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Magnificent Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park ~ Killer Whales Now a Thing of the Past

Updated on August 12, 2017
Peggy W profile image

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

Killer Whale show at Vancouver's Aquarium
Killer Whale show at Vancouver's Aquarium | Source

Canada's Vancouver Aquarium

One of the premier attractions in Stanley Park and in Vancouver, British Columbia for that matter is the magnificent Vancouver Aquarium.

It was the very first public aquarium in Canada and is also the largest. It also happens to be one of the 5 largest aquariums in all of North America.

It's main focus is on conservation and research. There are over 166 aquatic displays.

These otters were filmed at the Vancouver Aquarium

Among other things one can view some of the following:

  • Sharks
  • Stonefish
  • Angel fishes
  • Eels
  • Seahorses and more in the H.R. MacMillan Tropical Gallery.

Vancouver Aquarium - worlds largest freshwater fish

In the Sandwell North Pacific Gallery one can see beautiful and luminous jellyfish, anemones, octopus and more.

If your desire is to see fresh water fish like salmon, steelhead and arctic grayling, this can be done by visiting the Rufe Gibbs Hall.

The Max Bell Marine Mammal Centre offers views of the larger animals like whales, seals, sea lions and the like.

My mother, niece and I were staying at the Westin Bayshore Hotel which was so conveniently located for us. We were within walking distance of Stanley Park and availed ourselves of exploring it several times during our 5 day vacation in Vancouver.

This particular day we decided to visit the renowned Vancouver Aquarium located in Stanley Park.

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My niece standing under the Orca statue  at Vancouver Aquarium
My niece standing under the Orca statue at Vancouver Aquarium | Source

A huge Orca statue greets one at the entrance to the aquarium. It is titled Chief of the Undersea World and Bill Reid gets the credit for its artistry.

The orca (killer whale) show was amazing. The trainers / handlers had these huge black and white orcas leaping out of the water and doing tricks on command.

The same could be said regarding the beluga whales who are white in color with those recognizable almost smiling faces. They performed in unison and we were warned that people in the audience just might get splashed.

As the orcas would whip their tails against the water delivering a huge spray of water into the crowd, peals of laughter could be heard. My main concern was keeping my camera dry.

The Vancouver Aquarium was the first to capture and put orcas on display.

Orca (killer) whales at Vancouver Aquarium

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Orca whale performing at the Vancouver AquariumOrca whale performing Orca whales
Orca whale performing at the Vancouver Aquarium
Orca whale performing at the Vancouver Aquarium | Source
Orca whale performing
Orca whale performing | Source
Orca whales
Orca whales | Source

Much as we enjoyed the show I would rather think of these magnificent marine animals having the freedom of the ocean and their pods with which to travel and interact.

Beluga whales at Vancouver aquarium

Beluga Whale performance
Beluga Whale performance | Source

In 1996 it was decided that never again will the Vancouver Aquarium be responsible for capturing wild whales, dolphins or other cetaceans.

Their prime focus, as mentioned above is conservation and research. They do help abandoned animals or sick ones and try and nurse them back to health in order that they may be released into the wild.

I am very happy to hear about this direction that they are taking.

Beluga whales performance at Vancouver Aquarium

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Beluga whales performing Beluga whales
Beluga whales performing
Beluga whales performing | Source
Beluga whales
Beluga whales | Source

Beluga Whales

After the beluga whale performance, chunks of ice were thrown into their pool. Apparently they love playing with the ice before it melts.

The beluga whales would push the chunks of ice ahead of them and do all sorts of gymnastic moves while the ice was still intact.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Beluga whale playing with iceBeluga whales playing with iceBeluga whale
Beluga whale playing with ice
Beluga whale playing with ice | Source
Beluga whales playing with ice
Beluga whales playing with ice | Source
Beluga whale
Beluga whale | Source

Their smooth white faces which always seem to have a perpetual smile on them appeared to really enjoy this special treat and it was fun watching their antics with the ice. This was not a trick but just appeared to be joyful play on their part.

The crowd of people watching the belugas playing also wore many smiles upon their faces.

Recommendation

After getting to spend some time at the magnificent Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park, I would heartily recommend your visiting there if your travel plans take you to that area.

There is much more to see and enjoy in beautiful Stanley Park, but this attraction of the Vancouver Aquarium is one that gets a big "thumbs up" from our experience.

Sea otters at Vancouver Aquarium
Sea otters at Vancouver Aquarium | Source

Update Regarding the Whales

I recently received this comment from a Charles Barnes who lives in Vancouver. Sharing it in his own words, here it is:

"Hello Peggy,

So glad you enjoyed your time at the Vancouver Aquarium. Being a Vancouverite, and a father of 6 children, the Aquarium has been a staple for entertainment/education for our family for many years.

Your visit was clearly many years ago now as the aquarium has not kept orcas in captivity since 2001 and sadly, I regret to inform you that the aquarium's last Beluga whale, Aurora, has past away as of Friday night. Now, the aquarium owns other belugas who are on loan to other facilities around North America. Whether or not one or more of these animals will return to Vancouver is unknown at this time but you may want to update this page for your visitors. The Vancouver Aquarium is still very much a worthwhile place to visit and so much to offer beyond the whales. I highly recommend reserving a full day for the experience as there is a lot to take in and the education through hands on experience is second to none. If your visitors still wish to see whales, I recommend a whale watching tour to see these magnificent animals in their natural habitat. All the best to you. Charles"

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I am happy to hear that those beautiful orca whales are no longer in captivity. A whale watching tour is the best way to see them while they swim freely with their own kind.

