We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Crowded” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Vancouver Aquarium

Vancouver Aquarium
845 Avison Way, Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia V6B 3X8, Canada
Improve this listing
Visit Vancouver Aquarium like an insider
Special Offer
and up
Vancouver Trolley Hop-on Hop-off Tour
Ranked #13 of 335 things to do in Vancouver
Activities: Leisure education, Viewing wildlife
More attraction details
Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: This aquarium can arrange for visitors to meet exotic sea creatures, from belugas to sharks.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Top Contributor
223 reviews 223 reviews
98 attraction reviews
Reviews in 91 cities Reviews in 91 cities
632 helpful votes 632 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2007

While we enjoyed the shows, and found much to admire about the exhibits (everything was in excellent repair and had very good signage) there were some aspects that were disappointing here. The outdoor exhibit spaces were crowded - they seemed small for the animals and did not give enough viewing room during shows. My 5'3" wife was unable to see any of the sea lion show because of the size of the crowd pressed into the tiny viewing area (and this was early in the morning before most people arrived). When we went inside in the afternoon, the place was absolutely jammed with people. At times you could hardly move, and had no hope of getting close to the exhibits you wanted to see, and this was Monday. I would hate to see it on the weekend. Crowding is exacerbated by poor design of interior space. On the main exhibit level, once you have made your way through the exhibits, you have no choice but to retrace your steps, pushing through people headed the opposite direction. This essentially doubles the apparent crowding.

On the plus side the indoor exhibits that we saw really are first class. The children's play area (Clownfish Cove) is excellent. The food is a little pricey, but is also of superior quality, and the lineup problems mentioned in a previous review seem to have been solved.

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

2,936 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
“The aquarium needs help”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2007

A popular spot, gets very busy with kids.
Habitat space was way too limited for the sea lion(s) and seals. The sea lion is huge and he needs some space to stretch out. The beluga habitat is pretty nice. The big deep pool that used to be for the killer whale didn’t seem to be in use at all – is this for the dolphins? They didn’t run a dolphin show while I was there and that’s too bad. The signage on some of the tanks is poor, I was looking at some kind of creature in a tank and there was no info about it at all posted. What’s the point?
Overall I would say fairly costly for the value received. The concession is outrageous in both the layout as well at the costs. Everyone has to wait in an equal line-up whether you’re buying a pre-packaged cookie or ordering up a burger. The prices are stupid and I think it’s insulting to treat tourists and visitors this way. Note – when you get your hand stamped to get in that allows you to come and go all day, so I’d suggest you take a break from the action at some point and go buy some food and nearby concessions and then head back “into the zoo” (umm… aquarium that is) for the action. Bring an extra set of clothes (at least in the car) if you plan to watch the beluga show, you might get wet and that might otherwise spoil the day.
Safe travels – thedonk

Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
57 reviews 57 reviews
18 attraction reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
142 helpful votes 142 helpful votes
“Far too small for the surroundings”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 20, 2006

I have read the reviews and cannot agree with everything said about this attraction. I have been to European aquariums that have far better facilities and much more space for the animals.

Vancouver aquarium is built in Stanley Park which is a 1000 acre park in Vancouver. The size of this aquarium is an insult considereing the amount of parkland surrounding it.

The whales are beautiful, but are kept in a small pool and the seals are kept in an even smaller pool. I watched one that could swim the length of the pool in three pulls of it's body.

I think attractions such as this are a fantastic opportunity for people to see marine wildlife they would not otherwise see, but I do think in this attraction the surroundings are far too small.The animals seem to have so little room to move in.

The shows were ok, but the viewing areas are poorly thought out, with very little seating and very little shelter for the rainy days. There is also limited seating inside so for elderly or disabled this could pose a problem.

The rainforest was excellent.

Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
“Beautiful Vancouver”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2006

We really enjoyed our experience at the aquarium. It was beautiful there and they had so many animals to see. IT was very crowded that day and that was the only draw back. I was amazed by the amount of attractions they had and how many animal shows there was. The staff was nice, the attractions were amazing and it was overall just a great family vacation spot. My son was about 18 months at the time and he enjoyed it too.

Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
121 helpful votes 121 helpful votes
“Arctic Canada”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 17, 2005

I went to this aquarium on 19 June this year at 10am which was its opening hour. There was already a long queue. Once inside, it is good to check out the show times for the animal's performance so that you can plan your visit.

I went straight to see the beluga whales and its performance. I read from somewhere that "beluga" means "white" in russian. The whales are very beautiful, always wearing a "smiley" face. But, after seeing the whales and its performance, I cannot help but feel that they should be placed back to the ocean where they rightfully belong. The pool seems too small for these beautiful animals. Do spend sometime viewing the whales in the under water viewing section through the glass... they are so beautiful and huge.

I also went to see the other animals face to face through the glass: sea otters, stellar sea lions, dolphins, etc. There are performance at various time slots by these animals too. The performances are very popular and very crowded. If you want to have a good view, it is better that you arrive earlier before the show time to "secure" a good seat or good standing lot.

Besides the Canada Arctic section, there are other sections too: BC Coast section, Amazon Rainforest section, etc. In the BC Coast section, there are the octopus, glowing jelly fish, fish eating anemores, spirit salmon and many more. The anemores really look like flowers, very pretty. As for the octopus, sometimes you see it but sometime you don't. It likes to "hide", but when it appears in full view at the display area, there is a large crowd of people looking at it.

The Amazon Rainforest section is also interesting. At the time of my visit, a pair of birds were building their nest. Too bad I did not note down the name of these red- coloured birds. There are also piranhas, sharks and other giant fishes. Very frightful looking.

I enjoy the visit very much. I think adults and children at all ages will like this place. Indeed very interesting and amazing!

Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Vancouver Aquarium also viewed

Vancouver, British Columbia
Vancouver, British Columbia
Vancouver, British Columbia
Vancouver, British Columbia

Been to Vancouver Aquarium? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Vancouver Aquarium, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.