Vancouver Aquarium expands for the future

The Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park has just completed the largest expansion in its 58-year history. Tips for your family's next Aquarium visit. (via thetravellingmom.ca)

A few years ago, the Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park completed the largest expansion in its 58-year history. The high tech, sustainable building doubled the size of the Aquarium’s gallery space, adding a larger and more inspiring entrance and exterior area where families like to gather and kids like to play.

The renovated Vancouver Aquarium officially opened on Jun 13, 2014. The magnificent Bill Reid bronze orca – a gift to the Aquarium 30 years ago – has been relocated to a higher profile location at the entrance to the building. The exterior now also features a ‘water wall’, meant to imitate a river, which glows with LED lights at night.

The Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park has just completed the largest expansion in its 58-year history. Tips for your family's next Aquarium visit. (via thetravellingmom.ca)

New water wall feature at entrance to the Aquarium {Credit: Vancouver Aquarium}

The grand new entrance features the Teck Connection space, a large open area to highlight new exhibits, connect with members, and host events. The entrance opens into the circular foyer featuring the large globe (pictured above), a 360 degree ever-changing video panel, and spoke-style, central access to the major galleries of the Aquarium – Tropics, Pacific Canada, and Wild Coast. 

The Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park has just completed the largest expansion in its 58-year history. Tips for your family's next Aquarium visit. (via thetravellingmom.ca)

It’s jellyfish mania at the newly renovated & expanded Vancouver Aquarium

Two new exhibits highlight BC river species, as well as the abundant aquatic life found in Lake Malawi, the world’s most diverse lake system.

The new Stanley Park Shores exhibit showcases the ocean beneath our feet. This mesmerizing tank features lumpsucker fish, pike fish, hermit crab, eelgrass, snails and other Burrard Inlet life that captures your attention in a surprising way.

The Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park has just completed the largest expansion in its 58-year history. Tips for your family's next Aquarium visit. (via thetravellingmom.ca)

Three new exhibits, including the captivating new Stanley Park Shores {on left}

The Aquarium’s dedication to families remains a large priority. Every Sunday morning in summer is Family Fun Day, with new activities weekly. Birthday parties (they do more than 110 parties/year for 6+ age group), feature a party room with special octopus chair for the birthday child, wet lab & feed the fish experiences.

Even more popular are their Sleepovers, available 365 days a year. The Aquarium hosts 4 – 5 public sleepovers per year, as well as hosting schools and organized groups (35-100 people), and even private sleepovers. The sleepovers are located downstairs adjacent to the Beluga exhibit, and begin at 8 PM. Participants get to feed fish, eat some snacks, go to bed around midnight (sleeping optional), and wake up at 7 am to a healthy breakfast, and a chance to explore aquarium until about 9 AM.

The Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park has just completed the largest expansion in its 58-year history. Tips for your family's next Aquarium visit. (via thetravellingmom.ca)

Who doesn’t love a playful Vancouver Aquarium otter at feeding time?

Many of the Aquarium’s popular exhibits remain, including Penguin Point, {featuring six endangered African penguins}, the Otter tank, the Clownfish Cove kids play area, Canada’s Arctic, and the Graham Amazon Gallery.

Tips for Visiting the Vancouver Aquarium

1. The peak visiting hours are between 11 AM and 2 PM. Moms & dads should visit early or late, outside of peak hours to avoid busy crowds.

2. Go midweek (if possible). Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holiday Mondays are much busier than other days.

3. The Aquarium is actually busier on rainy days than sunny days, so if it’s possible, go on a nice day. Enjoy the sun on an outdoor deck and avoid the crowds.

4. Aquarium members can avoid busy lineups at the door on weekends and holidays. Just head to the separate “express line” for members.

{TTM tip: A one year Aquarium Family membership (two adults, up to 4 kids) is approximately $185, which pays for itself in two visits.}

Credit: All photos by C. Laroye unless otherwise noted.

What’s your favorite creature at the Vancouver Aquarium? Share your comment below.

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