Vancouver Aquarium
Stanley Park in Vancouver, Canada: July 12, 2003

Our hotel room at the Pan Pacific came with two free tickets to the Vancouver Aquarium. So, after lunch, we took a taxi to Stanley Park. On the map below, you can see the aquarium near the top-left corner (with a "1" in a red circle) and the Pan Pacific hotel about mid-way down the right hand edge (You can see the hotel building near the five teflon sails and the white cruise ship. The Seabus terminal is labeled just below it and slightly to the right.
Convenient Tourist Map produced by Skycorp Investments, 2002

The aquarium has a somewhat long history in Vancouver: (from the Vancouver Aquarium web site)

"The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre was formed initially as the Vancouver Public Aquarium Association in 1951. The Vancouver Aquarium, officially Canada's first public Aquarium, opened on June 15, 1956. The Vancouver Aquarium always has been a self-supporting, non-profit organization receiving no annual government operational funding.

Through visionary, responsible growth programs with building additions starting in 1967, the Vancouver Aquarium has become the largest in Canada and one of the five largest in North America. The Aquarium is internationally recognized for display and interpretation excellence, and was the first facility to incorporate professional naturalists/interpretive specialists into galleries to explain animal behaviors. Aquarium research projects extend world-wide and we are internationally recognized for our successful Marine Mammal Rescue and Rehabilitation Program.

... The Aquarium has made a reputation and as a cutting edge organization with the capability to respond to changing conservation and aquatic protection needs through diversity and growth. From a 9,000 square foot (830 square meters) facility in Stanley Park, with 7 employees on opening day in 1956 (5 more had to be hired the day after the opening to cope with the crowds), the Vancouver Aquarium has grown to over 100,000 square feet (9,000 square meters) and 280 employees today. "

Here's another description from Moon Handbooks: British Columbia by Andrew Hempstead, pages 60-61.
"In the forest behind the Information Booth [at Stanley Park] is Canada's largest aquarium, the third largest in North America. Guarding the entrance is a five-meter-long killer whale sculpture by preeminent native artist Bill REid. More than 8,000 aquatic animals and 600 species are on display, representing all corners of the planet, from the oceans of the Arctic to the rainforests of the Amazon. A number of exhibits highlight regional marinelife, including the Wild Coast Pool and Pacific Canada Pavilion. In the Amazon Gallery, there's a computer-generated hourly tropical rainstorm and creatures such as crocodiles and piranhas as well as fascinating misfits such as four-eyed fish. The Tropical Gallery re-creates an Indonesian marine park, complete with colorful sealife and coral, and small reef sharks. At the far end of the aquarium, a large pool holds beluga whales - distinctive pure white mammals - and sea lions, representing Arctic Canada."

The Beluga Whale.
Beluga Whale at Vancouver Aquarium

Sea Otters are among Mike's favorite creatures. These two were having a great time frolicking.
Sea Otters at Vancouver Aquarium
Sea Otters at Vancouver Aquarium
Sea Otters at Vancouver Aquarium

Time to clean....
Sea Otters at Vancouver Aquarium