City of Virginia Beach & Foundation Partnership

The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center is a collaboration between the City of Virginia Beach and the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center Foundation.

The City of Virginia Beach owns and maintains the Aquarium's buildings and grounds, and provides administrative support for such services as accounting and human resources.

The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center Foundation procures and maintains the Aquarium's collections, including its fish and animals, habitats, and interactive exhibits. The Foundation is also responsible for annual and capital fundraising, the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Program, conservation, and scientific research efforts, as well as all of the Aquarium's mission-related education programs.

Many Tools for a Single Goal

While the Virginia Aquarium rests securely in the partnership between the City of Virginia Beach and the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center Foundation, it carries out important mission work its many branches. The Virginia Aquarium is a multifaceted organization, with each arm diligently working to reach the single goal - to inspire conservation of the marine environment.

Research & Conservation

The Virginia Aquarium is at the forefront of marine conservation research in both direct involvements and through global partnerships. From AZA initiatives like the Species Survival Program and SAFE, to coral restoration work with SECORE and university projects, the Aquarium plays a vital role in this important work.

Stranding Response Program

Our brand new Darden Marine Animal Conservation Center (DMACC) features state-of-the-art labs, rehab facilities, and holding facilities for quarantined animals. Our nationally recognized Stranding Response Program carries out its work of responding to, evaluating, and when needed, rehabilitating stranded marine mammals and sea turtles.

Education & Outreach

We are dedicated to providing educational resources for teachers, parents, and students of all ages. We develop learning opportunities centered around conservation, marine life, and connecting to nature. Our Education Team develops programs to meet a variety of curriculum and learning needs and offers programs onsite, in the schools, and virtually.

Animals & Exhibits

Discover the amazing underwater world at one of the country's finest Aquariums as you explore over 800,000 gallons. Experience thousands of animals representing over 300 species, displayed in state-of-the-art and educational habitats. Enjoy hands-on exhibits and a marshland nature path. Travel an aquatic journey from the shore to the depths of the Atlantic Ocean and experience coastal habitats from around the world. The Virginia Aquarium is ready to enchant and inspire you!

Our Executive Team​

Meet the Executive Team for the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center.

Cynthia Whitbred-Spanoulis

President and CEO

Cynthia Whitbred-Spanoulis

Caryl Thompson

Chief Operating Officer

Caryl Thompson

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Chief Financial Officer

Mary Anna Twisdale

Sasha Durandetto

Chief of Staff

Sasha Durandetto

Dr. Allyson McNaughton

Chief of Veterinary Services

Dr. Allyson McNaughton

Suzanne Savage

Chief Development Officer

Suzanne Savage

Sean Murphy

Business Analyst

Sean Murphy