Officially opening in 1956, the Vancouver Aquarium has become Canada’s largest aquarium covering over 9000 square meters and housing over 150 aquatic displays. With animals ranging from dolphins, sharks, turtles, otters, sea lions, snakes and frogs, you are sure to have an amazing experience with these animals. In addition to their captive population, Vancouver Aquarium runs a Marine Mammal Rescue program that rescues over 100 animals every year, which are then able to be successfully returned to their homes in the wild. This program has saved countless lives as they strive to achieve the highest animal welfare standards and work tirelessly to save as many individual animals as they can.
While the rescue, care and rehabilitation of marine mammals is what the Vancouver Aquarium is most well known for, they also participate heavily in many research and conservation programs. They spearhead the program Ocean Wise, promoting sustainable seafood options. Their Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup not only helps to clean up beaches, but also contributes data to help encourage changes in behaviour in terms of waste disposal. The North Coast Initiative is a community-based program focusing on data collection and community outreach on cetacean populations to help protect these animals in the wild. The B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network has the aquarium working with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to report and track sightings of wild sea turtles and whales for conservation and research purposes. This incomplete list of programs highlights their dedication to protecting wild animals and their habitat.
A visit to the Vancouver Aquarium not only provides the opportunity to see wild animals up close, but their many presentations and keeper talks can bring more education to the table. If you are interested in supporting the aquarium beyond just the entrance fees, options are available for volunteering, youth work experiences and, for a more professional route, internships for career development. No matter what way you hope to experience it, the Vancouver Aquarium is worth a visit whenever you are in the area.