Vancouver Aquarium: Up Close & Personal

The Vancouver Aquarium has always been a family-favourite destination for us, but today, I had the opportunity to experience the Aquarium like never before – from behind the scenes.

From now until the end of April, the Vancouver Aquarium will be providing its guests with interactive, up-close, behind-the-scenes experiences, as part of their newly-launched Vancouver Aquarium Up Close feature. Guests will have the opportunity to venture behind the closed doors of the Aquarium to see how the Aquarium operates, and what’s involved in caring for the diverse range of animals who call the Vancouver Aquarium home.

This morning, I was invited to join a group of bloggers to experience the Vancouver Aquarium Up Close feature firsthand. It was an exhilarating, unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I will definitely be back with my kids so they can enjoy the same experiences as I have. Here are some highlights from our tour.

We started our morning in the Wet Lab – which until now, was only accessible to school groups. While we learned facts about the 150 different species of invertebrates – from sea cucumbers, to sea stars, to crabs – we were encouraged to touch the spineless animals.

Vancouver Aquarium

The Wet Lab at the Vancouver Aquarium

We then moved on for a behind-the-scenes look at the shark tank. We ventured up to the “Shark Penthouse”, where we enjoyed an above-the-water view of the beloved Aquarium attraction.

Vancouver Aquarium

A view of the shark tank, from below and above

A highlight of this leg of the tour was meeting the adorable “Schoona”, a 250 pound sea turtle, and queen of the shark tank.

Vancouver Aquarium

Schoona the sea turtle, queen of the shark tank

Side note: Right as I snapped these adorable photos of my newfound friend, two sharks had a fight on the surface of the water -soaking me from head to toe. I was drenched!

Next, we headed back downstairs to check out the jellyfish exhibits from behind the glass.

Vancouver Aquarium

I was amazed to discover such a diverse assortment of jelly creatures, each so unique and beautiful.

Vancouver Aquarium

With Sarah of @BentoMomma

We were then treated to a viewing of the 4-D experience – Planet Earth: Shallow Seas – a 15-minute undersea adventure featuring Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and humpback whales. While we enjoyed the aquatic visual effects, we were surprised by sprays of water, gusts of cool air, and surprise pokes from within our seats.

Our whirlwind tour ended with my favourite Aquarium feature – the dolphin show! While the acrobatic marine mammals danced and jumped and squealed for the crowd, we watched on as a couple enjoyed a unique dolphin encounter.

Vancouver Aquarium

Vancouver Aquarium

And a member of our group of bloggers was randomly selected to enjoy a hands-on dolphin encounter as well!

Vancouver Aquarium

LeeAnne of @ModernMamaVan

I left with a deeper understanding of the Vancouver Aquarium and all they do to care for the over 50,000 aquatic creatures that reside within the walls of the world-renowned tourist attraction. I highly recommend taking advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience it all from behind-the-scenes. An experience you and your children will never forget.

Experience Vancouver Aquarium Up Close until April 30, 2014. View the daily schedule of Vancouver Aquarium Up Close at www.vanaqua.org.

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