The Vancouver Aquarium at Stanley Park is one of Vancouver’s top attractions with all its fish, sea otters, walruses, 4D theatre and various exhibits.
The Vancouver Aquarium
Rain or shine, year-round the Vancouver Aquarium is one of Vancouver’s most popular tourist attractions (although do bring an umbrella if it’s raining as half the things to see are outside).
The Vancouver Aquarium isn’t cheap, but it’s a good one. To help you justify the high cost – at between around $30 and $40 for adults depending on the season – remember that it is a non-profit organization and that they do a lot of conservation, research, rehabilitation, education and other valuable initiatives. Children under 5 get into the Aquarium for free. Also, they have a really cool 4D movie theatre, so be sure to check that out along with all their regular marine animal shows.
If you have been to the Vancouver Aquarium before but not for a while, then go again – a lot has changed in the last little while.
About the Aquarium
A number of factors make the Vancouver Aquarium as popular as it is. For example, it is Canada’s largest aquarium, and one of the five largest in North America.
Since opening in 1956 as Canada’s first public aquarium, the Vancouver Aquarium has grown dramatically, with over 100,000 square feet of area today, 1500 staff and volunteers, 50,000 animals, and hundreds of thousands of visitors per year. The Vancouver Aquarium is also a world leader in environmental education, research and conservation.
Conservation and Education
The Vancouver Aquarium prides itself on its conservation and education efforts. The Aquarium is a tourist attraction but that is second to its efforts in animal rehabilitation and visitor education. Areas of focus for the Aquarium include rescue and rehabilitation of animals, plastic wise education of the public and world class marine life research to benefit future conservation efforts.
Things to See at the Aquarium
There are lots of things to see and do at the Vancouver Aquarium. In addition to the 4D theatre and displays featuring tens of thousands of fish, there are daily sea otter programs, shark talks and more.
New to the aquarium in the past year are the walruses Balzak and Lakina. Be sure to check out these amazing animals and see how adorable and ginormous they truly are.
TIP #1: As it’s located in the middle of Stanley Park, consider spending part of the day touring the park and then part of the day at the Aquarium. If you still have hours remaining, the parking ticket you pay for at the aquarium is valid at other places throughout the park. Be aware though, the Aquarium does recommend a full day to get the full experience at the Vancouver Aquarium.
TIP #2: Get there early so you can see more of the programs and feedings. Also, don’t miss the 4D show (and don’t wait until the last showing in case it fills up). For the 4D shows, show up 15mins prior to a show time to get prime seating and make sure everyone in your group is with you or else you will not be allowed to line up.
TIP #3: The Vancouver Aquarium isn’t cheap, but it’s worth it if you like looking at fish and other marine life. To save money, you can bring your own food and snacks to have there or outside in the park as a picnic (or buy from the concession stand if you want the convenience and to support the Aquarium). Families from the area might also consider getting memberships which are paid off in just a few visits.
Tip #4: Do not bring straws or outside drinks into the Aquarium. They will be confiscated for the safety of the animals. Also be aware that all children’s bikes, scooters or skateboards will be kept at the entrance of the Aquarium and you will not be able to enter with them.
Tip #5: The Vancouver Aquarium is a environmentally friendly facility with many different ways of disposing of waste, read each waste bin carefully and put everything in its right place to help the environment.
Tip #6: Be sure to spot the sloths in the Amazon before you leave the aquarium. They are our one of our favourite animals at the aquarium.
The Vancouver Aquarium hosts temporary exhibits that tend to change every year or two. In previous years, an exhibit where visitors could pet stingrays was very popular. At the end of 2018 a new exhibit called the Vortex was put on display, replacing the stingrays. This art exhibit was created by the Canadian artist Douglas Coupland. It transports visitors to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and shows the terrible effects plastic have on our oceans. This educational and startling exhibit hopes to educate visitors on the harmful effects of plastic and ways to prevent this from happening in the future.
Special Events at the Aquarium
From time to time the Vancouver Aquarium hosts special events. Sometimes there are fancy fundraising dinners and other times adults-only evenings and even family sleepovers.
One of the most popular special events is during the Christmas season when the Aquarium gets decorated, holiday films are shown in the 4D theatre, and Santa (a.k.a. Scuba Claus) entertains people and swims with the fish.
For details about the Aquarium during the Christmas season, click Holiday Traditions and Scuba Claus.
For a list of other events of interest throughout the year, see the Aquarium’s Event Schedule.
For more information, check out the Vancouver Aquarium‘s website.
For a list of other places to visit, click Top Vancouver Attractions.