Vancouver, B.C. – Connect with our oceans like never before at Discover Rays, a new exhibit that highlights the wonderful world of rays, opening March 10 at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre. Featuring an interactive touch pool, Discover Rays gives visitors the rare opportunity to experience first-hand these gentle fishes as they glide beneath the water’s surface, delighting and surprising with their curiosity.
The newly built, 50,000-litre touch pool is home to graceful cownose rays and southern stingrays. Guests are invited to roll up their sleeves and become immersed in a unique, hands-on encounter with these exceptional creatures. Find out what makes their skin so soft and smooth to touch and how their sixth sense allows them to successfully capture food they can’t even see. They do have eyes however, and southern stingrays can see more than 320 degrees around which means these inquisitive rays might see you before you see them.
“For the first time at the Vancouver Aquarium, visitors will have an opportunity to get up-close with the amazing world of rays. Discover Rays is an immersive experience that encourages an interactive exploration of some of our mysterious underwater creatures,” said John Nightingale, Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre president and CEO. “This sensory experience will help create a newfound appreciation for rays and the need to conserve them. By connecting visitors to aquatic life in a tangible way we hope to inspire more people to care and take action to conserve our natural world.”
As visitors explore the exhibit, they’ll learn about the fascinating lives of rays, such as the threats they face. Take a behind-the-scenes peek through a window at the impressive life support systems for the rays and discover how these animals receive world-class care at the Vancouver Aquarium. Measure up against life sized-images of a female cownose ray and stingray, which grow to be much larger than their male counterparts. If that doesn’t put things in perspective, a giant manta ray model with a wingspan of more than five metres will certainly help to understand where the term “gentle giants” originates.
Special rays-themed programs in the Teck Engagement Gallery will take guests on a visual journey inside the strange and incredible anatomy of rays, examining how they fly through the water and how they camouflage to hide from prey.
Learn about conservation efforts to protect a number of ray species, which are disappearing around the world due to overfishing and other human activity. These gentle creatures are integral to their ecosystems and we have a crucial role to play in conserving their populations.
Discover Rays opens on March 10, 2016 and is located just outside the Teck Engagement Gallery on the lower level. Learn more at www.vanaqua.org/rays.
Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre
The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre is a non-profit society dedicated to the conservation of aquatic life. www.vanaqua.org.
Editor’s Note: Photos and b-roll of the exhibit are available on request.