non-scientists.

Seafood Symposia

The Chefs' Seafood Symposium is an annual educational program for culinary professionals, culinary students, and representatives from the seafood industry and related businesses. Participants leave with information, resources, and recipes to help them make more informed seafood choices as well as tastier dishes!

Technical Training

VIMS offers several programs designed to meet the needs of Virginia's coastal decision-makers. The Center for Coastal Resources Management (CCRM) at VIMS offers Tidal Wetlands Workshops in the spring and fall for members of citizen Wetlands Boards. The Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (CBNERRVA) at VIMS offers a Coastal Training Program that promotes science-based decision-making and targets identified training needs.

Maury Lecture Series

These lectures are aimed at a scientific audience but are open to the public. They typically take place on Friday, and begin with a reception at 3:00 pm in the Watermen's Hall lobby; the presentation follows at 3:30 pm in McHugh Auditorium.