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What to “sea” at the newly reopened Vancouver Aquarium

What to “sea” at the newly reopened Vancouver Aquarium

It’s back! It’s back! After keeping doors closed for almost a year, the Vancouver Aquarium is open again. I was so pleased when I heard visitors were allowed once again, especially when I learned they first opened in 1956! Visits to the aquarium were a fun and memorable part of my own childhood and an experience I want to share with my kids. With over 65,000 creatures at the aquarium, and so much history, there’s lots to see.

Under the Sea at VanAqua!

Sea lions at the Vancouver Aquarium
Photo credit: Jenn Wint

I’ve always loved the Tropics exhibit. The lights are dimmed and the fish are lit up and look very magical. It was my 2-year-old daughter’s first visit so we really took it slow walking by each tank and letting her say ‘Wow!’ over and over again. She was very impressed by the jelly fish and loved the tanks with long reeds that swayed through the water. She was a bit disappointed we couldn’t find a mermaid, but I explained, “not every sea creature can be captured.”

We got a big kick out of the penguins and the rescued seals and sea lions were incredibly cute, and loud! Barking and vying for attention they were quite the show seals, kissing and splashing!

Other highlights were the sloth and pink ibis birds in the Amazon Gallery and counting the legs of the octopus. Declan also got to weigh himself and find out which sea creature he could pass for on the scale.

Two kids watch the fish at the Vancouver Aquarium.
Photo credit: Jenn Wint

The aquarium staff were extremely knowledgeable and friendly, answering questions as we saw one trainer feeding fish to a hungry seal. The relationships between the animals and trainers is so special to watch, especially when we saw the bat cave being cleaned! The kids were impressed that humans could be so close to the animals.

I don’t think my kids could have sat through it, but I’d love to go back and check out the 4D Experience® of Octopus: Blue Planet II. There were also several exhibits about plastic pollution and ocean conservation that I’d like to read closer when I visit without excited littles. Instead, we visited Clownfish Cove, a play space for little ones and a chance for their grownups to sit down and catch their breath.

Sea anemones and sea cucumbers at the Vancouver Aquarium.
Photo by Jenn Wint

I really enjoyed the focus on local species in the Treasures of the BC Coast and Pacific Canada exhibits. It’s so important to show the kids what is right in our own backyard. We learned about kelp and algae and saw rockfishes, colourful sea anemones and sea cucumbers.

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I had heard the food at the aquarium was good so we finished our visit with lunch and, yum, I ate an ahi tuna poke bowl and it was delicious. I was also pleased with the prices of the kid’s meals, always a nice bonus to fill the kid’s tummies easily and for a reasonable price.

Without the orcas, dolphins and belugas of year’s past, the aquarium has a different feeling but one that made me feel good about being a visitor there. The commitment to being an environmentally responsible organization is woven throughout. The rehabilitation, education and conservation efforts are evident. I’m excited to see the aquarium continue to grow and thrive.

The Vancouver Aquarium is located is Stanley Park at 845 Avison Way in Vancouver

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