Hawaii Mom Blog: Visit Vancouver: Vancouver Aquarium




June 19, 2014

Visit Vancouver: Vancouver Aquarium

My kids love to visit aquariums, so we knew a visit to the Vancouver Aquarium, Canada's largest aquarium with over 50,000 animals, was a must during our trip to British Columbia.

Highlights of Our Hosted Visit
We saw so many interesting and amazing animals at the Vancouver Aquarium - frogs, birds, snakes, and of course, many, many fishes.
Poison Dart Frogs
Hyacinth Macaws

The kids loved watching the fish swim by
By far our family's favorite exhibits were those of the jellies.
There were jellies big and small, and watching these graceful creatures swim in the water was just entrancing.

The Vancouver Aquarium showcased so many different types of beautiful animals, and other favorites included the Strawberry Anemone (my middle son thought they looked so neat), the African Penguins, the Beluga Whale, and of course, the Clownfish (aka "Nemo" to my kids).

Strawberry Anemone
African Penguins
Beluga Whale
The volunteers at the Vancouver Aquarium were very friendly and helpful, encouraging my kids to interact with props (e.g. trying on a turtle shell; feeling the fur of a sea otter), and providing us with information about different animals (e.g. the differences between dolphins and porpoises).
Trying on a sea turtle's shell
Feeling the fur of a sea otter
Throughout the aquarium there were also numerous kid-friendly areas and activities, such as Clownfish Cove (it was in the process of being moved on our visit), as well as areas for crafts, story time, a puppet show, and more.

Onsite is the Upstream Cafe, which serves burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, and more.

Our Experience Visiting as a Special-Needs Family
My oldest son has an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and although I know kids on the spectrum all behave and react differently in various environments, I always try to share our personal experience when visiting attractions.

On the Vancouver Aquarium's website, a Photographic Preview (social story) is available for downloading and printing. I think this is a fantastic resource, as it gives children an idea of what to expect on their visit. Social stories often help my son whenever going to new places, and I love that the aquarium has the photographic preview readily available so I could simply print it out.

We went to the aquarium on a Saturday just after it opened, and there was already a huge crowd. Fortunately my son did not get overwhelmed with the number of people at the aquarium, but if your child does not do well in crowds, the aquarium advises that the quietest times to visit are on weekdays or prior to 12pm or after 2pm during winter, and prior to 11am or after 4pm during the summer.

Although my son can sit through shows fairly well, on this day he was adamant about not watching any shows, so we did not want to force him.  However, he was quite eager to walk around the aquarium and explore.

Fortunately he enjoyed viewing the various exhibits, and his favorite part of the day was trying on a turtle shell.

If we needed to take any breaks, there was plenty of seating throughout the aquarium.

For those on a GFCF diet or who have other food allergies, the cafe's allergy list is available online.

Final Thoughts
Our family had a wonderful time seeing so many different types of animals at the Vancouver Aquarium.

I loved that there was a nice variety of exhibits and activities to keep everyone engaged, and we learned a lot from our visit.

The Vancouver Aquarium is great place for families to spend a few hours or even the entire day.

I can't wait to go back again one day and see the new expansion.

Vancouver Aquarium
845 Avison Way
Vancouver, BC V6G 3E2, Canada

For admission prices click here; for hours click here

Thank you to the Vancouver Aquarium for hosting our visit.

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