Vancouver Aquarium pausing
public programming to focus
on transformation

Temporarily closed after September 7 until further notice

We're facing the most financially challenging time in the Vancouver Aquarium’s 64-year history – with an 80% decline in ticket sales and restricted visitor numbers expected to continue well into next year. After September 7, 2020, the Aquarium temporarily pause public programming and focus on to a new model that is financially sustainable in the long-term and accelerates our mission of ocean conservation. This temporary pause, although not what we would ever have hoped for, is a critical moment in our history.

It will allow us to focus our resources on providing uninterrupted care to our animals, while also undergoing a strategic planning process addressing how to reinvent the Aquarium so that we can continue to be a top visitor attraction for decades to come, while also addressing the most critical issues facing our ocean, including climate change, pollution and overfishing.

While we are closed, you can continue to engage with the Vancouver Aquarium via our Animal Live Cams and Online Learning.

Ocean Wise’s other conservation initiatives – including Ocean Wise Research, Ocean Wise Education, and programs like Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, Ocean Wise Seafood, Marine Mammal Rescue, Arctic Programs and others – will continue without interruption.

Please consider supporting us on this journey by making a donation

A letter from Ocean Wise president and CEO, Lasse Gustavsson

While this summer was a great success from the standpoint of operating in a COVID-safe way and providing a wonderful experience to our visitors, the Vancouver Aquarium’s financial situation was not improved by opening. For the two-months we were open this summer, ticket sales were down by almost 80% and our not-for-profit Aquarium was losing more than $1 million dollars a month.  

With low allowable visitor numbers projected to continue well into next year, Ocean Wise’s Board of Directors made the decision to take action. Over the coming months, we will focus on transforming our business model so that we can be financially sustainable in this new world. We are also taking this opportunity to think about Vancouver Aquarium’s very important role in delivering on our ocean conservation mission, particularly in addressing the ocean’s greatest threats: climate change, pollution and unsustainable resource extraction.

In order to do this, we must temporarily pause public access to the Aquarium so that we can focus our resources on this important work. This is difficult for all of us. But it is the most responsible thing we can do given these difficult circumstances.

Tuesday, September 7th will be the last day the Vancouver Aquarium is open before all public programming is paused. The wellbeing of our animals remains our top priority and during our temporary closure, our team of 75 specialists – including biologists, animal care experts, water quality technicians and veterinary staff – will remain onsite at the Vancouver Aquarium to provide uninterrupted animal care.

We could not have come this far without the ongoing support of our members, donors, volunteers, staff members, program partners, and government. You have saved us from bankruptcy and allowed us to take this important step. We thank you for your continued support and commitment during our most challenging time.





Click/tap to read answers. 

How long will the Vancouver Aquarium’s temporary pause in public access last?

We don’t have a timeframe at this point. Public access to the Vancouver Aquarium will be paused until further notice while we focus on our transformation. During this time there will be no public access to the Vancouver Aquarium.

What will happen to the animals during the pause?

The wellbeing of our animals remains our top priority. A team of approximately 75 people (who include biologists, animal care experts, water quality technicians and veterinary staff) will remain onsite at the Vancouver Aquarium to provide uninterrupted animal care. 

What will the new model for the Vancouver Aquarium look like?

The Board of Directors at Ocean Wise is leading a process to determine what the Aquarium’s new model will look like. Any changes will be done thoughtfully and deliberately to ensure the Vancouver Aquarium and Ocean Wise are best positioned for the future.

Are Ocean Wise’s other programs continuing?

All other Ocean Wise programming – e.g. research, education, outreach, conservation (including programs like Ocean Wise Research Institute, Ocean Wise Seafood, Marine Mammal Rescue, Ocean Wise Education, Ocean Bridge, Arctic Programs and Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup) – will continue to operate without interruption as they are funded externally from sources including government grants, foundation grants, corporate sponsorships and donations.

I donated to the #SaveVancouverAquarium campaign. How is my donation being used?

We are so grateful for the loyalty and dedication demonstrated by individuals and companies who supported the Vancouver Aquarium during our most challenging time.  Your support was critical and will continue to ensure our animals receive world-class care throughout our pause and transformation. We are doing the responsible thing now by transforming our business model so that we can be financially viable in the short and long term. Business as usual is no longer an option. It is because of your donations that we have the opportunity now to reinvent in light of current circumstances.

How can I continue to support the Vancouver Aquarium and Ocean Wise?

Donations will continue to make a huge impact. You can continue to support the Vancouver Aquarium during our transition by donating. For more information, visit: You can also continue to support animal care at the Vancouver Aquarium through monthly animal sponsorships.

What does the temporary closure mean for my Vancouver Aquarium Membership?

All updates on Vancouver Aquarium membership will be posted to

I am currently sponsoring an animal at the Vancouver Aquarium. What happens to my sponsorship?

Your sponsorship will help ensure the animals at the Vancouver Aquarium continue to receive world class care during our temporary closure. There will be no changes to your sponsorship. Thank you for your continued support! Continue watching our animal live cams to check in on our animals.

Can I use my 3rd party ticket, gift certificate, or guest pass and visit while the Aquarium is still open?

If you have gift cards, guest passes, or 3rd party tickets, please hold onto them for when we re-open in the future. Please note: all spots allocated to 3rd party tickets and guest passes are currently sold out.