The Vancouver aquarium is definitely a great place to spend some time even without the whales. I would still highly recommend it.

Thanks again Charles for the update!

Vancouver Aquarium - Hyacinthine Macaw and Marmoset

A markerVancouver Aquarium -
845 Avison Way, Vancouver, BC V6G3E2, Canada
get directions

© 2009 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed. Thanks!

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    • Peggy W profile image
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      Peggy Woods 11 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Charles Barnes,

      Thanks for the update. You are correct in that it was many years ago when we visited Vancouver and the Vancouver Aquarium. Many people many not read your comment so I think I will just copy much of it and put it in an update in the body of the article. Again...thanks!

    • profile image

      Charles Barnes 12 months ago

      Hello Peggy,

      So glad you enjoyed your time at the Vancouver Aquarium. Being a Vancouverite, and a father of 6 children, the Aquarium has been a staple for entertainment/education for our family for many years.

      Your visit was clearly many years ago now as the aquarium has not kept orcas in captivity since 2001 and sadly, I regret to inform you that the aqaurium's last Beluga whale, Aurora, has past away as of Friday night. Now, the aquarium owns other belugas who are on loan to other facilities around North America. Whether or not one or more of these animals will return to Vancouver is unknown at this time but you may want to update this page for your visitors. The Vancouver Aquarium is still very much a worthwhile place to visit and so much to offer beyond the whales. I highly recommend reserving a full day for the experience as there is a lot to take in and the education through hands-on experience is second to none. If your visitors still wish to see whales, I recommend a whale-watching tour to see these magnificent animals in their natural habitat. All the best to you. Charles

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 18 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Robert,

      Yes...the beluga whales also performed. It was wonderful getting to see the magnificent Vancouver Aquarium.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 18 months ago

      Enjoyed the article. I didn't know beluga whales performed. This seems to be a magnificent aquarium.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Alocsin,

      The Vancouver Aquarium is definitely worth a visit...and of course, it is situated in the beautiful Stanley Park. Terrific setting! Thanks for your visit and votes.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      This is another attraction I missed when I was last in Vancouver. I'll have to make time for it. Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Jellyfishlady,

      Thanks for adding this bit of information to the Vancouver Aquarium hub.

    • profile image

      Jellyfishlady 6 years ago

      Sunset Marine labs have worked with the Vancouver Aquarium and continue to worth with them.

      http://sunsetmarinelabs.com/

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Greetings love2scrap,

      Enjoy your visit to Vancouver's Aquarium in Stanley Park and be sure to spend a little extra time checking out the entire park. It is a beautiful and very scenic area. Happy to hear that you liked the photos. Thanks!

    • love2scrap profile image

      love2scrap 7 years ago

      Fabulous hub and fabulous photos. I can't wait to visit the aquarium next month when we are in Vancouver!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello ss sneh,

      Yes, the Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park would definitely be a great place to spend a vacation with kids. Thanks for the visit.

    • ss sneh profile image

      ss sneh 7 years ago from the Incredible India!

      Hi! Amazing videos and pictures! Very useful info! Nice place to spend a vacation with kids. -- Thanks

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Greetings TINA V,

      Thanks for enjoying and linking this hub about the Aquarium in Stanley Park located in Vancouver, Canada to your hub. Will go and read yours and hopefully we can interlink not only this hub but others as well. Thanks!

    • TINA V profile image

      TINA V 7 years ago

      You have a well written hub, great photos and videos. The otters are so cute holding hands together. I like it. It's good that Hubpages has a new feature "suggest link." I suggested this as a link using the word "aquarium" in my previous article about Aquarium of the Pacific.

      Great hub!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi mp,

      So happy that this brought back some great memories for you. The Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park created ones for us as well. Thanks for the comment.

    • profile image

      mp 8 years ago

      I love the Van Aquarium... I've been there many times but still need to take my sons there... thanks for the Hub and bringing back such great memories.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Thanks kiran. You can probably tell that I am reliving this vacation piece by piece. Thanks as always for your comments.

    • kiran8 profile image

      kiran8 8 years ago from Mangalore, India

      Another very interesting hub, thanks a lot :)

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Paper Moon,

      That video is really cute. Glad that I was able to find it and share it with you...especially with your love of otters. Thanks for commenting.

    • Paper Moon profile image

      Paper Moon 8 years ago from In the clouds

      I would love to go if ever in the area. I loved the otter vid. I have loved otters ever since I saw them on the Wonderful World of Disney when I was really little.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Ashley,

      They would be even more fun to see in the wild swimming in pods. They are truly beautiful creatures. Maybe someday you will get a chance to see them. Thanks for your comment.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Birte, You've got me accurately pegged! Thanks for the comment.

    • AshleyVictoria profile image

      AshleyVictoria 8 years ago from Los Angeles

      Those Beluga Whales are gorgeous. Unfortunately I've never had the chance to see any !

    • BirteEdwards profile image

      BirteEdwards 8 years ago

      This hub shows your love of wildlife, and your understanding of the importance of conservation

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Not yet, Pete! Stay tuned...

    • Pete Maida profile image

      Pete Maida 8 years ago

      That pretty much covers Vancouver.