Marine Science Day

  • Visitors' Center
    Visitors' Center  Visitors enjoy the exhibits, aquaria, and life-size models in VIMS Visitors' Center during Marine Science Day.  
  • Scallop Eyes
    Scallop Eyes  From L: Madeline Allburn, Isabella Weiner, and Clare Allburn learn what it's like to see the world through the eyes of a scallop during Marine Science Day at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.  
  • Underwater Robot
    Underwater Robot  Chris Petrone (far L) watches as visitors drive a mini-robotic submarine during Marine Science Day. Petrone is a Marine Education Specialist with the Sea Grant program at VIMS.  
  • Touch Tank
    Touch Tank  Visitors examine a spider crab taken from the Visitors' Center touch tank.  
  • Fish Tagging
    Fish Tagging  Jon Lucy (L) explains fish tagging to two young visitors. Lucy is a Marine Recreation Specialist with the VA Sea Grant program at VIMS.  
  • Bottom Dwellers
    Bottom Dwellers  VIMS graduate student Treda Smith talks about weird and wonderful bottom dwellers during Marine Science Day  
  • Fish Printing
    Fish Printing  Young visitors practice their fish and scallop printing in the Children's Pavilion.  
  • Fish Prints
    Fish Prints  A selection of the fish and scallop prints created by visitors to Marine Science Day.  
  • Seafood Cooking Demo
    Seafood Cooking Demo  Kelly Turner, Chef Instructor at the Culinary Institute of Virginia (L), joins with Sea Grant Seafood Education Specialist Vicki Clark (2nd from L) to serve scallops during a Seafood Cooking Demonstration.  
  • whalen.jpg
     VIMS grad student Matt Whalen (L) shows a visitor how to use a microscope to view the small shrimp-like crustaceans that inhabit local sea grass beds.  
  • Hidden Pipefish
    Hidden Pipefish  Visitors learn about camouflage by counting pipefish hidden within sea grass.  
  • DNA
    DNA  Wendi Ribeiro, a graduate student in the Marine and Aquaculture Molecular Genetics program at VIMS (L), shows young visitors how to prepare samples for DNA analysis.  
  • Blue Crab
    Blue Crab  A young visitor examines a blue crab.  
  • Blue Crabs
    Blue Crabs  Visitors learn about blue crabs.  
  • Aquarium Display
    Aquarium Display  A visitor examines an aquarium display.  
  • Zooplankton
    Zooplankton  Kate Ruck shows a zooplankton sample to a visitor. Ruck is an incoming graduate student.  
  • TEM
    TEM  VIMS professor Wolfgang Vogelbein (C) instructs Porter Doughty (L) and Michael Luck (R) in the use of the transmission electron microscope (TEM).  
  • Green Screen
    Green Screen  A pair of young visitors prepare for the Virtual Scientist "green screen" activity. Results of this “Scientist for a Few Seconds” activity will soon be available on the VIMS YouTube channel (  
  • Cake
    Cake  Gummi worms and fish occupy the "seafloor" as part of a hands-on activity in which visitors take "sediment cores" from a chocolate layer cake.  
  • Sediment Cores
    Sediment Cores  Visitors take "sediment cores" from a chocolate layer cake.  
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     The "seafloor" following sediment coring. Unlike real sediment cores, these cores were good to eat.  
  • Acrobat
    Acrobat  Graduate student Daniel Maxey (R) explains how VIMS scientists use the Acrobat sensor to measure dissolved oxygen in Chesapeake Bay.  
  • Fish Collection
    Fish Collection  Graduate student Dan Dutton (C) describes a specimen from the VIMS Fish Collection.  
  • Seine Net
    Seine Net  Visitors check their seine net for marine life.  
  • Algae
    Algae  A young visitor gets a hands-on feel for green algae.  
  • Shark
    Shark  Logan Miesowitz of Hayes becomes a shark.  
  • Mapping
    Mapping  VIMS scientist Tami Rudnicky explains the intricacies of mapping to 3rd-grader Jasmine Tomson of Gloucester.  
  • Seine Net
    Seine Net  Visitors draw their seine net from the York River.  
  • Parade Prep
    Parade Prep  Students from Yorktown Elementary prepare to march in the Parade of Marine Life.  
  • SCUBA Divers
    SCUBA Divers  Ben Malmquist (L) and Caleb Richardson (R) dressed as SCUBA divers for the Parade of Marine Life.  
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     Students from Yorktown Elementary march in the Parade of Marine Life.  
  • Scallop and Anglerfish
    Scallop and Anglerfish  Hannah Mclean (L) and Sarah McGuire of the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve program at VIMS show off their scallop and angler fish costumes following the Parade of Marine Life.  
  • Deep-sea Fish
    Deep-sea Fish  VIMS graduate student CJ Sweetman shows a deep-sea fish to a visitor.  
  • Best of Show
    Best of Show  Monet Wilson, a 6th grader at Peasley Middle School in Gloucester, won Best of Parade for her seahorse costume in the Parade of Marine Life during Marine Science Day at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science on May 30.  
  • Oyster Hatchery
    Oyster Hatchery  Researcher Karen Hudson (R) explains the workings of the VIMS Oyster Hatchery. Hudson is with the Aquaculture Genetics and Breeding Technology Center at VIMS.  
  • Scallops
    Scallops  Hannah McLean (R) talks about scallops. McClean is with the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve program at VIMS.  
  • Waiting for Waders
    Waiting for Waders  Scott Lerberg (foreground) helps visitors don their waders before seining. Lerberg is Stewardship Coordinator with the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve program at VIMS.  
  • Dip Net
    Dip Net  A young visitor uses a dip net to search for marine life in the York River.  
  • Seining
    Seining  Visitors seine for marine life in the York River.  
  • Tire Pressure
    Tire Pressure  Sandi Buchheister of Hayes (L) looks on as VIMS professor Rebecca Dickhut (R) checks her recommended tire pressure.  
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VIMS' annual open house is a fun-filled event for the whole family. Join us in Gloucester Point for exhibits, children's activities, seining on the York River, lab tours, a seafood cooking demonstration, mini-lectures, and much more. All activities are free, as is parking. The event takes place rain or shine.

