The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre located in Stanley Park is a public aquarium that is run by a self supporting not for profit organization. Apart from being a major tourist attraction in Vancouver, the aquarium is also an important center for marine research, conservation and marine animal rehabilitation.
Currently, there are about 56 species of amphibians and reptiles, about 30,000 invertebrates, and 300 species of fish in the Vancouver Aquarium. In addition, it is home to three Pacific white-sided dolphins and six beluga whales, not to mention around 60 mammals and birds. Spread over 100,000 square feet, the aquarium uses 2.5 million gallons of water for its 150+ aquatic displays.
Tourists are captivated by the sights of performing dolphins, captivating otters, white whales, powerful sea-lions, sea stars, soft corals, and sea urchins and the different pavilions in the aquarium have different and interesting aquatic exhibits.
The Pacific Canada Pavilion
The Pasific Canada Pavilion is the central exhibit inside the aquarium and it has a huge tank that has 260,000 liters of water. You can’t miss it since it is right next to the entrance. Here you can see aquatic life from the Strait of Georgia is displayed in the exhibit. If you are interested in the beluga whales, the Arctic Canada gallery is your destination
The Wild Coast Pavilion
The Wild Coast Pavilion is located outside the aquarium and on permanent display here are harbor porpoises and sea otters. This pavilion also has quite a few “touchpools” where you are allowed to actually touch and feel invertebrates from British Columbia. You can also spot other species like harbor seals, northern fur seals, and Steller’s Sea Lions but they displayed in turns. When they are not on display, they are transferred to their habitats which are not accessible to guests.
Treasures of the BC Coast
Treasures of The BC Coast is a gallery that recreates the habitat found on the coast of British Columbia and among the animals housed here, you will find octopi, anemones, and rockfish. The Tropic Zone treats you to the sights of blacktip reef sharks and green sea turtles while the Amazon Rainforest pavilion introduces you to snakes, caimans, fresh water fish, birds, sloths, and other creatures native to Amazon environs.
Cannacord Exploration Gallery
Also worth a mention is the Canaccord Exploration Gallery which has a children’s play area “Clownfish Cove.” There are also several classrooms for groups from various educational institutions, including the wet lab education room. Children are sure to enjoy their classes at the Vancouver Aquarium.
Whether your purpose is brush up some educational facts about aquatic life or to simply have fun looking at fish and dolphins swimming around freely in their habitat, Vancouver Aquarium offers you both. A trip to this place is an eye opening experience since you learn so much about life underwater, something you may not usually spare much thought too. However, this is an interesting way to know about a whole new world.
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Featured Image: Lik Kin Au