Canada's largest aquarium presides over the city's beloved Stanley Park and houses more than 50,000 creatures from penguins to sea otters and three-toed sloths. Don't miss the star turns by Izzy and Rogue, two charismatic female Steller sea lions: rescued animals who swoop gracefully underwater and bask on sun-warmed rocks. (BC has a robust population of these mammals, but they're endangered in Alaska and their numbers have dropped by 80 percent worldwide since 1980.) The aquarium goes beyond 3D in its theater, introducing mist, scents, winds, and even lightening. It's also the headquarters of Ocean Wise, a global conservation iniative dedicated to increasing the understanding, wonder, and appreciation of our seas (ocean.org). More than 1,300 restaurants across Canada have signed on now, including many elite Vancouver eateries.
By Amanda Castleman, AFAR Local Expert
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Into the Sea at the Vancouver Aquarium
Opened since 1956, the Vancouver Aquarium has seen more than 35 million visitors and most have left with a deeper appreciation of Canada's unique aquatic life. Thanks to a dedicated and passionate team of biologists, nutritionists, and interpreters, it's possible to not only see incredible creates like Beluga whales and Sea otters, but to leave with a greater understanding of their habitats. As a self-supporting, non-profit association, the Aquarium is dedicated to effecting the conservation of aquatic life through display and interpretation, education, research and direct action. The aquarium is open daily from 10:00AM to 5:00PM. Admission costs $29 for adults and $20 for kids under 18. Contact 604-659-3400 for more information.
By Jeff Bartlett, AFAR Local Expert
The Vancouver Aquarium
While I was in Vancouver, a friend mentioned that there was a jellyfish exhibit at the Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park and suggested that I check it out. I decided to spend a whole afternoon at Stanley Park. I rented a bike from Spokes on Denman Street and biked along the Seawall toward the Aquarium. Once there, I meandered inside and visited all of the jellyfish tanks. I also fell in love with a rescued porpoise. The aquarium is a great place not only for kids and families but for adults too. The exhibit was amazing (I wrote a blog post about it here). Please note this particular exhibit has ended but there are always new exhibits at the Vancouver Aquarium.
By Arnette RTW
Rainy day must-do.
Raining? Vancouver Aquarium hosts many events through the days and evenings that highlight top seafood chefs in the City. See Oceanwise.com for more info.
Orange Jellyfish At The Vancouver Aquarium
On my first post-childhood visit to the Vancouver Aquarium, I was captivated by the tank of orange jellyfish surrounded with blue, a kind of living art.
By Kat Tancock
Aquarium, Science Centre and Sanctuary in one!
As far as Aquarium's go, Vancouver's has got to be one of the top in the world. It has been described as small, however what it lacks in size it makes up for with its dedication to conservation and ocean life. Half Aquarium, half research centre, Vanaqua is both amusing for small children wanting awe and adults wanting to learn more about ocean protection and wildlife. There are several different sections (from frogs to the tropics to a walk through Amazon zone [with sloths!]) each one promoting wonderful animals and ways to protect them. Along with being a research centre though, what also makes the Vancouver Aquarium unique is its rescue animals. With the exception of its belugas, all of the Aquariums larger marine mammals are rescue animals deemed non releasable to the wild. This ranges from animals beached when they were too young who didn't learn proper behaviours (such as the beautiful pictured harbour porpoise, Daisy), to dolphins maimed from fishing nets, to an otter who was shot in the face and blinded as a result. Were it not for the Aquarium, almost all of these animals would have died in the wild from their injuries. Thankfully though they now have a home in Stanley Park helping teach generations about their species and what we can do to help with their protection in the future! Family friendly of course, make sure to go early as it fills up fast! Also make sure to check their site for special events (like adult nights!) and promotions!
If you're in Stanley Park with kids you might want to check out the Vancouver Aquarium. Although I have mixed feelings about zoos and aquariums and other institutions that put animals on exhibit, the Vancouver Aquarium seems to do a good job of caring for their animals and of educating their spectators. I found the exhibition entitled, "Treasures of the B.C. Coast" particularly interesting.
The largest aquarium in Canada hosts fascinating exhibits on the marine habitats of the Canadian Arctic, and British Columbian coasts, plus an area with African penguins. Tanks teem with sea life such as blacktip reef sharks, Pacific fish, sea otters and white-sided dolphins, some of which you’ll get a chance to encounter up close. The aquarium also runs twice-weekly shark shows, daily feedings, behind-the-scenes tours and even overnight stays.
By Lisa Cheng
845 Avison Way, Vancouver, BC V6G 3E2, Canada
Sun - Sat 10am - 5pm