“Wow, I can’t believe that those are really animals, they look like puffy feathers… awesome!” said the Grade 2 student as she encountered the beautiful orange sea pens in one of the tanks at Campbell River’s Discovery Passage Aquarium.
She and other students from Sayward school were delighted to visit the Aquarium this week – and to be the first to see the displays this season.
Yes, it’s Aquarium season again.
Volunteers and staff have been busy stocking tanks with a new and very diverse selection of critters.
“We have a whole bunch of animals – favourites, and new on display this year,” says Deb Cowper, manager of the Aquarium.
“Not just the sea pens, but also a good selection of the beautifully weird and impressive nudibranchs (sea slugs), fascinating pipefish, and a gorgeous red Irish Lord camouflaged amongst the strawberry anemones. Also new for the season are several different species of crab, the giant barnacles that look like false eyelashes when they feed, and an ‘Under the Dock’ display representing Argonaut Wharf, a favourite local dive site.”
During Sayward school’s recent trip, there was great enthusiasm from the children.
“It was amazing to see how engaged the students were,” said Deryn Ramsey, one of three local University student Interpreters hired this year.
“I could not believe the excitement and great questions they had.”
New this year is the Explorer Lab which will be operated by Aquarium staff out of the Maritime Heritage Centre.
“After opening the Aquarium this weekend, we will turn our attention to getting our new Explorer Lab ready,” said Cowper.
“Thanks to much support from the community we will be able to host groups and work with them on marine life, do hands-on science, or art and play, just across the parking lot on the ground floor of the Maritime Heritage Centre.”
The Aquarium and Explorer Lab are both run by the Discovery Passage SeaLife Society, a local charity dedicated to educating the public about the fantastic natural aquatic environments of Northern Vancouver Island.
“We have a summer of Aquarium fun ahead, so get your season’s pass now early on and enjoy unlimited visits…we are looking forward to connecting with you and showing you our local treasures,” said Cowper.
Visit the website, www.discoverypassageaquarium.ca or call 250-914-5500 for more information, or to book a group visit.