Vancouver Aquarium#11 in Best Things To Do in Vancouver
Those in the know say the Vancouver Aquarium is definitely worth exploring, whether you're traveling with kids or just looking for a little extra marine knowledge. As the home of more than 50,000 different animals belonging to 734 different species, this is a great place to become acquainted with local animals as well as exotic creatures. But don't come here expecting SeaWorld: Past visitors say the aquarium's focus is more on interactive exhibits and education and less on choreographed animal performances. Different exhibits mimic various habitats, from the icy tanks of the Canada's Arctic exhibit to the colorful clownfish and intimidating black-tip reef sharks sheltered in the Tropic Zone. Don't miss the Graham Amazon Gallery, a giant atrium where three-toed sloths and stunning tree frogs take shelter from the hourly simulated rainstorms.
While some recent visitors comment on the steep cost of admission, they also say that if you schedule enough time, it's worth the price. For a little extra, you can tag along for a behind-the-scenes tour of the aquarium.
Sitting on the eastern edge of Stanley Park, the Vancouver Aquarium is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. If you're driving to Stanley Park, there is pay parking throughout the park, with lots about a 4- to 7-minute walk from the aquarium. The aquarium is located about a 15- to 20-minute walk from downtown Vancouver. If you chose to bike, you'll find several bike racks close to the aquarium's main entrance. The No. 19 bus brings you within a 5-minute walk of the aquarium; it runs along West Pender Street. Tickets for adults cost CA$39 (about $30); admission for kids ages 13 to 18 costs CA$30 (about $23.10) and tickets for children ages 4 to 12 cost CA$22 (about $17). Along with restrooms and a gift shop, there are also several eateries on-site. For more information about tours, special events and daily hours, visit the aquarium's website.
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#1 Stanley Park
This nearly 1,000-acre park on the tip of Vancouver's "thumb" (just north of the West End) is home to some of the city's favorite, most-visited attractions. In fact, you could easily spend more than a day here and still not see everything this urban oasis has to offer. If you want to experience the park the way the locals do, walk, cycle or jog around the nearly 20-mile-long Seawall that hugs Vancouver's waterfront. The path starts at the Vancouver Convention Centre and ends at Spanish Banks Beach Park. If you're not up for the walk, you'll find several bike rental companies near the park. With your bike, you'll be able to explore the more than 17 miles of forest trails that are much less crowded than the rest of the park. Travelers recommend biking the South Creek Trail, which leads to the lily pad-covered Beaver Lake. If you're not up for all that exercise, you can ride a hop-on, hop-off trolley or a horse-drawn carriage. Both guided tours (offered seasonally) include informational narration. Recent visitors said the park offers a great escape from the city and has one of the prettiest seawall walks around.
Families with kids in tow will find plenty of family-friendly to-dos here as well, including an outdoor water park and a separate heated, outdoor pool. The park also boasts four playgrounds and a miniature train that snakes through more than a mile of forest. The Vancouver Aquarium is also nestled within the park, but costs extra. Art and history buffs will likely want to stop at Brockton Point to see the First Nation totem pole display (along the Seawall). It's estimated that some of the original totem poles were carved in the late 1880s.
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