A public aquarium
located in Stanley Park
, in Vancouver
The aquarium was famous for its killer whales - at one time it had three. Hyack, the eldest male, died a few years ago, and Finna, another male was transferred to another aquarium because Bjossa, the female and only orca still at the aquarium, kept having miscarriages and once a calf who didn't survive long. To combat Bjossa's loneliness, she was transferred to Sea World in California in 2001 (to join the freaky Shamu phenomenon..), and recently died of a chronic lung infection that had been plaguing her for several years. The aquarium's policy is now that it will not seek out new whales unless they were born in captivity, because orcas are a threatened species and because they tend to live longer in the wild. In light of the loss of their star attraction, I understand they are however considering less-endangered dolphins from the wild to fill the space.
Other than the killer whales, the aquarium is home to some 30,000 other creatures, including thousands of tropical and freshwater fish, beluga whales, sea lions, frogs, insects, crocodiles, turtles, sharks, shell fish, sea horses, anemones, a few birds, eels.. did I mention fish? The newest exhibit is a giant tank featuring local northwest fish and sealife in a naturalistic setting - including a new octopus!
Most of the exhibits are indoors, but the whale and sea lion tanks are outdoors. Special behind-the-scenes feeding tours and sleep-overs for school groups and youth groups are very popular.
The aquarium is run by the City of Vancouver, and relies greatly on private donations and the work of volunteers. It has a gift shop.