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rating Vancouver's aquarium

George mentioned Colorado's aquarium and compared it with Vancouver's.
I'm afraid I have to agree with George on this point (civic pride

The Vancouver Aquarium's exhibits are fairly good for showing a a fair
assortment of colourful tropical marine fish and a very decent display
of Salmonids. Also interesting is the tidal reef display (with waves)
and a large but shy Pacific octopus. To their credit, the Vancouver
Aquarium is committed to maintaining biologically correct displays
especially of the local marine and salmon types.

[The full and proper name is "The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science
Centre" http://www.vanaqua.org/ but most of us still refer to it by the
older name, The Vancouver Aquarium.]

There is an Amazon display which features many swampy terrestrial plants
however the Vancouver Aquarium has made very little effort to display
true aquatic plants. The kelp garden is a big disappointment; they need
to talk to some of the successful aquariums with kelp displays. I would
say their biggest handicap is a lack of funding for the machinery they
would need for a really good kelp garden and a lack of enthusiasm for
aquatic plant displays. Certainly there are some technological problems
to be surmounted for creating large, attractive displays of aquatic
plants but these should not tax the resources of a modern facility. The
common attitude seems to be that it can't be done. Hog wash I say!
Aren't there lots of aquariums out there with attractive aquatic plant
displays now?? How is the public responding to these? is there interest?
I know a private aquarium with a good display of plants and fish, is far
more attractive to me that a fish only aquarium. Call me weird, but I
don't think I'm alone in that sentiment.

As for the big attraction and the money maker for the Vancouver
Aquarium; how much sympathy can you have for a place which still keeps
captive marine mammals? Only a change in public perceptions is going to
make a big difference to these places who have to place a high
importance on the bottom line. 

Still, people want to see what they want to see and whales are what they
want to see. Sure, there's no other place where you can get such a
really up close view of a whale but I would encourage tourists to BC to
go on a whaling cruise instead for purely ethical reasons. I suppose the
whale exhibits do play an important role in raising the public
conscience about the horrid practice of commercial whaling. How can we
justify the for profit harvesting of sentient creatures, perhaps second
only to homo sapiens in intelligence?? (do we really deserve first
place? hmmm... maybe not >:-/ )
Steve Pushak                              Vancouver, BC, CANADA 

Visit "Steve's Aquatic Page"      http://home.infinet.net/teban/
 for LOTS of pics, tips and links for aquatic gardening!!!