Stanley Park has many popular places to lure in tourist and locals alike. Vancouver Aquarium, officially called also the Ocean Wise Conservation Association, is one of those places, where people can be sheltered from bad weather and also enjoy the marine life. It has has been opened in 1956 and was the first public Aquarium in Canada. Right now it's also the largest Aquarium in Canada and one of the largest ones in North America. It has amazing 97,000 sq ft and 9,500,000 litres of water housing the animals.
Marine Conservation and Rehabilitation
But the Aquarium isn't just a tourist trap. It's one of the leading centres for marine research, animal rehabilitation and conservation. They were one of the first to incorporate professional naturalists into the galleries to interpret animal behaviours. Right now they are focused on educating about marine plastic pollution and over-fishing. They also created Ocean Wise - the movement for a certified sustainably harvested seafood for the average consumer.
Despite extensive funds, that the Aquarium received from the state and the city of Vancouver, it remains a non-profit organization that has the main goal to help rehabilitate marine life. In a world troubled by pollution and global warming, we need more places like the Vancouver Aquarium in the world.
Animals and Exhibits
The Aquarium has many pavilions and parts that were built through the history of the Aquarium. Pacific Canada Pavilion is home to the animals from the coasts of Georgia. Canada's Arctic houses more cold-loving creatures.
There's an outdoor gallery called The Wild Coast, where you can spot Pacific white-sided dolphins and sea otters. It also houses a touch pool with some invertebrates that kids can make friends with and if you are lucky, you will be able to spot seals and sea lions in the exhibits too.
The Aquarium's only remaining dolphin Helen was rescued from tangling in a fishing net in Japan. She is distinctive enough due to her flipper, that was damaged while entangled in the net. If you've seen Nemo, you know what to imagine. She is currently about 30 years old and despite her damaged flipper, she lives a happy life.
This exhibit also homes 6 sea otter rescues; Tanu, that was abandoned as a pup, Katmai that was rescued near Alaska at only a few weeks old, Rialto, a male pup that was found near Rialto beach and Mak, Kunik and Hardy that were transferred to the Aquarium after their rescue and being deemed non-releasable back to the wildlife.
A viral Youtube video of two otters holding hands popularized the Vancouver Aquarium. These two otters at the video were Nyac and Milo. Nyac was saved during a big rescue mission and was one of the last surviving otters from 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spil. The virality of the video inspired the Aquarium to install an otter cam in their display. They added more animal cams through the years and you can watch them all on their website.
The Aquarium also participates in African Penguin breeding rescue called Species Survival Plan. You can meet these penguins at Penguin Point inside the Aquarium.
The Tropic Zone displays tropical fish, sharks and sea turtles. You can meet Schoona, a sea turtle that was found dying of a cold shock and rescued.
Amazon Rainforest part brings freshwater fish, snakes, caimans, birds and even sloths.
The Aquarium has around 300 species of fish, 30,000 invertebrates, 60 mammals and 56 species of amphibians and reptiles. Basically, if it swims in the water, you can probably find it in the Vancouver Aquarium.
Frogs Forever is an exhibit focused on problematic extinction of frogs, toads and salamanders in the wildlife. It displays endangered amphibian species and explains that it's possible we will lose half of the amphibian population in one lifetime if they keep dying out at current speed. They call it "the single largest mass extinction since the dinosaurs". If you want to learn how to protect the frogs and toads, head over to the Aquarium.
Shows and Events
The aquarium is hosting a numeral educational show, animal training, where visitors get to touch, play and even feed some of the animals. The daily programs usually last an hour or longer and are led by professional trainers.
You can listen to Rescue Stories, where rescue professionals explain how they help wildlife in distress, attend a Wet Lab exploration or watch a Sea Lion or Dolphin training, where they learn tricks and perform them for the public. You can also visit Imax 4D cinema and get an experience of watching some of the best animals documentaries with special effects.
The Vancouver Aquarium is open every day from 10 am to 5 pm. The admission is $38 for an adult, $21 for a child up to 12 years and $30 for a student or senior. Children under 3 years have free entrance. You can also buy annual passes to the Aquarium or simply donate to their rescue organization.
Meet The Photographer: Ricardo Vacas
Ricardo Vacas, owner of the firm Kerp Photography, always showed intense interest in many forms of creative arts. His professional photography career started in his home country, Spain, where he was the official photographer of several music bands, models and clothing brands. He decided to move to Wellington, New Zealand in 2012, knowing his real interest was fashion photography more than any other field. Currently living in Vancouver, Canada, he now combines his fashion, editorial and commercial photography projects with regular trips to Europe and USA.