Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Summer Splash!

This past Saturday, Sir and I took our little people to "see the whales". At least that's what we had told Dolly we would do when the buttons in The Jar ran out. A few weeks ago we purchased some tickets to the Vancouver Aquarium with some air miles and invited Sir's parent's to accompany us. We settled on a date and then watched our heat wave come and go- chased away by a week of drizzles and downpours. Saturday was actually supposed to be pretty wet (and for the most part it was), but we decided to take our chances, packed some towels and extra umbrellas and went anyway.

We had hoped to meet Sir's parents bright and early, but we didn't get to the aquarium until 10am- half an hour later than planned. Dolly was ecstatic. Before we even got out of the van she was calling out the window, "We're waiting for you whales! Just a minute, we'll be right there!. She could hardly contain herself as Sir and I unpacked the double stroller and loaded it up. The first thing we saw as we approached the entrance was a giant fountain (that I forgot to get a picture of). We let Dolly out of the stroller and helped her up onto the ledge that surrounded the fountain so she could play in the water a bit. Needless to say, she loved it.

Once we got inside the main entrance, we scanned the "events board" to see what was going to happen next. The otter feeding was supposed to have started just two minutes before, but by the time we got there, the crowd around the otter tank was so dense, that it was useless to even try to get a view at all... not to mention a good one. I was a bit disappointed, because I thought the kids would really enjoy seeing the otters get their breakfast, but there were supposed to be other feedings throughout the day and there was a chance we'd catch one of those.

We had half an hour before the Beluga Show would start so we started weaving our way in their direction. The Belugas, were what Dolly and PC were looking forward to the most. Ever since they got a cardboard book and music CD about a baby Beluga when PC was about a week old, they've been in love with Belugas. Finally they were going to see a real one, and they couldn't wait. The Belugas were a bit saggier than I had imagined a real one to be, but they looked enough like the cardboard book pictures that the kids couldn't have been happier. Uncle A. got to be the Beluga Show volunteer and although there was a rather steady drizzle coming down... he got a little wetter than everyone else!

When the Beluga Show was over, we headed straight for the dolphin tank. There was a pretty big crowd, but the tank was big too, so we managed to find a good spot to watch from. I think the Dolphin Show was PC's favorite part of the day. He got to sit on my stomach with his legs dangling over the edge of the tank (I was holding on to him of course!) and in spite of the hood on his jacket, he could see enough to want to join the active dolphins as they splashed about. I didn't enjoy the show nearly as much because my very active Pregnancy Imagination was in top speed and I was terrifying myself with "what if's" should my one year old actually get away from me and drop 20 feet to the water below. Sir laughed at my paranoia later when I was brave enough to tell him how I managed to make it through the show, but he also reassured me that the trainers on the platform were probably trained to catch diving one-year-olds as well, should they attempt to swim with the dolphins.

After the Dolphin Show, we wandered back to the underwater viewing area to see the Belugas, stopping to see the seals and sea lions on the way. The camera batteries had died and I hadn't replaced them yet, so I didn't get any good pictures of the sea lion posing (he spent most of his time swimming about furiously, but at one point he paused long enough for pictures and I missed the opportunity). We didn't spend very long viewing the Belugas under water because it was getting fairly close to lunchtime. So, we headed out of the Aquarium to grab our packed picnic lunch that Grandma C. had prepared. We walked toward a covered picnic area only to find that there were two big groups already there that had actually paid to reserve the area. They were very nice though, and allowed us to eat our lunch at their tables. I got a picture of a waterfall on the way to the picnic area and after lunch we snatched a few shots of the kids playing in the sand at the playground. PC thought it was very tasty and tried giving some to Sir, but I didn't get any pictures of him trying to 'share' his sand.

Back at the Aquarium, we decided to check out the exhibits inside. Most of them were pretty difficult to get pictures from due to the dark atmosphere, but we got some good shots when we went through the "Amazon Exhibit". They had some huge fish that had nostrils so they could stick their noses out of the water to actually breathe air. The fish were very slow moving and our kids were enraptured by them (probably because they could focus and actually watch them). I still can't decide which I like better, the picture of both kids staring in wonder the giant 'air breathing' fish or the one of PC and his reflection in the tank.

Once past the Amazon exhibit, we paused at a small open tank of sea snails. We let PC out of the stroller to check them out and he had a blast. Dolly had gotten to pet the sea anemones after lunch on our way to the exhibits inside, so it was only fair that PC was allowed to get his hands wet at some point as well. The Jelly Fish tanks were lit from behind, so those pictures turned out better than I thought they would. Sadly, most of the pictures I took of the jelly fish were a little blurry, but I still love the bright colors.

Finally, exhausted we staggered out of the Aquarium. It was 3:30, PC had completely missed his morning nap, but had fallen asleep in the stroller for about an hour sometime after lunch. Dolly was winding down, and desperately needed to get some rest. I think all three of us slept a good part of the hour+ drive home. Sir's parents were already at our house when we got home (we had invited them for a barbecue) and I was stressing out because dinner was going to be late. Dinner was late, but it turned out very well. In spite of the rain, Sir barbecued some delicious salmon steaks and Seafood skewers while I came up with some steamed rice and corn on the cob to accompany the macaroni salad Dolly had helped me make the night before.

As soon as the kids had finished their ice cream, Grandma C. got them ready for bed while I tidied up the kitchen a bit. After they said goodnight, we put our exhausted little people to bed and they never made a sound. So, over tea and ice cream, we played a game of Racko before calling it a day.

Sometimes I wonder how much of the Aquarium Dolly will remember if she remembers it at all, but getting to watch my kids enjoy the day was worth tons to me and we even have a few pictures to remind us of a fun summer day!


  1. That was a really fun day, I don't know about the children, but I'm going to remember it for a long time. Good pictures, they turned out better than I thought they would with the lighting in there. I love the beluga laughing and spitting at Uncle A.

  2. Looks like a lot of fun - it's so nice you guys could do that! I liked the picture of Uncle A. and the one of PC and his reflection. :)

  3. I love the Vanc. Aquarium. I have been there twice I think. Both times there was something new to see. They used to have a huge reptile area and a ton of massive frogs, which was gone last time I was there. Last time I was there, the amazon section wasn't open. Maybe they were just building it, because I remember that there was a lot of construction going on.

    You got some great pictures!