There’s snow on the North Shore mountains and a nip in the air. ‘Tis the season . . . for Scuba Claus.
The Vancouver Aquarium is bringing back its popular underwater Santa this year as part of Luminescence, perhaps the world’s only aquatic-themed holiday light show.
From Nov. 22 to Jan. 22, the aquarium will be transformed with displays dedicated to showing how sea creatures create and reflect light.
Apart from Scuba Claus (who’s not a sea creature but a diver in full Santa suit), the stars of the show are the aquarium’s resident electric eels. Their charges will be set to activate a stunning overhead display of 100 origami jellyfish – meticulously folded over the course of three months in collaboration with origami artist Joseph Wu. Known as Jelly Swarm, the display pulses with light and colour in time with the eels’ natural electrical charges.
Other exhibits throughout the aquarium illustrate the wonders of aquatic light in action. You might encounter sea anemones fluorescing under special blue light. Or you can visit the real jellyfish display downstairs to see moon jellyfish and lion’s mane jellyfish and Pacific sea nettles pulsing rhythmically in spectacularly backlit tanks.
To add a bit more holiday feel, the aquarium is also showing The Polar Express in its special 4-D theatre (which projects 3D movies and adds extra sensory effects like wind and scents). The original 2004 Tom Hanks animated film has earned a cult following over the years, as much for the memorable storyline as for the eerily lifelike animations. The 4D show takes it up a notch: You’ll feel wind on your face, touch snow with your fingertips and even smell hot chocolate in the air.
Luminescence at the Vancouver Aquarium runs from Nov. 22 to Jan. 22. The show is included with the price of admission: $21 for adults; $16 for youth 13-18, students and seniors; and $13 for children 4-12.
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