The Vancouver Aquarium unveiled its first phase of expansion at an official ceremony on Friday. The $45 million project is the most significant addition to the Aquarium since its doors opened, 58 years ago.
The new, 55,000-square-foot addition includes a new entrance gallery and courtyard, with a 360-degree digital screen and a massive four metre plus diameter globe. The globe is turned on its head to bring more significance to the Polar Regions and Canada. The flipped view is especially visible for the wee ones.
Other new exhibits include a school of cichlids from Lake Malawi in Africa, a Red Sea coral reef and a Jamaican fruit bat exhibit (keep those necklines covered).
The Aquarium has also focused their attention on local habitats, such as the Gulf Islands. The Pacific coast exhibit now features a school of coho salmon.
Additional plans promise expansion of the beluga and dolphin tanks.
John Nightingale, the Aquarium’s CEO, is especially proud of the new project. He hopes that the new educational opportunities will out shine the negative press that the aquarium is receiving over captivity issues. “Our aim is to reach and inspire more visitors to engage with issues affecting our aquatic and ocean environments and to take personal action that will help save our ecosystems and the wildlife that depend on them,” says Nightingale.