Have you been to the Vancouver Aquarium recently?  The renovations are astounding!  The physical space now reflects the world-renowned research and care being done by the employees and volunteers.  The entrance is grand and impressive, the exhibits and habitats are more accessible and informative, and there seems to be an increased physical space.  The crowds no longer seem smothering in size.

The Vancouver Aquarium is open 365 days a year and there is always a reason to visit.  However, during the holiday season there are extra-special activities scheduled throughout the facility.  From the very popular Scuba Claus (daily at 11:30) to the sensory wonder of 4D Polar Express (multiple showings every day) your family will have a fantastic day at the Aquarium.  Be sure to check out the webpage dedicated to Holidays At The Vancouver Aquarium.

Photo credit: Vancouver Aquarium

Photo credit: Vancouver Aquarium

During our recent visit, we watched a training session with the 2 dolphins: Hannah and Helen.  All four of us were fascinated.  Of course, seeing the dolphins jump out of the water while wiggling their head and chirping is amazing.  However, I was most excited to learn about how the dolphins are assisting with research into fishing nets.  Both Hannah and Helen were brought to the Aquarium after being tangled in fishing nets.  Apparently dolphins have very poor eyesight under water and can’t see the fishing nets.  The two dolphins, along with researchers and trainers, are trying to determine if there is a fishing net dolphins can detect.  They are experimenting with different materials and colours.  The Vancouver Aquarium is working to ensure the safety of many animals through their research.

We got our laughs in for the day watching one man patiently encourage 9 penguins out of their carrying cages.  It was like he was trying to herd kittens; they wanted to go in every direction except forward.  Of course, our giggling sounds may not have been helping the situation.  I applaud that man’s patience!

Photo credit: Vancouver Aquarium

Photo credit: Vancouver Aquarium

The re-located (and revitalized) children’s play space – now titled Clownfish Cove – is wonderful.  The entire space emphasis the concept of learn-through-play.  Children can drive a boat, take x-rays of various animals, feed different marine mammals and climb through an ocean-themed structure.  The space is now solely dedicated to children playing.  This is a great space for them to take a break from the larger exhibits and take part in unstructured play and discovery.

Be sure to set aside some time during your Christmas holidays to visit the new Vancouver Aquarium.  We are so very fortunate to have a world-renowned Aquarium in our own backyard.