Beaty Biodiversity Museum: Blue Whale and Beyond

A fascinating hidden gem located in the heart of Vancouver, the Beaty Biodiversity Museum offers a one-of-a-kind experience to explore the rich and diverse tapestry of life on our planet.

From the breathtaking Blue Whale exhibit to the extensive research collections, the Beaty Biodiversity Museum serves as a source of knowledge and inspiration for guests of all ages.

Museum’s collections

At the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, each exhibit lovingly displays the remarkable biodiversity of our planet, inviting visitors to marvel at the captivating and extraordinary specimens up close.

From the magnificent Blue Whale skeleton to the extensive Biodiversity Research Collection, the Herbarium, and the intriguing Tetrapod and Marine Invertebrate collections, the museum beautifully weaves together a vibrant mosaic of life.

This enchanting experience is sure to leave you with a newfound admiration for the intricate connections that bind all living creatures together.

Blue Whale exhibit

The Blue Whale exhibit at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum is truly a sight to behold, as it showcases the awe-inspiring skeleton of one of the most magnificent creatures on Earth.

Suspended gracefully in the atrium, this colossal 26-meter (85-foot) long specimen is the largest creature ever to have lived on our planet and serves as the centerpiece of the museum.

Beaty Biodiversity Museum Blue Whale Exhibit Garden
Blue Whale exhibit garden Don Erhardt / UBC Brand & Marketing

The story behind the Blue Whale exhibit is both fascinating and poignant. In 1987, this particular whale washed ashore on Prince Edward Island, Canada, after tragically losing its life to a collision with a ship.

Recognizing the rarity and significance of the specimen, researchers from the Canadian Museum of Nature and the University of British Columbia worked tirelessly to preserve the remains, and in 2010, the skeleton found its permanent home at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum.

The exhibit not only highlights the sheer size and majesty of the Blue Whale but also serves as a powerful reminder of the fragility of these gentle giants and the importance of marine conservation efforts.

Beaty Biodiversity Museum Blue Whale Exhibit
Harry Hao
Beaty Biodiversity Museum Big Blue Whale
Glenn Nawrocki

Visitors to the museum can learn about the biology, behavior, and ecology of Blue Whales, as well as the ongoing challenges they face, such as habitat degradation, pollution, and climate change.

The Blue Whale exhibit is a truly immersive and educational experience that fosters a deep appreciation for these majestic creatures and their vital role in our planet’s oceans.

Biodiversity Research Collection

The Biodiversity Research Collection at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum is an exceptional resource that houses over two million specimens, representing the incredible diversity of life on Earth.

Beaty Biodiversity Museum Eggs
Thomas Quine

This extensive collection serves as a vital tool for scientific research, education, and public engagement, allowing visitors to explore the intricacies of the natural world and better understand the importance of conserving our planet’s precious biodiversity.

The collection includes specimens from various disciplines, such as:

Entomology: With a vast assortment of insects, from butterflies and beetles to ants and bees, the entomology collection provides a comprehensive look into the world of these fascinating creatures and their critical roles in ecosystems around the globe.

Ichthyology: The ichthyology collection features an array of fish specimens, including both freshwater and marine species. Visitors can discover the unique adaptations and characteristics of these aquatic animals while learning about their habitats and ecological roles.

Herpetology: Showcasing the amazing diversity of reptiles and amphibians, the herpetology collection offers visitors a chance to explore the world of snakes, lizards, frogs, and salamanders. The exhibit highlights their fascinating biology and the vital roles they play in maintaining the balance of various ecosystems.

Mammalogy: The mammalogy collection highlights the rich diversity of mammals, from small rodents to large predators, emphasizing their unique features, behaviors, and ecological importance.

Beaty Biodiversity Museum Big Animals
Omid Milani Fard
Beaty Biodiversity Museum Filled Animals
Neelim Novo

Ornithology: With an impressive array of bird specimens, the ornithology collection showcases the stunning variety of avian species and their fascinating adaptations for flight, communication, and survival.

Fossil specimens: The museum also houses an assortment of fossil specimens, providing a glimpse into the prehistoric past and the evolutionary history of life on Earth.

The Biodiversity Research Collection at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum offers a unique opportunity for visitors to engage with the wonders of the natural world while promoting the significance of biodiversity conservation. Through its carefully curated exhibits, the museum aims to inspire curiosity, appreciation, and a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of all living things on our planet.


The Herbarium at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum is a remarkable collection dedicated to the study and preservation of plant specimens from around the world.

With over half a million specimens, the Herbarium represents a diverse array of flora, including vascular plants, mosses, lichens, fungi, and algae.

Visitors to the Herbarium can explore and learn about various aspects of plant life, such as:

Plant taxonomy and classification: The Herbarium showcases the rich diversity of plant species, allowing visitors to understand their classification and evolutionary relationships.

Specimens are carefully organized and labeled, making it easy to observe the unique characteristics of different plant groups.

