We awoke at a decent hour, showered, ate, and moved our stuff to our new room (we had to move back into shared dorms), and headed off through town. We had recently learned that once you purchase a bus ticket, you can use it for an hour and a half, so you can hop on and off buses, which is great. We bussed down to Stanley Park, this time to go to the aquarium. Now, the aquarium, you say, its just fish, and we’ve seen fish before.. But nope, this aquarium is pretty cool.
They were really quite busy, it was a Friday, but it is the holiday period, so no idea how busy they usually are. There were quite a lot of people. They have shows running every half hour, on various interest points in the aquarium. We walked straight into the sea otters talk, and it turns out the otters we saw the other day are not even a little bit big enough to be sea otters, so they must have been river otters. Still cute, but not quite as awsum. I think the west coast of Vancouver island is a good place to see sea otters. They have three at the Aquarium. They are quite large, can apparently weigh up to 45kg. They have an amazing amount of hair on them, and even when in water, the layer of hair closest to the skin is still dry. They use hair (unlike other sea mammals, who use a layer of fat – blubber) to keep warm in the freezing and wet. The one we saw was super cute, the trainers were feeding him heaps, he would grab each bit and then lie on his back, floating around like a little raft, and eat his food. He uses his huge paddle like back feet to keep up the right way, but he made it look super easy just to lie there.
After the otters, we wandered for a bit, then went to visit the seals. They were doing training, and made them jump up and down, and give kisses for food. I unfortunately didn’t get any pics of the kisses, but they were cute!
My favourite part of the aquarium were the Beluga Whales. I didn’t even have a clue they were there, but they are amazing and pretty, and very very white! They are weirdly lumpy, but quite agile for their size. They can wiggle their forehead bump, and can make quite a lot of noises. It is hard to take pics of beluga with our little camera, most of them came out very white.
The other parts we saw were the beluga show, where we got splashed, the Dolphin show, where they jumped amazingly high, and the seal show, where they were super cute.
I was a bit sad about the dolphins in the small enclosure, but it turns out most of the animals they have in the aquarium are rescues, have been hand raised, or for whatever reason, can’t actually be released back into the wild, as they would likely not be able to look after themselves. One of the dolphins had pretty much no pectoral fins, as she had lost them in a fishing net. The keepers had to teach many of the animals how to properly act like they should.
The aquarium also had a couple of snakes, including an anaconda, which is a constrictor, and was in the process of constricting and eating its food while we walked past. There was an amazon section, warm and humid, that has sloths and monkeys, and a big section on frogs of the area. The other section was the British Columbia area, where they had tanks made up in the type of fish and plants you would find in particular areas around Vancouver. There were a lot of cool anenome and starfish, and they had a whole jellyfish exhibition, which was neat.
We must have spent about 6 hours there before we decided we had seen enough, and made our way home. We had a lovely view of a waterfront and pretty lights.