VIA Aquarium FAQ

How long does a visit to VIA
Aquarium take?

We recommend
giving yourself 90 minutes to 2 hours to get the full experience, but tickets
are good for the entire day of purchase so guests are encouraged to take
advantage of that.

 

How long are memberships good
for?

Memberships to
VIA Aquarium are good for 365 days from the day of purchase.

Is VIA Aquarium accessible?
Yes, all of our
exhibits are accessible.  However, some of our add-on programs like Behind
the Scenes Tours and Stingray Feedings may not be accessible for all.

Do you offer wheelchairs?
We have some
transport chairs available to borrow for free from the Admissions Desk on a
first come first served basis.  VIA|Port also has traditional wheelchairs
available at their Guest Services desk.

Do you have strollers available?
We have a couple foldable umbrella strollers available to borrow, but we
recommend bringing your own.

 

Are food and drinks allowed in VIA Aquarium?


For the safety of our animals and exhibits, as well as safety of other guests,
we do not allow food, drink, or gum inside VIA Aquarium.  The only
exceptions are special events hosted by VIA Aquarium

 Do
animals in the aquarium ever have babies?

YES!  Our Seahorses and African
Chiclids in particular have had multiple batches of offspring.  If you’re
lucky, you may even be able to catch some of the babies or juveniles out on
display.

 

How
do you prevent the sharks/gar/piranha/etc. from eating other fish?

Keeping the animals fed on a regular
schedule helps the most with this.  If an animal isn’t hungry, there are
very few reasons for them to attack another animal.  Not to mention, being
fed is much easier than catching your food.  Wouldn’t you rather spend
every meal with a chef and waiter preparing everything for you instead of
having to do it yourself?

 

So
there are never any attacks in the aquarium?

While we would love to say yes, that
isn’t true.  Even in a perfect world, animals will attack each other to
show dominance, establish territory; even some mating behaviors can leave
wounds on the partners.  So unfortunately despite anyone’s best efforts,
injuries can occur.

 

What
do you do when an injury occurs?

We take the health and safety of our
animals very seriously.  When an injury does occur, we assess to see what
is best for the animal to heal.  For some animals, healing on display is
much less stressful than catching the animal, moving it to quarantine, and
moving it back out to exhibit.  Other times, it is better to bring the
animal off exhibit to heal in more specialized conditions.

 

If
an animal is off exhibit does that mean it’s injured or dead?

No, there are many reasons to take an
animal off display.  They may be sick, pregnant, too big for their current
exhibit, or may need a break from daily interactions.  Sometimes we have
the opportunity to show a new exhibit, like the Chain Sharks that were hatched
by Berlin High School, and we will move an animal to the back temporarily to
allow room for the new exhibit.

 

But
didn’t you used to have a (or different) octopus, lobster, trigger fish, etc.?

Very possibly.  And just like we’d
love to say injuries never occur, we’d love to say the same for deaths. 
Unfortunately some of our favorite animals, like cephalopods (octopus and
cousins) don’t have very long life spans.  This means that by the time
they are generally big enough to be put on exhibit, they have already lived
half or more of their life.

 

Other times, some animals are just too
big for our exhibits and we need to find them new homes with other
aquariums.  Our leopard sharks are actually an example of an animal
getting too big for their exhibit; that’s how they came to be with us!

 

Does
being in a touch tank hurt the animals?

When treated with care and
understanding, no it doesn’t.  As long as guests follow the instructions
of our Educators, there should be no harm to the animals or our guests.

 

There have even been recent studies
that say Stingrays in touch tanks are no more stressed than stingrays in the
wild, and many seem to actually be less stressed and happier!

 

Isn’t
it wrong to take animals out of the wild from our pleasure?

It certainly can be.  We do
everything we can to work with companies that captive breed and/or sustainably
harvest their stock to ensure minimal impact to the environment.  Some
animals, like the Lionfish, are actually incredibly invasive species and are
routinely culled to save the ecosystem. By putting them on display, we are
actually saving them. We also participate in programs such as the Grow and
Release Program through the DEC.  In this program, a hatchery born lake
sturgeon is placed in our care until it is big enough to thrive in the
wilderness.

