August 06, 2010 | Tips from Travellers >
Find more information about Ucluelet - Attractions
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My four year old nephew’s face scrunched up as the sea cucumber was placed in his little wet hands over the touch tank. He stared at its slimy body, fascinated and disgusted. “I’ve never held a sea cucumber before!” He smiled. After the staff help him put it back into the tank he led his two year old sister around to get a better look... and to tell her all about sea cucumbers, since he is now the official expert.
We’re from Alberta and up until that day none of us really knew that such creatures exist in our oceans, let alone how they move, eat, and protect themselves from predators.
The Ucluelet Aquarium offers visitors and locals a truly up close and personal encounter with the local Pacific marine life. All the animals are collected in the spring, just 5km from the aquariums location in the Ucluelet Harbour. Most of the tanks are open so kids and adult kids too, can reach in and touch the wild life. Sea urchins, anemones, several species of star fish, clams, snails, and sea cucumbers are just a few of the animals to discover in these tanks.
The staff and volunteers at the aquarium are extremely friendly and very knowledgeable about the local biodiversity! Each hour they give a predator and prey demonstration to show visitors how life truly is in tidal pools.
“That clam jumped right off the star fish!” exclaimed my nephew. “It’s like he had a foot in there or something.”
Displays also include salmon hatchlings from the nearby Thornton Creek Hatchery, colourful rock fish, crabs, jelly fish, kelp fish, local plant life, and even a baby Giant Pacific Octopus!
The most amazing thing about the Ucluelet Aquarium is that they release all their creatures, even the plants, rocks and sand, back into the ocean at the end of the season.
This little non-profit aquarium is a must-see when visiting Ucluelet on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. It was fun and engaging for both children and adults. It’s been a month since our visit and my nephew and niece tell everybody they meet all they know about sea cucumbers... which is actually quite a lot.Editor's note: Learn more about the Ucluelet aquarium here.