Marine Science Day 2018 will take place on Saturday, May 19th.

Register now!
The first 100 people to register will receive a free, Marine Science Day reusable shopping bag when they check-in on May 19th. 
Costume Contest

Create a marine-themed costume to participate in our Marine Science Day Costume Contest. Everyone, every age, can participate by creating original costumes of marine plants or animals. Individuals and groups are welcome. Ribbons are awarded for most original plant or animal, most creative use of materials, best group costume, and best representation of a plant or animal. The overall winner will earn a $50 gift certificate to VIMS' Gift Shop. Register here.

Visit our Flickr and YouTube pages to view wonderful costumes created and worn by individuals and groups in past years.

Artwork Contest

Design the artwork for Marine Science Day 2018! Winning artwork will be used on the Marine Science Day T-shirt and in other promotional materials. This year's theme is Healthy Waters and artwork should depict the important of healthy waters, what healthy waters mean to you, or how scientists study the health of waterways. 

Entry deadline is Thursday, March 15, 2018 by 4:00PM. View contest rules and entry form here.

Food and Gifts

Marine Science Day T-shirts and other clothing and memorabilia will be for sale in the VIMS Gift Shop. T-shirts will also be available in the Welcome Booth. Hot sandwiches, snacks, and drinks will be available near the Children's Pavilion.

MSD Offerings
Wacky Science Photo Booth

Images from the 2017 Wacky Science Photo Booth are now available to view on the VIMS Flickr page!

VIMS in the Bay and Around the World

Ocean research takes VIMS scientists from Poquoson to the Poles. Learn about efforts by VIMS researchers in Chesapeake Bay to manage blue crabs, restore oysters, survey fish populations, unravel biodiversity, monitor water quality, and find and remove "ghost" crab pots. Also learn about our international work in Antarctica and the deep sea. These exhibits are located in Watermen's Hall and Chesapeake Bay Hall and are open continuously from 10 am - 3 pm.

Open Labs

Tour working laboratories to learn about the latest tools and techniques of marine research. Scientists lead the tours and will explain their current research.

Activities & Tours

Learn and have fun with crafts and other activities in our Children's Pavilion. Tour our Teaching Marsh, Shellfish Hatchery, and Riparian Forest. Collect, observe, and learn about estuarine organisms from the York River. Write about all the happenings as a reporter for the Marine Science Day News!

By the Clock

In addition to our day-long activities, we offer a series of events that begin at specific times. These events include 10-minute Fast Talks, a seafood cooking demonstration, and more. The Program of Events will be available online closer to the date of the event.