 

It is our mission to connect people to
the world beneath the water and the best way to do that is by seeing and
feeling that world in real life.  We do our best to ensure our animals
are healthy and well taken care of so more people will grow up to care about
these animals and their environments.  If that means a guest grows up to
believe that having animals in captivity is wrong, we understand their
beliefs.  If they became that passionate about sea life because they fell
in love with it at VIA Aquarium, we will gladly take that as a compliment.

 

WHAT DOES MY FIELD TRIP TO VIA AQUARIUM ENTAIL?
After being greeted by our education staff your school group will participate in a self-guided tour of the aquarium grounds. Students are encouraged to engage in our interactive displays and various touch tank areas. Groups who choose to add a reptile program should expect to spend an additional hour within the aquarium. If your group needs extra assistance of any kind please let us know ahead of your visit.

WHAT TIMES ARE AVAILABLE FOR FIELD TRIPS?
Online bookings are available every 45 minutes between 9am and 1:30pm, Monday through Friday. Reptile presentations may be reserved online at 9:45, 11:15, and 12:45. If these times do not work for you or appear unavailable please give our reservationist a call or email at 518-280-5100 x102 / reservations@viaaquariumny.com – we will do our best to find a time that works!

ARE THERE RESTRICTIONS ON GROUP SIZE?
To receive the school group rate field trips must have 15 or more individuals. There must be at least 15 students to book a program. Groups of over 125 individuals will have to be split into separate bookings, or otherwise arranged directly through our reservationist.

WHAT GRADE LEVELS ARE MOST APPROPRIATE FOR A VISIT AND/OR PROGRAM?
VIA Aquarium is perfect for students of all ages!  While self-touring the aquarium guests will have the opportunity to learn both beginner and advanced information about the vast biodiversity of our planet’s aquatic ecosystems! Our reptile program targets grades 3+ and is tailored to be age/grade appropriate in its educational content.  Stay tuned for updates as we develop more programming across various age ranges.

HOW DO I SCHEDULE A FIELD TRIP TO VIA AQUARIUM?
You can book a reservation here, just hit the link!
You can also contact our reservationist at 518-280-5100 x102 or reservations@viaaquariumny.com.

HOW FAR IN ADVANCE SHOULD I SCHEDULE A FIELD TRIP?
We recommend scheduling field trips with a program no less than 2 weeks in advance and self-guided trips at least 1 week in advance. Online dates become no longer available within a week of the visit date. For late bookings please contact our reservationist directly.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BRING MY CLASS TO VIA AQUARIUM?
School groups may tour VIA Aquarium at the discounted rate of $10 per student, $12 per non-faculty chaperone, and teachers are free. One free bus driver is allowed for every 20 students. College group visits are $12 per student on weekdays and $15 per student on weekends. Including a program adds an additional $4 charge per person (excluding teachers). Children under 4 years old are always free.

WHAT FORM OF PAYMENT IS ACCEPTED WHEN BOOKING A FIELD TRIP?
VIA Aquarium accepts cash, all major credit cards, and checks made out to “VIA Aquarium.” When booking online you will have the choice to pay in full with a credit card or to be invoiced before your visit. Payment is required on or before the day of your trip. Group admission must be paid in one (1) transaction.

MAY STUDENTS BRING A LUNCH?
Students may bring a lunch but eating is not permitted within the Aquarium. Rooms may be available for group lunch within the nearby VIA Entertainment at no additional cost – please let us know ahead of time if you hope to use this space. As the aquarium is within the ViaPort Mall there are also tables available at the food court a short walk away.

IS THERE A PLACE FOR OUR STUDENTS TO PLACE THEIR COATS / LUNCHBOXES / ETC?
Yes – we will provide bins with which students can store their belongings until the end of the trip.

We will continue to edit, add, and update these sections. 

Who are sleepovers available to?

Any group that meets the minimum requirements; birthday parties, Scout Groups, Camps, families, etc.

 

Are sleeping materials provided?

No, for hygienic reasons, we don’t provide sleeping mats, sleeping bags, or blankets.

 

Where do guests sleep?

We highly recommend sleeping in front of our exhibits, but some groups choose to sleep in our theater.  Depending on group size, it can be up to the guests.

 

What movies are available?

The licensing company we work with has a wide variety of titles available, from recent DVD releases, to classic films, and educational features.

 

Is there a discount for VIA Aquarium members?

 

Yes!  For guests that are members we discount the cost of admission.

We will continue to edit, add, and update these sections