Today we visited the Vancouver Aquarium in green Stanley Park, west of downtown Vancouver. Under a foggy sky reminiscent of Seattle (which is quite close to Vancouver, less than 200 miles to the south), the Amazon rain forest exhibit inside the aquarium was a welcome change in climate.
With a shark tank smaller than the aquaria in San Francisco and Monterey, California, the main draw of the aquarium for me was the Beluga whale tank. Beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) are entirely white in color, and inhabits the arctic and sub-arctic waters of the north. They are smaller than I had expected, but nonetheless it was very thrilling to see a few in person.
Another impressive critter is the arapaima (Arapaima gigas), which is a large freshwater fish that inhabits murky waters of the Amazon Basin. The fish is a true air-breathing one, swimming slowly up to the surface to take a gulp of air every 1 0 minutes or so.
A nice tank showing four-eyes fishes (Anableps anableps) allowed visitors to view the animals from "within" the tank and up-close to examine the subdivided eyes that allow the fish to see both above and below water at the same time (via different shaped lenses).
Although small and a bit crowded by California aquaria standards, the Vancouver Aquarium is a great place for both kids and adults to get their fill of fish and mammals from around the world. Thumbs up!