For those of us who’ve always wondered how seahorses mate, the Vancouver Aquarium proudly presents The Secret Sex Lives of Animals.
The adults-only, after-hours exhibit on Sept. 19 explores mating rituals of some of the Aquarium’s more than 70,000 creatures. It’s also designed to give grown ups a chance to wander the galleries and exhibits in peace without hundreds of kids racing madly from the otters to the belugas and the jellyfish.
Fitting of the sophisticated affair, wine and beer will be available, as well as canapes to munch on while you browse. Guests will be treated to an R-rated scientific talk from the aquarium’s staff vet, an interactive learning show with live animals (hopefully, G-rated) and a “seahorse romance” program to catch up on the challenges of aquatic mating.
You’ll also have the run of the place. All the usually crowded, kid-thronged exhibits will be open to peruse at your leisure. Visit the aquarium’s new penguins, reconnect with the belugas, get friendly with the Amazon critters and more. You can even get touchy-feely with anemones and the like in the wet lab and pop into the movie theatre to check out the latest 4D offering (3D plus sensory effects like wind, water and scents).
The aquarium joins Science World among Vancouver civic institutions using sex to lure in visitors. Science World’s recent Science of Sexuality exhibit explored the stages of human sexuality and featured ads so racy they were pulled from bus stops around the city.
Now, getting back to those flirtatious seahorses: Before breeding, male and female will dance together for several days. They swim side-by-side holding tails or hold onto the same strand of sea grass and wheel around in unison as part of the so-called “pre-dawn dance.” During mating, the female deposits up to 1,500 eggs into a pouch on the front of the male’s tail. In a switch of usual gender roles, the male then carries the fertilized eggs for 9-45 days until the tiny seahorses emerge.
And you thought Sex in the City was racy.
After Hours: Secret Sex Lives of Animals is Sept. 19, from 6 p.m.-10 p.m., at the Vancouver Aquarium. Tickets are $25.
For more updates on happenings in Vancouver and beyond, follow me on Twitter @RemyScalza.