The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre reached a new milestone Friday morning, celebrating its highest annual attendance ever, with a record 1.17 million visitors in 2016. The record-breaking number includes tourists to Vancouver, local residents, and many of the Aquarium’s 75,000 members.

“Tourism is a key sector in B.C. and we’re delighted to play such a significant role in it,” said Vancouver Aquarium general manager Dolf DeJong. “We’re also very proud of our ability to engage and educate the public — 1.17 million people came here in 2016 to learn about our oceans and the issues they face. That’s a lot of impact.”

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Vancouver Aquarium staff gave our record-setting guests a special welcome.

This marks the fifth consecutive year the Vancouver Aquarium has welcomed more than a million guests through its doors and the highest number of annual visitors in its 60-year history.

Bruce and Linda Thomson of Victoria, B.C., and their grandchildren, cousins Cadence Greenway, 9, and Kai Thomson, 8, were the special guests whose visit today marked the record-setting number. To recognize the occasion, the special guests were surprised at admissions with a gift basket from Vancouver Aquarium’s gift shop, a one-year membership and a VIP tour that took them behind the scenes.

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Cadence and Kai touching the rays during their VIP tour of the Aquarium.

“Breaking our attendance record is a wonderful way for us to wrap up the year,” said DeJong. “Our visitors make our conservation, research and education efforts possible. Thank you to the Thomson family and the more than one million other guests we saw this year. Each person that visits the Vancouver Aquarium helps us in our conservation mission.”

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.

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