Vancouver Aquarium: Discovering the Wonders of the Deep

Vancouver Aquarium, a captivating and educational destination nestled in the heart of Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia. Since its inception in 1956, the Vancouver Aquarium has been dedicated to connecting people with the wondrous marine life of our planet.

As the largest aquarium in Canada and a globally recognized institution for marine research and conservation, it aims to inspire appreciation for and understanding of the ocean’s diverse inhabitants. With an impressive array of marine species, interactive exhibits, and engaging programs, the Vancouver Aquarium promises a delightful and unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.

Vancouver Aquarium Map
Vancouver Aquarium map

Vancouver Aquarium history

In the beginning, the Vancouver Aquarium was nestled within a charming 9,000-square-foot area in the stunning Stanley Park, where it continues to stand today.

During its early years, the facility showcased only a handful of simple exhibits and heavily relied on the unwavering dedication of numerous volunteers. As time went on, the Vancouver Aquarium blossomed and transformed, introducing new exhibits and earning recognition for its devotion to marine life.

In a groundbreaking moment back in 1964, the Vancouver Aquarium became the world’s first facility to feature a captive orca, an achievement that drew international acclaim. Eventually, the aquarium discontinued the practice of housing large cetaceans in captivity and shifted its focus toward conservation, research, and education.

Vancouver Aquarium animals

The Vancouver Aquarium is home to an incredible array of marine life, encompassing a diverse range of species that includes fish, marine mammals, invertebrates, and amphibians.

  • Fish: The aquarium houses a stunning variety of fish, from the familiar to the exotic. Visitors can observe colorful tropical fish, such as clownfish and angelfish, as well as local species like salmon and rockfish. The aquarium also displays some unique and unusual fish, including the electric eel and the mesmerizing lionfish.
  • Marine mammals: Marine mammals are some of the most popular residents at the Vancouver Aquarium. The charming sea otters, playful dolphins, and enchanting harbor seals captivate visitors with their intelligence and charisma. The aquarium is also known for its commitment to the rescue and rehabilitation of marine mammals through its Marine Mammal Rescue Centre.
Vancouver Aquarium Seal Animal
Indira Mythili
  • Invertebrates: Invertebrates make up a significant portion of the ocean’s biodiversity, and the Vancouver Aquarium showcases a fascinating assortment of these spineless wonders. Visitors can marvel at the delicate beauty of the jellyfish, the intriguing intelligence of the octopus, and the unique features of the giant Pacific octopus. Other invertebrates on display include sea stars, sea anemones, and a variety of crustaceans.
  • Amphibians: The Vancouver Aquarium also features a captivating collection of amphibians, such as frogs, salamanders, and newts. These creatures serve as essential indicators of environmental health, and their presence at the aquarium helps to raise awareness about the importance of conservation efforts and habitat preservation.

Must see animals

The Vancouver Aquarium is home to numerous captivating and notable animals that delight and educate visitors.

Among these are the adorable sea otters, enchanting penguins, playful dolphins, and mesmerizing jellyfish. Each of these species offers a unique insight into the wonders of the ocean and the amazing diversity of marine life.

Vancouver Aquarium Bukalemun
  • Sea otters: These endearing and furry marine mammals are a favorite among visitors. Sea otters are known for their playful antics, expert swimming skills, and incredible ability to use tools, such as rocks, to crack open shells for food. As a keystone species, sea otters play a crucial role in maintaining the balance of their ecosystem by controlling the population of sea urchins, which in turn helps preserve kelp forests.
  • Penguins: Penguins are another charming and popular attraction at the Vancouver Aquarium. With their distinctive waddle and engaging personalities, these flightless birds never fail to entertain. The aquarium is home to African penguins, which are native to the southwestern coast of Africa and are classified as an endangered species. By housing these captivating birds, the aquarium raises awareness about their conservation status and the importance of protecting their natural habitats.

Vancouver Aquarium Fok
Vancouver Aquarium Penguin
  • Dolphins: Dolphins are well-known for their intelligence, acrobatic displays, and playful nature. At the Vancouver Aquarium, visitors can witness the grace and beauty of Pacific white-sided dolphins. These dolphins are not only awe-inspiring but also serve as ambassadors for their species, encouraging guests to learn more about marine conservation and the threats faced by marine mammals in the wild.
  • Jellyfish: Jellyfish are a mesmerizing and otherworldly presence at the Vancouver Aquarium. With their delicate, translucent bodies and graceful movements, these invertebrates captivate visitors of all ages. The aquarium showcases various species of jellyfish, including the moon jelly and the striking Pacific sea nettle. By featuring these ethereal creatures, the aquarium highlights the incredible diversity and adaptability of marine life.

Aquarium exhibits

The Vancouver Aquarium offers a diverse range of exhibits that highlight the incredible variety of marine life from around the world. These immersive and interactive exhibits provide visitors with an unforgettable journey through the wonders of the ocean.

  • Tropic Zone: The Tropic Zone transports visitors to the warm, vibrant waters of the tropics. Here, you’ll encounter an array of colorful and exotic fish, corals, and invertebrates, including clownfish, angelfish, and sea anemones. This exhibit showcases the incredible biodiversity and beauty of tropical marine ecosystems.

