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.

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Multimedia Resource Center

Explore videos, teacher resources, and photos we've developed to provide insight into our research and to educate about our coastal and estuarine ecosystems.

Public Lectures

Check out our After Hours Lecture Series!  Educational talks given by scientists from VIMS and elsewhere explore hot issues facing the Chesapeake Bay and the ocean. Learn more and register.

Discovery Labs for Families

Come explore with your kids at Discovery Labs!  These free, family-friendly programs are provided each month by the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (CBNERR-VA) at VIMS. 

Designed with elementary-aged youth and their parents in mind, each lab focuses on a different topic related to the Chesapeake Bay and our local environment and includes exhibits, demonstrations, and hands-on activities as well as a short presentation by a VIMS scientist. For information about upcoming labs and to register for a lab, visit our events calendar.

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.


Guided Tours of VIMS are offered to the public from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM on select week days each month. During these 2-hour guided tours you will receive an overview of VIMS, a guided tour of our Visitors Center, and you will visit two of our research laboratories where you will talk with our scientists. Each date offers visits to different laboratories—so you’re welcome to join us for more than one tour! Tours are designed for adults. Children must be at least 9 years old to attend. Space is limited and registration must be completed at least two days in advance. For tour dates and information and to register for an upcoming tour, visit our events calendar.

Groups of 12 or more may schedule a private tour. Visit our Group Tours page to learn more about private tours.

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.

Find a Speaker for your venue

VIMS scientists are available to speak to your club, business, community organization, school, or other venue. Visit our Speakers Bureau page to learn more.

Seafood Symposia for culinary professionals

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 for decision-makers

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 (CBNERR-VA) at VIMS offers a Coastal Training Program that promotes science-based decision-making and targets identified training needs.