on February 1, 2006
Park? zoo? Science center? Amusement park? It's hard to classify the Vancouver Aquarium. If it lives in the water--especially in the waters of the Pacific Northwest--then the Vancouver Aquarium has one, and has a fun and engaging presentation of it. We spent half a rainy day here--our first in Vancouver after disembarking from a cruise ship. The Aquarium is located in Stanley Park, on the eastern side, and is a pretty big complex. The number of outdoor exhibits--sea otters, seas, dolphins, beluga whales--apparently just keeps expanding. The new beluga whale exhibit was just be dedicated the day we were there, and the trainers were showing off their charges for the newspaper and television cameras. You can view these beautiful white creatures both from inside, where you look into their tank, or outside.A series of exhibits display the varied aquatic habitats around Vancouver Island, with very large tanks containing realistic reproductions of the different shore areas. There's a simulated rainforest here, complete with beautiful tropical boards. You can watch the dolphins perform at regular intervals. You can get up close with an octopus (if you invest enough time waiting for these shy creatures to come out of hiding). There's a fascinating exhibit on the ocean life in Lancaster Sound, near the Arctic Ocean. I had no idea how rich and varied marine life is there--but it wasn't surprising to hear that it's cold.You should never have to pay full admission here--there are discount coupons of all kinds all over the city. Some came with our rental car (from Budget), and ended up knocking nearly a third off the price of admitting our family of five, ending up around $40. That was a great price for four hours of great fun.
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