The Vancouver Aquarium is an important marine research and education facility – and a tourist experience that simply must not be missed!
Situated in Vancouver’s densely forested Stanley Park is the city’s most popular visitor attraction – the Vancouver Aquarium. Vancouver is located within the Pacific Maritime Ecozone and the Aquarium (officially the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre) is about much more than just a fun tourist attraction – although it is that, in spades, too. I was lucky enough to be shown around after hours and I spent most of the time gasping in absolute wonder – darting from one exhibition to the next in excitement.
Opened to the public in 1956 the Aquarium was the first in Canada and is entirely self-supporting. It is an important centre for marine education and research, a marine rescue centre and the home of Ocean Wise®, the Aquarium’s nationwide sustainable seafood program, which works to raise awareness of sustainable seafood among restaurants, suppliers and consumers.
It is a non-profit society with an annual operating budget of more than $30 million, dedicated to marine conservation. The Marine Science Centre’s in-house scientists focus on applied research in the fields of ocean pollution, changes in coastal ecology, whales and marine mammals and the health of Canada’s West Cost.
The centre houses an education centre which is visited by more than 50,000 school children annually. It also contains the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre which treats approximately 150 marine mammals each year, and rehabilitates them for release back into their natural habitat.
Their sustainable seafood initiative, the national Ocean Wise seafood program, has more than 650 participating members across Canada providing ocean-friendly seafood alternatives to their customers.
But, for the general public, what the Vancouver Aquarium offers is dazzling and captivating insight into the marine life of the west coast of Canada – and the rest of the world. I found the exhibitions and galleries here to be stunning. Visitors will be fascinated by the tropic zone, the Arctic gallery and the Amazon display, or they can learn all about frogs and even touch a ray in the Discover Rays touch pool.
My photos are minimally edited, in fact mostly just cropped. The amazing colours are as the camera saw them (but a little grainy because of the low light) – I hope you enjoy them.
The Vancouver Aquarium is definitely a visitor experience not to be missed.