Half Day at the Vancouver Aquarium

I think it was a Christmas gift that my mom got for my wife and I, tickets to the Vancouver Aquarium. Children 3 and Under are free which is an added bonus of course.

The Vancouver Aquarium is something that I could also go back to, multiple times a year. There is also something fun to look at be it the Tropical section where you can try and spot the sleepy sloths, to the Pacific West Coast and search for the Octopus. Either way, I could never get tired going to it again and again and again. Unlike some of Vancouver’s other local attractions.  I even have vivid memories of when there was a small zoo area outside of the aquarium such as the Polar Bears. Which have long been gone.

We’ve had the tickets for a while, but I wanted to use them for a time when the aquarium was not busy. This typically means a weekday during when kids are in school and not raining. Luckily, being on parental leave means we could visit the aquarium when in fact school was in session and pick a nicer sunnier day. So we did just that!

I probably have not been to the Vancouver Aquarium in about the last 5-years. Since then there have been some major renovations to it, but for the most part it was the same.


The front entrance got a nice facelift with of course the beautiful Bill Reid Orca out front.

We first hit up the Tropical Zone. Probably my favorite because of the variety of fish and other critters you get to see. Jelly fish, sharks, rays, seahorses, lionfish, anacondas, tarantulas, marmosets, sloths, piranhas and more!


I could have taken more photos but it was more fun to see “A” explore the area. He didn’t really stay in one spot long enough. The cool thing is, when we got to where the Cayman were, he seemed to remember them from our Costa Rica trip. He says he saw the the sloth when I tried to point it out to him but who knows really. We saw lots of them in Costa Rica though. He was a bit scared of the large tarantulas, well he didn’t want to get too close to them.


We popped outside next to check out the sea otters and beluga whales. He didn’t seem to care much for those. He had a hard time seeing the Penguins too I think.


He did like going down below to see the Belugas from underneath though. I’ve always liked the silhouette look of kids at aquariums. I tried to get the belugas in frame but being gigantic white blobs the camera sensor didn’t do a good enough job to share 😉

For lunch we headed over to the new (to me) Cafe. Most people seemed to bring their own lunch in (we did for W actually) and for A we bought him a hotdog and fries (at his request). Though I do believe they do not have any cutlery available so if you need to, bring in your own from home.

Next we popped up to the Treasures of the West Coast. Here A got to see a variety of jelly fish.



He LOVES jelly fish. He didn’t seem to care much about all the other variety of fish and marine life that can be spotted along our west coast shores.

Over in the west coast section is a cool little play area for kids called Clownfish Cove. Here kids can run around and explore a variety of little activities.


“A” took to using the stethoscope, just like Mommy,  on the critters on the examining tables. It was cool to see him checking on them, weighing them and even placing them on a “x-ray” machine. There is a cool little aquarium that the little ones can walk underneath and see things like kelp crabs, shrimp, sea cucumbers, hermit crabs and more.  There are a few costumes they can also put on. “A” also liked the mock boat they have there too. He would take one of the seal stuffed animals over to it and lower and raise the water stretcher as if he was rescuing marine animals himself.


From there “A” and I went to go check out the Frogs Forever area, but he didn’t really want to stick around there. At that time he was tired and it was time for us to head home.

Even though we went as a family, I don’t have any photos of “W” at the aquarium. She, being 9 months, was in the stroller as Mommy pushed her around. I sort of wandered around with “A” taking photos here and there and showing him the various critters. I’m sure next time we go, “W” will be walking so that then I can take more photos of her too. I want to get both kids silhouetted together against one of the many tanks.

We also didn’t check out everything that the Vancouver Aquarium has to offer. We didn’t really spend time checking out the marine life of the west coast area, “A” didn’t really want to check out the frogs, even though he’s seen dart frogs in Costa Rica and I tried pointed them out to him at the aquarium. We didn’t see the dolphins or their show. There is more to do than what we did while we were there, but I am sure when both kids are older we’ll spend more time looking at everything.



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