Queue up the "Gilligan's Island" theme song...
Climb aboard a large (and heated) boat, and be on your way to mingling with all things winged and finned. As you sail along the ocean, aquarium staff will narrate the trip and show you interesting sea creature artifacts.
Regarding the winged creatures, you'll likely see cormorants, pelicans and northern gannets. As for the finned ones, whales are not guaranteed to be spotted -- whales like privacy, too -- but your chances are highest from December to March. That's when the whales are completing their Atlantic migration, making it the best time of year for photo ops.
Whales also love to nom on the small schools of fish and anchovies near the bay -- some may even breach and flap their tails. Dress warmly, bring binoculars and don't forget your camera.
Boats leave from the Virginia Beach Fishing Center at Rudee Inlet (200 Winston Salem Ave., Virginia Beach, Va., about 210 miles southeast of downtown D.C.)
Through March 18, expeditions leave Thursdays and Fridays at 2 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays at noon. Tickets
are $28. Call (757) 385-FISH for more information.
If you want to make a weekend of it, opt for a package that includes two nights' hotel stay, admission to the aquarium, IMAX Theater tickets, and the Winter Wildlife Boat Trip.