What is biodiversity? The simplest explanation is that it's the diversity among and within plant and animal species in an environment. Vancouver's Beaty Biodiversity Museum at the University of British Columbia focuses on British Columbia's and the world's biodiversity through a series of exhibits and learning opportunities.
This is Vancouver's museum of natural history, and you can be sure that there are plenty of fascinating displays that show off creatures both big and small. The museum covers 20,000 square feet, and the 500 permanent exhibits have everything from microscopic specimens to a 26-meter-long blue whale skeleton.
The blue whale exhibit at Beaty Biodiversity Museum — Photo courtesy of Beaty Biodiversity Museum
There are two million specimens at the museum, and as you can imagine, there's a ton of information to go along with them. The collections on display here are a part of UBC's Biodiversity Research Centre: talk about being close to the source!
The most popular exhibit at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum has got to be the blue whale skeleton. The blue whale is the largest animal to have ever lived on earth, and there are currently only 21 blue whale skeletons on display in the world.
This blue whale died and washed up onto Prince Edward Island's shore in 1987, and the process to get her to where she is today took a lot of work, patience and consideration. She is the largest blue whale skeleton on display in all of Canada, coming in at just over 85 feet!
The other collections at the museum are made up of fossils, shells, fungi, mammals, insects, birds, reptiles, amphibians and plants from around the world and British Columbia.
There are both permanent and temporary displays, so there's always something new to learn at the museum. They also offer a number of educational programs for people of all ages.
Getting to the museum by car or public transportation from downtown Vancouver is easy. A quick stroll through the museum takes about an hour and a half, but you can easily spend hours upon hours here.
At the museum is also a gift shop, where you can find all sorts of fun and neat treats to take home; if it's a unique souvenir you're after, then this is the spot. There's also a cafe in the museum, where you can grab a quick snack and drink.
Museum rates are affordable. Adults get in for $12 and children five through 12 for $8. Concessions cost $10, and the family rate is $35.
The Beaty Biodiversity Museum is a wonderful to place for learning any time of year.