Military members and their families are now eligible for complimentary admission passes to the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center as part of the Snyder Military Appreciation Program, a joint effort sponsored by Checkered Flag Auto Group and the Virginia Aquarium.

The Snyder Military Appreciation Program was made possible by a $2 million grant from Ed Snyder, the late founder of Checkered Flag Auto Group, and will provide complimentary Virginia Aquarium admission passes to active duty military and their families on an annual basis.

Beginning this week, active duty military can contact the USO of Hampton Roads and Central Virginia to request the complimentary passes for themselves and their families. There are 3,000 admission passes available on a first come, first served basis.

“My father was a long-time supporter of the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, and had tremendous respect for our military,” said Steve Snyder, Ed’s son and president of Checkered Flag Auto Group. “I am so very proud that this grant will help men and women in uniform get to spend quality time with their families, exploring one of our region’s true gems and one of my dad’s favorite places, the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center.”

“We are thankful for members of our community like Ed Snyder, whose dedication to his passions were so strong that they continue to help our community and our facility,” said Cynthia Spanoulis, President and CEO of the Virginia Aquarium. “We are honored that Steve Snyder has continued his father’s important work to provide these experiences to our military, and we hope that this program continues well into the future.”

About the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums whose mission is conservation through education. The Aquarium is located at 717 General Booth Boulevard, just south of Rudee Inlet in Virginia Beach. For more information on exhibits, movies, boat rides and special events, call (757) 385-FISH (3474), (TDD 385-4305) or visit