The Discovery Passage Aquarium will be opening for the summer on June 27 at 10 a.m. In this 2019 file photo, members of the Discovery Passage Aquarium staff from left, Nathan Duifhuis, Brianna Marcoux, Ricky Belanger, Robyn Douglas, Hailee Arlitt and Grant Matthews, pose for a photo with touch tank specimens on Aug. 26, 2019. File photo by Marissa Tiel – Campbell River Mirror

Discovery Passage Aquarium to open June 27

Maximum of eight visitors allowed at a time, no touch tanks this year

A school of socially-distanced salmon stickers will be on the floor to welcome patrons to the Discovery Passage Aquarium when it re-opens for the summer this Saturday.

Armed with a safety plan outlining health and safety protocols to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19, the Discovery Passage Aquarium society announced its Aquarium and Explorer Lab would be re-opening for its regular hours on June 27 at 10 a.m.

Among the measures, visitors can expect enhanced cleaning protocols, reduced capacity in the aquarium and no touch tanks – they are strictly eyes-only this year due to the risk of contamination of residual chemicals from soaps and hand sanitizers.

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In mid-May, representatives from small aquariums across the province – including the Ucluelet Aquarium and Discovery Passage Aquarium – met to discuss how best to protect staff, volunteers and animals during the pandemic.

RELATED: Discovery Passage Aquarium celebrates eight years of education and fun

At Discovery Passage Aquarium, which is located next to the Campbell River Fishing Pier, visitors will have to sanitize their hands before entering the aquarium. There will be a maximum of eight visitors, or two groups at a time, allowed in the aquarium. Pylons will be set up outside to encourage those waiting to maintain two metres distance.

While the aquarium will be open for its usual schedule (10 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week until September), it may close periodically for 15-30 minutes at a time so staff can sanitize and perform safe animal husbandry.

The Discovery Passage Aquarium would normally open for the season in May, but the pandemic meant a delay in opening.

While it hasn’t been open to the public yet this year, aquarium staff have been working on educational material, like its video series. Each week, they profiled a different marine creature and there’s a library of videos on everything from grunt sculpins to crimson anemones.

RELATED: PHOTOS: Aquarium specimens returned to their natural habitats


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