After being closed for over three months, the Vancouver Aquarium has announced that it will reopen to the public on Friday, June 26.
In April, the Ocean Wise Conservation Association reported that it had raised over half a million dollars in just over a week since the Vancouver Aquarium announced that it might be forced to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior to the announcement, Lasse Gustavsson, Chief Executive Officer at the Vancouver Aquarium, told Vancouver Is Awesome in a phone call that it may only be a matter of months before the beloved aquarium is shut down.
The Vancouver Whitecaps also joined forces with the Vancouver Aquarium to sell face masks with proceeds going to help keep the financially troubled aquarium afloat. Together, they raised over a whopping million dollars in high-performance athletic face masks in just three days, with all net proceeds going toward saving the Vancouver Aquarium.
Now, every ticket purchased will help ensure the future of the not-for-profit Vancouver Aquarium, which continues to face bankruptcy as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and three-month closure.
For safety of visitors, the Vancouver Aquarium will offer a new, timed-ticketed, one-way flow experience that will allow visitors to encounter the wonder of our ocean, safely and in a crowd-free setting.
“In our 64-year history, we’ve never been closed for more than a few days and so we are extremely excited to reopen and welcome back visitors and members,” said Karen Howe, Director of Visitor Experience. “Our new, reconfigured layout will take guests on a journey through our main floor galleries allowing people to learn and engage with Vancouver Aquarium exhibits and animals in new ways.”
In adherence of physical distancing directives from the office of the Provincial Health Officer, the Aquarium will initially be operating at approximately 20-30% of normal capacity for this time of year.
Full details about the new Vancouver Aquarium experience and COVID-19 protocols can be found at vanaqua.org/notices, but highlights include:
- All visitors, including members, must reserve tickets online, in advance, at vanaqua.org/tickets. Tickets are date and time specific to control the number of people in the Aquarium at one time.
- Guests will be given approximately 1.5 hours to follow a one-way flow through six-zones and more than 85 indoor and outdoor exhibits on the Vancouver Aquarium’s main level (the lower level of the Vancouver Aquarium will be closed during the initial opening phase).
- Face masks must be worn by all visitors (excluding children under the age of 3). Masks can be purchased at our gift shop, if you don’t have one.
- Hand sanitizing stations, physical distancing measures, enhanced cleaning and safety signage are in place throughout the Aquarium.
- Vancouver Aquarium members are encouraged to return! Members must reserve their free tickets online, in advance, for a specific date and time and will be able to enjoy 'Member Early Opens'. Details
- Guests who are unwell or displaying symptoms of COVID-19 may not enter the Aquarium. If you are sick, please be kind to others and stay at home.
Home to 70,000 animals, the Vancouver Aquarium is the oldest and largest aquarium in Canada, first opening in 1956.
The iconic Vancouver facility closed to the public on March 17. On March 31, it laid off 345 employees, which amounts to 60% of its workforce.
From rescued sea lions to otters, seals to jellies, fish to birds - basic animal care and facility costs at the Vancouver Aquarium exceed $1 million dollars each month. However, the facility reports that revenue has dropped from approximately $3 million to almost zero.