Plant ecology and distribution: The collection highlights the wide range of habitats and ecosystems where plants thrive, from lush tropical rainforests to arid deserts and temperate forests.

Visitors can learn about the specific environmental conditions that support different plant species and the ecological roles they play in their respective habitats.

Conservation and sustainability: The Herbarium emphasizes the importance of plant conservation and sustainable resource management, showcasing both common and rare plant species.

Visitors can learn about the various threats facing plant populations, such as habitat loss, climate change, and invasive species, as well as the ongoing efforts to protect and conserve these vital components of our ecosystems.

Ethnobotany and cultural significance: The collection also highlights the cultural and historical significance of plants, revealing how they have been used for food, medicine, clothing, and other purposes by diverse cultures throughout history.

This aspect of the Herbarium fosters an appreciation for the intricate relationships between humans and plants and the importance of preserving this knowledge for future generations.

Tetrapod and marine invertebrate collections

The Tetrapod and Marine Invertebrate Collections at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum showcase an incredible range of specimens, providing visitors with a unique opportunity to explore and learn about the diversity of life found both on land and in the oceans.

Tetrapod Collection: The Tetrapod Collection focuses on the diverse group of vertebrates that have four limbs or limb-like appendages, including mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians.

This collection offers visitors an up-close look at the fascinating adaptations and features of these creatures while emphasizing their ecological roles and importance in various habitats. Highlights of the Tetrapod Collection include:

  • Skeletons and mounted specimens: The collection features a variety of skeletons and mounted specimens, allowing visitors to examine the anatomical structures and adaptations that enable these animals to survive and thrive in their environments.
  • Fossils and evolutionary history: The Tetrapod Collection also includes an assortment of fossils, shedding light on the evolutionary history of these animals and providing insights into their relationships with extinct species.
  • Conservation and threats: Through its exhibits, the Tetrapod Collection highlights the ongoing challenges faced by many species, such as habitat loss, climate change, and human encroachment, and emphasizes the importance of conservation efforts to protect these vulnerable creatures.
Beaty Biodiversity Museum Animals
J Zachary

Marine Invertebrate Collection: The Marine Invertebrate Collection showcases the astonishing diversity of invertebrate species found in the world’s oceans.

With specimens ranging from sponges and corals to mollusks, crustaceans, and echinoderms, this collection provides a comprehensive look at the incredible variety of life forms that inhabit marine ecosystems. Features of the Marine Invertebrate Collection include:

  • Specimen preservation and display: Many marine invertebrates are preserved and displayed in fluid-filled jars or as dried specimens, allowing visitors to observe their unique forms, colors, and structures in great detail.
  • Biodiversity and ecological roles: The collection highlights the essential ecological roles played by marine invertebrates, such as their contributions to reef-building, nutrient cycling, and serving as a food source for other marine species.
  • Adaptations and survival strategies: The Marine Invertebrate Collection showcases the fascinating adaptations and survival strategies of these organisms, from the remarkable camouflage of octopuses to the intricate defensive structures of sea urchins.

Beaty Biodiversity Museum Bones
Thomas Quine
Beaty Biodiversity Museum Head Bone
Thomas Quine

Where is the museum and how to get there?

Nestled within the beautiful campus of the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, you’ll find the charming Beaty Biodiversity Museum at 2212 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4.

There are several ways to get to the museum:

  • By car: If you’re driving, take the 4th Avenue, 10th Avenue, or 16th Avenue exit off Highway 99 (Granville Street) and follow the signs to UBC. Once you reach the campus, there is paid parking available at the nearby West Parkade and Health Sciences Parkade.
  • By public transportation: Reaching the museum by public transit is a breeze, as multiple bus routes serve UBC, including the 99 B-Line Express, the 25, 33, 41, 43, 49, 84, and 480. Upon arriving at the UBC bus loop, a leisurely stroll will bring you to the museum’s doorstep. To plan your journey and find the most convenient route, kindly visit the TransLink website.
  • By bicycle: If you prefer to bike, there are multiple bike-friendly routes leading to the UBC campus. The city of Vancouver has an extensive network of bike lanes and paths, making it easy to reach the museum while enjoying a scenic ride. Bike racks are available near the museum entrance for secure parking.
  • On foot: If you’re already on the UBC campus, the museum is within walking distance from most university buildings. Follow the Main Mall pedestrian path, and you will find the museum near the intersection of Main Mall and Agronomy Road.

When organizing your visit, please remember to consult the museum’s website for the latest information on hours of operation, admission fees, and any special events or exhibits that may coincide with your visit. We wish you a delightful and enriching experience at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum.


In conclusion, the Beaty Biodiversity Museum is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking to explore and appreciate the stunning diversity of life on Earth.

With its captivating exhibits, including the awe-inspiring Blue Whale skeleton, the extensive Biodiversity Research Collection, Herbarium, and Tetrapod and Marine Invertebrate collections, the museum offers a unique and educational experience for visitors of all ages.