Vancouver Aquarium 2015


I don’t think anyone who’s been paying attention to the Vancouver news lately can go to the Vancouver Aquarium and not wonder about the conditions for the animals. However, if you’ve been going to the Aquarium for the last couple of decades you will have noticed a large shift from public amusement to animal rehabilitation.

Last year there was a significant conflict with the Vancouver Parks Board about whales in captivity. In the end the Parks Board thought they were proposing a compromise by saying the whales could stay as long as they didn’t breed. This had a lot of sensible people scratching their heads. If you assume that the whales, specifically belugas, are as advanced as humans, it would be more cruel to be confined and to be restricted from what might be a fun activity.

On this recent trip to the Aquarium, I noticed their front entrance area has been expanded and within that area, they had the exhibits of so called sea monsters. For long time visitors the key areas covering the Pacific Northwest, Amazon rainforest, tropics and more.

As part of your admission they have a theatre with a “4D” experience, which is a 3D movie with a chair that moves and occasional sprays of water. Parents be warned. This show was too intense for my 7-year-old so we had to make an exit. I’m told the show is fun.

One thing I did see with the 4-D Experience was a promo for the Aquarium’s reason-for-being. This focused on it being non-profit and for conservation purposes. They are really trying to differentiate themselves from the Seaworld model which is an animals for entertainment medium.

Perhaps on this trip the most fascinating creature was Chester the false killer whale. I had never heard of such a creature and this poor guy was rescued from being beached on Chesterman’s Beach near Tofino. Ultimately, without this facility, this young animal would have died. He’s not able to be released so he’s now stuck at the Aquarium. I wonder … better here than dead? Better an ambassador for the species than dead?

Chester the False Killer Whale

Of course I love the Sea Otters. Possibly the cutest animals on the planet.

Sea Otters

And seahorses. They are so cool looking.


They’ve also had a frog exhibit for a long time and the False Tomato Frog from Madagascar really caught my attention.

False Tomato Frog

In the Amazon rainforest area they have mostly invisible sloths and land based turtles, caimans, an anaconda and some beautiful parrots.

Amazon Parrots

As you read the website and learn more about endangered species and habitat, you wonder if we could release the cetaceans to the wild, would it be a good idea?

As I ponder the situation, I can’t help but think: Stop polluting. Clean up. Then empty the tanks.




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