Children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult (19 & older)
The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre was formed initially as the Vancouver Public Aquarium Association in 1951. The Vancouver Aquarium, officially Canada's first public Aquarium, opened on June 15, 1956. The Vancouver Aquarium always has been a self-supporting, non-profit organization receiving no annual government operational funding.Through visionary, responsible growth programs with building additions starting in 1967, the Vancouver Aquarium has become the largest in Canada and one of the five largest in North America. The Aquarium is internationally recognized for display and interpretation excellence, and was the first facility to incorporate professional naturalists/interpretive specialists into galleries to explain animal behaviors. Aquarium research projects extend world-wide and we are internationally recognized for our successful Marine Mammal Rescue and Rehabilitation Program.
The founding principles of the Aquarium have been to attain the highest possible standard of animal care within a top-notch facility couple by an informative and educational guest experience. In 1975, the Vancouver Aquarium's commitment to excellence was recognized as the first aquarium accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA). The Aquarium is also accredited by the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) and in 1987 was designated Canada's Pacific National Aquarium by the Canadian Federal Government.
When the Vancouver Aquarium opened in 1956, there were five aquariums in North America, of which Vancouver was the fifth. Today, there are approximately 48, only two of which are in Canada. Worldwide, the number of aquariums has grown to over 200. Leading aquarium professionals generally place the Vancouver Aquarium among the top five in the world, or even in the top three. Innovative programming, superlative animal care, and a commitment to aquatic research has seen the Aquarium held in high esteem year after year.
The Aquarium has made a reputation and as a cutting edge organization with the capability to respond to changing conservation and aquatic protection needs through diversity and growth. From a 9,000 square foot (830 square meters) facility in Stanley Park, with 7 employees on opening day in 1956 (5 more had to be hired the day after the opening to cope with the crowds), the Vancouver Aquarium has grown to over 100,000 square feet (9,000 square meters) and 280 employees today.