‘Tis the season for tradition. Whether brand new or generations old, the very best holiday traditions involve family and friends, lots of fun, and just a touch of nostalgia. From Friday, Nov. 24 to Sunday, Jan. 7, Vancouver Aquarium, an Ocean Wise initiative, invites visitors to delight in Scuba Claus visits, magical aquatic displays, and special seasonal activities, creating and continuing traditions while making memories that will last a lifetime.
Truly one in a million, the jolliest visitor of all – Scuba Claus – returns to Vancouver Aquarium this holiday season. Visitors can watch Scuba Claus don his flippers and dive with the colourful cold-water creatures in the Strait of Georgia habitat at 12:30 p.m. daily. Wetsuits are not required when guests pose for a photo with Scuba Claus in the Ocean Courtyard from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends. Scuba Claus will be visiting the Aquarium daily until Sunday, Dec. 24 only (due to long-standing Christmas commitments, of course).
Visitors enjoy the wave of childlike wonder as they watch Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer for the first time in the 4-D theatre. Cool wind pinches cheeks as snow falls all around; Rudolph’s epic adventure comes alive with wondrous sights, sounds, and sensations. For those who truly believe, there will be a special showing of The Polar Express at 11:15 a.m. daily.
Festive décor adorns the Aquarium’s many galleries, immersing guests in a holiday experience while exploring the Arctic to the Amazon and everywhere in between. The fun starts in the Ocean Courtyard as little ones explore the Kelp Forest Maze in search of urchins, otters, and a Scuba Claus surprise. Visitors marvel at Vancouver’s most ‘shocking’ holiday display while standing in the glow of the Electric eel-powered Christmas tree in the Teck Connections Gallery and while learning more during the eel-ectrifying program 11 a.m. daily. Adding Aquarium-style whimsy, the new decorations are not to be missed. Visitors can cherish holiday memories forever by snapping a photo in front of the enchanting jelly snow globe display in the Tropics Gallery or under the charming mistle-toad hanging by the Frogs Forever? Gallery.
A true Vancouver Aquarium tradition, the Marine Debris Christmas Tree returns to the Teck Engagement Gallery. Created by Tofino-based artist Pete Clarkson, the unique tree is made from a variety of ocean plastics collected from shorelines on the west coast of Vancouver Island. This impressive work of art stands as a reminder of the plastic debris littering our oceans and its harmful impact on marine animals and ecosystems. Most importantly, the tree encourages thoughtfulness about unnecessary plastic use during the holiday season and throughout the year. (Make a splash this season with these ocean-friendly gift suggestions.)
Holiday fun continues even after Scuba Claus returns to the North Pole. Starting Monday, Dec. 25, visitors can participate in a self-guided scavenger hunt, discovering sometimes unseen animals. Learning about these staff-favourites will entertain and intrigue both the young and the young-at-heart.
Vancouver Aquarium will be celebrating the holidays from Friday, Nov. 24 to Sunday, Jan 7; visitors can enjoy Scuba Claus dives from Nov. 24 to Dec. 24 and the scavenger hunt from Dec. 25 to Jan. 7. Vancouver Aquarium is open 365 days a year, including statutory holidays. For open hours and program schedules, visit www.vanaqua.org.
Vancouver Aquarium, an Ocean Wise initiative, is one of the world’s leading accredited aquariums, dedicated to the conservation of aquatic life.www.vanaqua.org
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Image provided by Vancouver Aquarium