Vancouver Aquarium

Yesterday visited the Vancouver Aquarium, which took two buses and a couple of short jaunts each way.  Some of it was tremendous.  But it was packed with tourists – lots of squealy little kids, stepping on sandaled toes, and whining at the end of day.

My favorites were the jellyfish.  (I’m proud of these photos I took with my 3X camera.)  But the short 4D movie, Planet Earth: Shallow Seas, was really fun.  When dolphins jumped in the waves the audience was sprayed with a mist of water.  The sea snakes poked everyone in the back.  A whale spouting sent a puff of air at every person.

I loved it as much as the kids did.

I know that most people can’t take a safari to Tanzania to see lions and cheetahs in the wild.  Or snorkle  with sea lions in the Galapagos or stingless jellyfish in Palau (I admit that I am very privileged), so a portion of the populace see the animals of the world in zoos and aquariums.

But… so many of these intelligent animals are essentially in prison, and unlike Nelson Mandela (I just saw Invictus), they’ll never get out.

The polar bears incarcerated in the Reid Park Zoo in the hot desert of Tucson.  (I think that they’re given snow once a year.)  Mountain lions at the Desert Museum confined to a small (if aesthetically pleasant) enclosure.

Here at the Vancouver Aquarium I felt sorry for the octopus in a area the size of a refrigerator.  (They’re much more intelligent than fish.)  But especially the three beluga whales in a not very large bare, concrete swimming pool, when they normally have an ocean.

The sea lions  and dolphins reside in other sterile pools.  Yes, I know, you may have to jump through hoops at work, and much of your work may be repetitious, but then you can leave.  You can see the world.  These dolphins have to perform for food, and have no waves to cavort in, no space large enough to test their speed.  (If you haven’t seen the documentary The Cove, I highly recommend it.)

Okay, rant is over.  The aquarium was enjoyable.  I’d recommend it.

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