There was one more reason for celebration and festivities this morning at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre when the number of annual visitors hit a record 1,100,000. This is the fourth year in a row the Vancouver Aquarium has welcomed more than a million guests through its doors and the highest number of annual visitors in its 59 year history.

Richard and Paula Stabler, and their daughters Olivia and Hannah, were the special guests whose visit today marked the record-setting number. The Stabler family is visiting from the San Francisco Bay Area and today marks their first time at the Vancouver Aquarium.

To recognize the occasion, a group of Vancouver Aquarium staff surprised the unsuspecting guests, delighting them with a celebratory song and prize pack. The visitors were given a gift basket with goodies from Vancouver Aquarium’s gift shop, a one-year membership as well as a VIP tour that took them behind the scenes to see the Jelly Hallway and more.

Vancouver Aquarium staff welcome the special guests with cheers, music and acrobatics.

Vancouver Aquarium staff welcomed the special guests with cheers, music and acrobatics.

“We weren’t just surprised, we were shocked,”said Paula Stabler. “Everything you do here is wonderful, and we were very happy to get this surprise. The tour was incredible.” She noted that the membership helps give them a reason to come back and visit Vancouver again next year.

“Reaching this milestone is a fantastic way for us to wrap up 2015 and gives us one more reason to celebrate at this time of year,” said Karen Howe, director of visitor experience at the Vancouver Aquarium. “Our visitors make our conservation, research and education efforts possible. A big thank you to the Stabler family and the more than one million other guests we saw this year. Each person that visits the Vancouver Aquarium is doing their part to protect and preserve our oceans for years to come.”

Linda Lavergne, manager of visitor experience and admission, offers the Stablers a VIP tour.

Linda Lavergne, manager of visitor experience and admissions, offered the Stablers a VIP tour.

By purchasing admission and memberships, Vancouver Aquarium visitors contribute to conservation, research and education programs. These include the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, which rescues and rehabilitates more than 100 animals each year, as well as the Coastal Ocean Research Institute, which performs groundbreaking research on our coastal ecology, including wild killer whale populations as well as the impacts of ocean pollutants. Just by visiting the non-profit Vancouver Aquarium, visitors have a direct impact on aquatic conservation.

Thank you to our guests and staff members who have made this milestone possible!

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