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Stanley Park's biggest draw is home to 9000 critters – including sharks, wolf eels and a somewhat shy octopus. There's also a small, walk-through rainforest area of birds, turtles and a statue-still sloth. The aquarium keeps captive whales and dolphins and organizes animal encounters with these and its other creatures, which may concern some visitors.

Animal-welfare groups claim keeping cetaceans in enclosed tanks is harmful for these complex animals, and the Vancouver Park Board has made legal moves in recent years to ban the aquarium from keeping them.