Vancouver Aquarium Welcomes Visitors Back with Favourite Exhibits and New Features

Vancouver Aquarium Reopening Event; Photo: Vancouver Aquarium

When the beloved Vancouver Aquarium closed its doors in September 2020, the whole city was heartbroken. The news that the Aquarium has been saved and is now open again is very exciting, both for locals and visitors to Vancouver.

Fortunately, the best of the Vancouver Aquarium is returning, along with some new features that will educate and fill you with wonder about the vibrant marine life found in the world’s oceans.

In April of this year, the Vancouver Aquarium was purchased by Herschend Enterprises, who committed to continuing and building on the stellar local work that the Aquarium has done for the past 65 years, particularly in terms of ocean conservation and community engagement and support.

The Vancouver Aquarium proudly reopened this week, inviting you to experience again all that the facility has to offer as well as discover for the first time its new additions.

Photo: Vancouver Aquarium

Here are 5 reasons to visit the relaunched Vancouver Aquarium:

New Marine Mammal Rescue Exhibit

Photo: Vancouver Aquarium

The Vancouver Aquarium contains the only marine mammal rescue centre of its kind in Canada, making it a particularly special place. The new Exhibit gives you an insider’s tour of one of the biggest rescue facilities globally and the important work that it performs. The rescue facility takes care of up to 150 marine animals annually, with a mandate of giving them the attention and rehabilitation that they need so that they can return back to their life in the ocean. While getting them back to the wild is always the primary goal, some of the rescues find a permanent home at the Aquarium if Fisheries and Oceans Canada considers them to be non-releasable due to injury or age.

At this new Exhibit, you’ll be able to learn more about the Rescue Centre, as well as the fascinating stories of the marine mammals they tend. You’ll see seals, sea lions, and otters and find out more about the staff and volunteers who are engaged in this inspiring rehabilitation work.

New 4D Experience Movie: Octopus

Photo: Vancouver Aquarium

The 4D experience takes watching a movie to the next level with effects like mist, scents, lighting, vibration, and wind to make you feel like you are literally present in what is appearing on screen. It’s truly thrilling! The 4D theatre is now presenting a new film, Octopus: Blue Planet II, which will take you on a journey underwater to meet octopus. Fans of the BBC Series Blue Planet II will adore this film with gorgeous oceanic landscapes as well as exciting sequences showing octopus evading their pursuers, such as the pyjama shark.

See 65,000 Creatures

Photo: Vancouver Aquarium

The Vancouver Aquarium is the place to discover the sheer diversity and vibrancy of marine life. With nearly 65,000 creatures, the Vancouver Aquarium has so much to explore and learn about – inviting you to return again and again. A visit will include seeing crab, rockfish, sea turtles, clown anemonefish (“Nemo”), blacktip reef sharks, sea lions, seals, otters, jellyfish, and many, many more.

Explore Over 30 Different Exhibits

Photo: Vancouver Aquarium

There is so much to do and see at the Vancouver Aquarium, with over 30 themed and often geographic-focused exhibits that give you an immersive feel of underwater and above water life. Some of the more popular ones include Penguin Point, where African penguins (Spheniscus demersus) waddle, play, swim, and eat. The exhibit, modeled after Cape Town’s Boulders Beach, gives you 180-degree sightlines of these fascinating creatures. Unfortunately, this species is endangered in the wild; thus, this Exhibit aims to raise awareness about their plight and the need for conservation.

Also, a must-visit is Steller’s Bay, where sea lions lounge, swim, and make their quintessential roars. The setting transports you to a west coast fishing village and gives you an above water, as well as clear underwater view of these magnificent creatures. And because Steller’s Bay is an active research centre, you’ll learn extensively about the role of sea lions in their natural ecosystem.

Other exhibits range from the Pacific Coast Pavilion, which provides a two-level view of Strait of Georgia marine life, to the Graham Amazon Gallery, which celebrates the Amazon’s incredible biodiversity, with animals like sloths and birds such as scarlet ibises.

Playful Learning for Kids

Photo: Vancouver Aquarium

What makes the Vancouver Aquarium such a fabulous, world-class facility is its deep commitment to learning and research. Young visitors will receive an education in sustainability and come away with an appreciation of the many creatures that inhabit local and global waters. Kids are, after all, future stewards of the oceans. The Aquarium makes learning fun with areas like Clownfish Cove, geared for children eight and under, where they will find out about marine rescue work in an interactive, playful way. Budding animal technicians will discover the rewards and importance of conservation efforts. Many other areas of the Aquarium invite active learning.

Enjoy a Meal that is Sustainable and Healthy

Photo: Vancouver Aquarium

You can truly make a visit to the Aquarium an all-day adventure, with a stop at their three food venues. The Courtyard Café & Coffee Bar provides light meals and drinks while the Upstream Bar + Grill gives you great views of the sea lions at Steller’s Bay. Both outlets provide food that’s perfect for the whole family – healthy and sustainable. The Marine Market is accessed via Stanley Park, left of the Aquarium’s entrance, and includes vegetarian items. All seafood served at the Aquarium is sustainable, as determined by Ocean Wise, a conservation organization that the Aquarium helped to establish and continues to support.

Photo: Vancouver Aquarium

Clearly, there is much to see, experience, and learn about at the newly launched Vancouver Aquarium. For the safety and comfort of guests, animals, and staff, an online reservation system has been implemented to manage capacity and the ability to physically distance. More information about the Vancouver Aquarium and tickets can be found online. The Aquarium is open every day from 9:30am to 5:30pm.

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