What do King Cake, beads & good times have in common? Mardis Gras in Lake Charles, Louisiana, next trip!

Adventure #1 Vancouver Aquarium I’m Feeding the Belugas

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The Marine Mammal Team teaches me how to prep and feed the animals

For the first adventure Gus Fosarolli, my good friend and part time photographer for these adventures, and I got up early and headed to the Vancouver Aquarium. We were met by the amazing staff who work at the Aquarium. If I learned anything it is that this is a calling for these folks. I changed into rubber boots and was brought into the “kitchen” to begin my adventure. Each day’s supply of frozen seafood is brought in, thawed, cleaned, sorted and portioned out for each of the animals. A process that is quite labour-intensive and takes a few hours just for breakfast preparation.

Sorting the herringHerring

sorted Herring by sizeEach annimal has their own food bucket

Holy Mackerelcleaning the clams

I need to say that at this point I just about lost it. I actually do not like eating seafood so at here I am over 1 hour into cleaning and sorting fish and now my most hated of all CLAMS. I was only able to prepare one of them for the Sea Otters as the smell was quite strong. Apparently the Otters (cost of $20,000 per year to feed) can be picky eaters and the clams are the most labour-intensive as you have to clean out the guts etc… Yup I just about lost it Smile Here’s the team that took me under their wing and showed me the ropes. I was told I didn’t do too bad for a rookie.

The Marine Mammal Team

Now that I’ve done my time in the kitchen I can finally get to meet the Belugas. Kavna, a female, is the oldest beluga at the Aquarium. She is estimated to be at least 43 years old. Aurora, a female, was born in around 1987 and is the mother of Qila. Qila (KEE-la)was born at the Aquarium on July 23, 1995 – the first beluga born in a Canadian aquarium. Here’s a photo journey of me feeding and touching them.

Beluga #1

Beluga #2Beluga #3

Beluga #4Beluga #5

Beluga #6Beluga #7


Beluga #8Beluga #9

Beluga #10

An awesome experience I would recommend for anyone. They are so beautiful and amazing to touch, soft and very jello-like. It appears that they are doing tricks for me but I was assured that what they were doing was only enough so that when they needed to be checked out by the Vets the stress was minimal.

Besides the whales there are so many things to explore and learn at the Aquarium including the new Penguin Point exhibit. Check out my Facebook page for more photos from my time at the rest of the Aquarium exploring some of the magical exhibits.

The Aquarium has a really fun and exciting new adventures for you to experience. The New Penguin Point Exhibit, World Ocean Day which includes Yoga class with the Belugas plus an After Hours Event just for Adults on June 27th.

The folks at the Vancouver Aquarium want you to come and check them out so they have offered up a pair of tickets to my readers for the After Hours Event! Here’s how you enter. You have until noon on June 15th to enter.

  • Leave a comment in this post about your favourite animals and or experience at the Vancouver Aquarium (1 entry)
  • Tweet the following:

RT to enter to win a pair of tickets to @Vancouveraqua’s #AfterHours event  //ow.ly/bjMho on June 27 via @amuse_events

For more info on the Vancouver Aquarium please check out their website here .

Now the next Adventure for me is golfing at University Golf Club with Out On the Green an LGBT sports league.

Don’t forget to keep your adventure ideas coming and be prepared to join me in some of them! I should acknowledge that all photos in this post were taken by my friend Gus Fosarolli.

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About Author

Marc Smith is a former event planner turned vagabond adventurer. He loves strong Americano's, great wine, cold beer and zip lining over tree tops. Formerly of Vancouver, most of Marc's time when not travelling is in Canada's largest city, Toronto. Follow along on his nomad adventures and discover places to stay, things to do and where to eat & drink as he explores the world one city and region at a time.


  1. Did someone say, face on the side of a bus:) This is such a great idea! (The 30 Day Adventures, that is) Love it.

  2. What a great start to the 30 Day Adventures. The staff at the Vancouver Aquarium are amazing and you can see how much they love doing what they do. An amazing organization with amazing people!

    I was glad to be apart of this adventure and looking forward to participating in other adventures. After all you need a photographer don’t you? 🙂

  3. My absolute favourites at the Aquarium are the otters and the jellyfish. I’ve been taking my family there for more than 10 years, and when the boys were little, we always had our morning snack in front of the jellyfish (there used to be a bench).

  4. I’m pretty sure I witnessed Qila being conceived. I was at the Aquarium in 1994 with my young daughter and we were watching the beluga whales in the underwater observation area. Two of them were nudging each other and all of a sudden “something” sprouted out of the one beluga, he (obviously) brushed up against the other one and there was a bit of… thrashing… and then they swam apart. I was a bit stunned and not sure that I actually saw what I did… I kind of looked around to see if anyone else noticed it but nobody seemed to. A couple of months later they announced that Aurora was expecting.

    So yeah… baby beluga.

  5. I love Schoona the green sea turtle! My favourite experience at the Aquarium was the Sea Turtle Encounter where I got to feed and pet her!

  6. Daisy the porpoise is one of my favourites. Such a sweet little thing, she makes my heart melt. I’d like to see how she interacts with the new porpoise in her habitat.

  7. My favourite animals at the aquarium are the otters. Although I saw the penguins last week and they were pretty entertaining too.