The Vancouver Aquarium is the largest aquarium in Canada. Home to 70,000 animals and over 150 aquatic displays, the Aquarium is a leader in marine preservation, conservation and education. It's one of Vancouver's favourite destinations and one of the Top 10 Things to Do in Vancouver on a Rainy Day. (Which means you can expect bigger crowds when it rains.)
What You'll See at the Vancouver Aquarium
Both the Aquarium's indoor and outdoor displays are arranged by geographic region.
Indoors, visitors can see marine life from the Georgia Strait and from the coast of British Columbia (BC), sharks and sea turtles from the "Tropic Zone," and a wide variety of fish and other animals from the Amazon Rainforest.
There is also a lower level with a special area for young children (5 and under), where kids can play veterinarian with dress up clothes and stuffed animals. There's a place for toddlers and babies--and their parents--to take a break, too.
Outdoor exhibits are among the most popular, since they house the big mammals, including Beluga whales, white-sided dolphins, Stellar sea lions, and sea otters. These large tanks have indoor viewing windows, too, so the animals can be seen both above and below the water.
There's also an outdoor exhibit of South African penguins; the six penguins arrived in May 2012.
Getting to the Vancouver Aquarium
The Vancouver Aquarium is located in Stanley Park, at 845 Avison Way.
From downtown Vancouver there are signs leading to the Aquarium along W Georgia St., near the main entrance to Stanley Park.
Drivers will find pay parking near the Aquarium; for the bus, take #19 to the Stanley Park Loop.
Making the Most of Your Visit
You can easily spend three hours at the Vancouver Aquarium, and it is a great place to head during cold, rainy days.
Since it's just a few minutes from Downtown Vancouver (by car), you can combine a rainy-day visit with a trip to Downtown's Vancouver Art Gallery or the indoor (admittedly not so edifying) Pacific Centre Mall.
On sunny days, exploring Stanley Park is the best way to enhance your trip. Walk the Seawall, visit the Stanley Park gardens, see the Totem Poles, or head to the beach to see some marine life in person.
Sleepovers are a chance to stay at the Aquarium over night, touch live sea stars, sea urchins and anemones, and bed down in front of one of the aquatic galleries. There are nights specially designated for kids, families, and adults; couples get their own sleepover on Valentine's Day.
Conservation & Research Programs
Ticket Information, Current Exhibitions & Programs: Vancouver Aquarium Website