The Vancouver Aquarium reopens on Friday, following a closure of more than three months.
All admissions from reopening will support the aquarium, which is facing bankruptcy due to the difficult financial situation it finds itself in as a result of the pandemic.
A number of added health and safety measures have been implemented for visitors. For starters, the aquarium will have an initial visitor capacity of 20% to 30%.
Guests will be required to purchase tickets online in advance, selecting a specific date and time for entry. For members to return, they can reserve a free ticket online following the same system, with the added benefit of enjoying special early hours on select dates.
Visits will be timed and guests will have 90 minutes to complete a one-way circuit through six zones and 85 indoor and outdoor exhibits. The aquarium adds that the lower level of the facility will remain closed during the first opening phase.
Visitors will also be required to wear a face mask or cover, except for children under the age of three. They can be purchased at the gift shop for those who don’t bring their own.
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Hand sanitizing dispensers, as well as physical distancing and directional decals and signage, will also be placed around the aquarium.
Various campaign initiatives have helped raise funding for both the Vancouver Aquarium’s main attraction in Stanley Park and the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre near Crab Park in downtown, but the financial situation has not dissipated.
The facility faced over $1 million in monthly animal care and facility costs since its closure on March 17, but with no admission revenue.
“If you love the Vancouver Aquarium and appreciate the research, education, animal rescue and conservation work that Ocean Wise does, we encourage you to buy a ticket and come back to visit us,” said Lasse Gustavsson, president and CEO of Ocean Wise. “Every visit helps to ensure the future of the Vancouver Aquarium and the important work Ocean Wise does.”
The aquarium’s decision to reopen is timed with the Vancouver Park Board’s newly implemented measures today that allow all cars to re-enter Stanley Park’s local roads. The parking lots serving the aquarium are unaffected by the temporary road changes.
With files from Kenneth Chan.