The following photo essay was contributed by Vancouver photographer Dave Roels (www.daveroels.com) as part of our Behind the Scenes in Tourism series.
The Vancouver Aquarium in beautiful Stanley Park is one of the best places to visit whether you are a tourist or local resident.
I contacted Dr. John Nightingale, the Vancouver Aquarium’s president, to see if he would allow me to go behind-the-scenes and take a few photographs for the Behind The Scenes In Tourism series on the Inside Vancouver blog. Dr. Nightingale passed me along to Roxanne St-Pierre in communications who suggested three areas to photograph.
My first stop was the research area. Observing the numerous tanks and water pipes, one realizes how much research goes on at the Aquarium. Seeing the beautiful displays and the colorful fish swimming is a feast for the eyes. Both the professional and volunteer staff I met during my time behind-the-scenes are passionate and enthusiastic about their work.
At the beluga whale kitchen, the daily allowance of food is carefully measured out by the staff. Frozen fish are allowed to slowly defrost. In the morning the fish go into tanks of cold water for final separation and sorting into each whales’ meal container. The quality of the fish is the very highest. A one year supply of fresh frozen fish is stored in their on-site and off-site freezers.
Over at the turtle area a staff member is preparing the fish and vegetables for Schoona. This turtle is smart and well trained. Schoona knows exactly what time it is and shows up for feeding without having to be called. Schoona swims into the holding area next to the shark tanks and then the feeding begins. I was amazed to see Schoona eat romaine lettuce, red pepper, zucchini, and of course some fish. I called it “turtle salad”.
The Vancouver Aquarium’s website is first class. They have some excellent photographs and you’ll find information on all their events, activities and exhibits. You can even schedule a behind-the-scenes sleepover and bed down in front of one of the Aquarium’s spectacular marine galleries. How cool is that!
The new Penguin Point exhibit is now open. Seeing what I saw and knowing that anyone can take a journey behind the scenes, it would be well worth it to take out a family or individual membership. Once you explore their website and then visit the Aquarium, you know that you will want to go back again and again.