Almost all the top 10 attractions as well as things to do will mention about the Vancouver Aquarium, which reveals how popular this underwater world is! Nestled in the downtown’s green highlight called the Stanley Park, this marine center is not only a tourist attraction, but is also a research, rehabilitation, and conservation center. Officially named as the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre, this non-profit organization is the home of educational, diverse, and family fun events as well as interactive exhibits.
In and out of the aquarium
With 70,000 animals as well as more than 150 exhibits, the aquarium is not only the largest of its kind in Canada but is also a leading marine conservation and education centre. Families come to prefer here especially on rainy days to really have that typical marine experience that is risky to have on the beaches in those days. The exhibitions are held both indoor and outdoor, which are organized as per the geographic areas.
Indoors, you will come across the marine life that belong to the coast of British Columbia as well as the Georgia Strait, sea turtles as well as sharks from the Tropic Zone, and an a multitude of animals of the Amazon. On the other hand, the outdoor exhibits are comparatively more famous as they display the big mammals such as the white-sided dolphins, Beluga whales, sea otters, and Stellar sea lions. The giant tanks here are equipped with indoor viewing windows facilitating the viewing of these aquatic creatures not only from above, but also from below the water. Besides the exciting Beluga whale tank, look for the latest addition named Tiqa who was born here in 2008.
Among the galleries, the Pacific Canada Pavilion indoor adjacent to the entrance is the home of fishes as well as invertebrates of the Georgia Strait, while the Arctic Canada shows the Beluga whales with a myriad of non-living displays. The Treasures of the BC Coast shows us the different BC coast environments and houses sea stars, Octopi, urchins, Rockfish, and anemones. The Amazon Rainforest is an exciting exhibit of fresh water fish, birds, sloths, snakes, and caimans. To see frogs and more amphibians, explore the Frogs Forever? Gallery, while the Tropic Zone will reveal blacktip reef sharks, fishes, and a green turtle – Schoona. Outdoors, the Wild Coast is a series of pools exposing three otters, three Pacific white-sided dolphins, harbor porpoise, and BC invertebrates in the touch pools for touching them along with the harbor seals, fur seals, and sea lions.
The Canaccord Exploration Gallery is where your kids can attend a classroom equipped with computers, artifacts, and live animals. Besides, you can spot jellies and other animals. One more highlight here is the 4D theatre and the ‘Clownfish Cove’ – the children’s play zone.
Greet the white-sided dolphins who are just 14 or 21 years old namely, Spinnaker, Hana, and Helen all from Japan. Kavna (whitest), Imaq, Qila, Tiqa, Nala (youngest), and Aurora are the beautiful Beluga whales here. Otters are very young here who are just 4 to 9 years old namely, Milo, Tanu, and Elfin. Stellar sea lions are named Eden, Tasu, Mara, Izzy, Roque, Yasha, Willow, and Ashby.
Besides the Dolphin shows, Animal Encounters will show you all about training as well as feeding the Beluga whales, otters, dolphins and others. If you have time, grab the chance of Sleepover that involves staying over night in the aquarium to sleep amidst the animals and to touch the live sea stars, anemones, and sea urchins.
The main highlights here are underwater Beluga gallery, 4D Experience featuring a wild adventure amidst mist, scents, wind, and lighting, and behind-the-scenes for extra cost with the animal trainers.
9:30 am to 4:45 pm
Best time to visit
Before 11 am or after 2:30 pm, as it is much quite
Adult – $21
Child (4 – 12) – $13
Minimum 3 hours
The Vancouver Aquarium is very much crowded in summer and on weekends, especially after the birth of Nala. So, be ready to face the crowds. With a stroller, maneuvering around might become difficult with a stroller.
Reaching the aquarium
You can come here by biking, walking, or driving. Even a public transport is just fine. From the downtown, your walk will take just 15 to 20 minutes, if you start from the Hotel Vancouver or from the corner of Robson and Howe. Biking is a great way to explore the city with bike racks existing outside the aquarium. Parking is offered near the aquarium if you are driving your own vehicle. If you wish to come via the public transport, catch #19 Bus running along the West Pender Street.
Further reading: Best 5 Amazing Aquariums In The World