the vancouver aquarium

[twitter]The one place we miss the most about no longer living in BC is the Vancouver Aquarium. Hands down.

Calgary has a wonderful zoo, but it’s not quite the same as the Vancouver Aquarium.

Growing up on the coast there’s something magical about this ‘zoo for water animals.’ The penguins, the otters, the whales, the salmon, and the jellyfish. Oh, the jellyfish.

Things have changed since our last visit. The finishing touches are being placed on a grand new entrance right off the main parking lot. You’ll now enter directly into a dark hall filled with all sorts of gorgeous glowing creatures. Here you can pick up your photo that you posed for in the ticket line-up. You stand in front of a green screen, and then they drop you into an underwater or penguin environment. Photos are $22 and we had to buy one, since when you are a tourist these are the sorts of things you do!

vancouver aquarium

This new entrance drops you right in to one of my favorite spots of The Vancouver Aquarium, a hall filled with haunting, floating jellyfish. Fitting, actually, since the exhibit theme for our arrival was The Jelly Invasion!

jelly invasion vancouver aquarium

Jellyfish are so elegant. They glow and float so beautifully and are a great photography subject. In fact, the Vancouver Aquarium is having a photography contest. Share your pictures of the jellies on Facebook for your chance to win amazing prizes all summer long, including a fabulous grand prize that will give you everything you need to take your aquatic photography to the next level.

Here are some I took with just my iPhone.

jellyfish vancouver aquarium

jellyfish vancouver aquarium

jellyfish vancouver aquarium

After the Jelly Invasion, we ducked in to check out the new 4D theatre. This used to be a kid’s play area that has been transformed in to a movie theatre that shows short 15 minute movies with a completely interactive experience.

Zacharie had been before and knew what to expect, I didn’t but soon found out when a squirt of water hit me in the face the instant a whale splashed on the screen. Underwater scenes fill the theatre with bubbles, breezes blow when the camera soars above the land, and when the salmon shimmy to lay their eggs, your seat shakes right with them. It was a lot of fun, although a little ‘too’ realistic for Charlie (3 yo) who had to leave after the first splash.

fish and chips at vancouver aquarium

I don’t know about you, but I find it odd ordering fish and chips at an aquarium. Still, it’s what we order every single time. The Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise logo is one you see on menus across Canada and it signifies sustainable seafood items. I still feel like I’m stealing the beluga’s lunch, though.

vancouver aquarium ocean wise

We watched a beluga shows, had the penguins march in front of us, saw the sharks, the turtle, and then stared at the sloth and butterflies and parrots in the Amazon exhibit.

penguin collage

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That’s why we love the Aquarium – there’s a little of everything, but I forgot one thing – don’t go on a sunny Sunday in the summer. It was busy.

Our visit to the Vancouver Aquarium was part of a wonderful whirlwind long weekend with kids on the coast and one of just many amazing adventures we had. Check out how you can spend 3 days with the kids in Vancouver on DadCAMP.

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Disclosure: Thanks to the staff at strong>the Vancouver Aquarium for providing our family with media passes to spend the day at one of our favorite places in the city.

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