Vancouver Aquarium Frog
Vancouver Aquarium Turtle
  • Penguin Point: Penguin Point is home to the charming and endangered African penguins. In this exhibit, visitors can observe these charismatic birds up close as they waddle, swim, and interact with each other. The exhibit also offers information about the threats facing African penguins in the wild and the conservation efforts being undertaken to protect them.
  • Treasures of the BC Coast: This exhibit celebrates the rich and diverse marine life found along British Columbia’s coastline. Visitors can explore the unique habitats of the Pacific Northwest, including kelp forests, rocky shores, and tidal pools. Here, you’ll encounter fascinating creatures such as wolf eels, rockfish, and sea stars, and learn about the importance of conserving these coastal ecosystems.
  • Canada’s Arctic: Discover the wonders of the Arctic in this exhibit that showcases the incredible marine life adapted to the cold and harsh environment of Canada’s northern waters. The exhibit features animals like the Arctic char, beluga whales, and various invertebrates, as well as providing insights into the effects of climate change on these fragile ecosystems.
  • Amazon Rainforest: The Amazon Rainforest exhibit takes visitors on a journey through the world’s largest and most biodiverse rainforest. This exhibit features freshwater species native to the Amazon River, such as the electric eel, piranhas, and various species of catfish. You’ll also encounter amphibians like the poison dart frog and learn about the importance of preserving these unique habitats.
  • Jelly Invasion: This mesmerizing exhibit showcases the beauty and diversity of jellyfish species from around the world. With their graceful movements and translucent bodies, these captivating creatures provide a truly enchanting experience for visitors.
Vancouver Aquarium Butterfly

These are just a few of the many exhibits you can explore at the Vancouver Aquarium. Each exhibit offers a unique perspective on the marine world, helping visitors gain a deeper appreciation for the beauty, diversity, and fragility of our oceans and the life they support.

4D Experience at the Vancouver Aquarium

The 4D Experience at the Vancouver Aquarium offers visitors an exciting and immersive way to engage with marine life through a combination of 3D film and thrilling sensory effects. This state-of-the-art theater experience enhances traditional 3D films by incorporating additional sensory elements such as wind, water, scents, and seat movements, creating a multi-dimensional adventure that captivates the audience.

The 4D films shown at the aquarium often feature stunning underwater cinematography, highlighting the beauty and diversity of marine ecosystems from around the world. These films not only entertain but also educate visitors about the importance of ocean conservation and the various challenges faced by marine species.

Vancouver Aquarium Fok Animal
Vancouver Aquarium Fish

The 4D Experience is a unique and memorable addition to the Vancouver Aquarium’s array of exhibits and programs, offering visitors an exhilarating and interactive way to connect with the wonders of the underwater world.

Tips before visiting the aquarium

Planning a visit to the Vancouver Aquarium can be an exciting experience. To ensure you make the most of your time, here are some helpful tips and suggestions for the best times to visit:

  • Weekday mornings: Generally, weekday mornings are less crowded than weekends and afternoons. Arriving early allows you to avoid the busiest times and enjoy a more leisurely exploration of the exhibits.
  • Off-peak seasons: The Vancouver Aquarium tends to be less crowded during the fall and winter months (excluding holidays). Visiting during these times may allow for a more relaxed and intimate experience. However, keep in mind that some outdoor exhibits and programs may be weather-dependent.
  • Check the schedule: Before your visit, check the Vancouver Aquarium’s website for the daily schedule of events, feedings, and presentations. This will help you plan your day and ensure you don’t miss any of the exciting and informative programs offered.
  • Avoid holidays and school breaks: The aquarium can be particularly busy during holidays and school breaks. If possible, plan your visit outside of these peak periods to enjoy a more peaceful experience.
  • Plan for enough time: To fully appreciate all the exhibits and programs, it is recommended to allocate at least 3-4 hours for your visit. This will give you ample time to explore, attend presentations, and participate in interactive experiences without feeling rushed.
  • Purchase tickets in advance: To save time and avoid waiting in line, consider purchasing your tickets online before your visit. This can also help you stay informed of any special promotions, discounts, or events happening during your planned visit.

By considering these tips when planning your visit to the Vancouver Aquarium, you can optimize your experience and make the most of your time exploring the wonders of the marine world.

Vancouver Aquarium Turtle Animal

Hours and admission fees

For the most accurate and up-to-date information on hours and admission fees, it is highly recommended that you visit the Vancouver Aquarium’s official website. This will ensure you have access to the latest details on opening hours, ticket prices, and any available discounts or promotions.

Additionally, the website provides information on special events, seasonal exhibits, and any temporary closures or changes to operating hours. By checking the Vancouver Aquarium’s website before your visit, you can plan your day accordingly and make the most of your time at this captivating marine attraction.

How to get to Vancouver Aquarium

Getting to the Vancouver Aquarium, located in the beautiful Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, is convenient and accessible by various modes of transportation:

  • Public Transit: The Vancouver public transit system, TransLink, offers multiple options to reach the aquarium. You can take the SkyTrain, SeaBus, or buses to reach the park, and then transfer to Bus #19 (Stanley Park) that drops you off near the aquarium entrance. Visit the TransLink website for detailed route information, schedules, and fare prices.
  • Bicycle: If you prefer an eco-friendly option and a scenic ride, consider cycling to the Vancouver Aquarium. Vancouver has an extensive network of bike lanes and paths, including the scenic Stanley Park Seawall. Bike racks are available near the aquarium entrance for secure parking.
  • Car: Driving to the Vancouver Aquarium is also an option. From downtown Vancouver, follow Georgia Street towards Stanley Park, and then take the Stanley Park Causeway. Once in the park, follow the signs to the aquarium. There is a pay parking lot available near the aquarium entrance, as well as some additional parking spaces within Stanley Park.
  • Walking: If you’re staying near Stanley Park or downtown Vancouver, you might enjoy a leisurely walk to the aquarium. The walk through the park offers beautiful scenery and allows you to explore the park’s various attractions along the way.



In conclusion, the Vancouver Aquarium offers an enchanting and educational experience for visitors of all ages. With its diverse range of exhibits featuring captivating marine life from around the world, the aquarium fosters a deeper appreciation for the ocean and its inhabitants.