North Coast residents are invited to experience sea level at eye level in a new interactive pop-up aquarium initiated by the North Coast Ecology Centre Society.
More than 230 visitors experienced underwater life at their fingertips in Prince Rupert’s first pop-up mini aquarium on the opening day of July 21.
Adults and little one’s alike participated in the North Coast Ecology Centre Society’s (NCECS) interactive sea adventure located at the Northland Cruise Ship Terminal, running until Aug. 15.
“After an extremely challenging 18 months for everyone due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we can’t wait to bring something new, fun, and educational to our community that allows locals and visitors alike to better connect with the environment around us,” Caitlin Birdsall, chair of NCECS, said.
“Opening day far exceeded our expectations with so many people through the door. It was amazing to see many visitors wowed and engaged in learning about the species and ecosystems we find on the coast,” Birdsall said.
The terminal space has been transformed into a mini-education centre that allows guests to travel through the water cycle. They follow a Rupert raindrop from the forests to the bogs to the freshwater before entering the ocean, all showcased in nine saltwater tanks full of local marine life.
Tours around the facility are guided by the knowledge of aquarium interpreters who explain and teach about the marine life in an inter mutual format allowing face-to-face encounters with a sea cucumber, being able to touch a sea star, measure the size of a humpback skull, and peer through a microscope to discover some of the tiniest animals in the ocean.
The Pop-Up Ecology Centre and Mini Aquarium will act as a feasibility test for the society’s ultimate goal of establishing a permanent education and ecology centre in Prince Rupert shortly. The 2018 born non-profit society’s ambition is to connect locals and visitors alike to the region’s ecological richness, Birdsall said.
Along with Peter Kiewit and the Prince Rupert Port Authority sponsoring the event, Eagle Pointe Lodge, Khtada Environmental Services, Northern Savings Credit Union, AltaGas, Pinnacle Renewable Energy, and many other businesses, organizations and individuals have assisted with the successful launch of this event.
This four-week temporary exhibit will be open five days a week, Wed. to Sun. from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday hours differ to allow an evening experience from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Suggested admission is $2, and donations are accepted.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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