The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre, located in beautiful Stanley Park, is one of Western Canada’s most popular tourist attractions. The Vancouver Aquarium is Canada’s largest with 600 species of almost 9000 creatures of the sea. At one point there was also a zoo at this location, but it has since closed, making the aquarium Stanley Park’s most popular destination. Animal rights activists have been protesting the aquarium, just as they did the zoo. The main complaint for protesters has been the containment of whales and the small quarters for other large sea animals. As such a popular attraction, it isn’t likely that protesting will have an effect any time soon.
The Vancouver BC Aquarium has several distinct sections that are all worth seeing. One of the most popular areas is the Arctic Canada exhibit. In this section you can watch beluga whales swimming playfully through the water and have a chance to listen to the sounds of whales, seals, walruses, and other arctic creatures. The beluga whales are definitely a highlight of the Vancouver Aquarium animals. In the Amazon Rainforest Gallery you can experience the steamy (and stinky) jungle in the atrium, home toe tree frogs, three-toed sloths, piranhas, iguanas and more. Every hour there is a tropical rainstorm in the atrium. Also in the Amazon Gallery are a number of colorful tropical fish. There is a recreation of Indonesia’s Bunaken National Park coral reef where angelfish glide gracefully. The BC Waters exhibit holds all types of creatures living in the Canadian waters, like Pacific salmon and the enormous Pacific octopus.
Other popular Vancouver Aquarium animals are found on the Marine Mammal Deck. Adorable sea otters, sea lions and dolphins are a treat to see. Along with beluga whales, the Vancouver BC Aquarium staff does scheduled shows for the public to learn more about these interesting animals.
If you want to get more up-close and personal with the Vancouver Aquarium animals, you may want to participate in the Beluga Encounter. The Beluga Encounter allows you to go behind-the-scenes to feed the belugas and to participate in their daily training session. The cost for the Beluga Encounter is around $150CAN. For a much smaller price, it is also possible to take a tour with the trainers to help prepare and feed the sea otter, seals and sea lions. Children must be 8 years old or older to participate.