Beaty Biodiveristy Museum exterior

©John Lee/Lonely Planet

Beaty Biodiversity Museum


A family-friendly museum showcasing a two-million-item natural-history collection including birds, fossils and herbarium displays. The highlight is the 25m blue-whale skeleton, artfully displayed in the two-story entranceway. Don't miss the first display case, which is crammed with a beady-eyed menagerie of tooth-and-claw taxidermy. Consider visiting on the third Thursday of the month when entry is by donation after 5pm and the museum stays open until 8:30pm; there's often a special theme or live performance for these monthly Nocturnal events.

Many of the exhibits are in pullout drawers, so you can spend hours poking around. There's also a surprisingly well-stocked gift shop with some excellent nature-themed books and cool wildlife-themed knickknacks (bird-species stuffies recommended). And if you're curious about that humongous whale, start your visit by viewing Raising Big Blue; the free movie that tells its story is screened in the museum's auditorium throughout the day.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Vancouver attractions

1. Pacific Museum of Earth


Across from the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, this sparkling little attraction has really upped its game in recent years. The cabinets of shimmering minerals…

2. University of British Columbia

0.18 MILES

The giant University of British Columbia is more than just your average college campus; it's also home to some of the city's best visitor attractions…

3. Chung Collection

0.27 MILES

Leave your photo ID at the front desk of the lower level of UBC's main library building, and then wander around a roomful of exhibits chronicling the…

4. Nitobe Memorial Garden

0.43 MILES

Exemplifying Japanese horticultural philosophies, this is a delightfully tranquil green oasis of peaceful pathways, small traditional bridges and a large,…

5. Morris & Helen Belkin Art Gallery

0.44 MILES

This ever-intriguing gallery specializes in contemporary and often quite challenging pieces, with chin-stroking new exhibitions opening in its high…

6. Wreck Beach

0.57 MILES

Follow Trail 6 into the woods and down the steep steps to find Vancouver's only official naturist beach, complete with a motley crew of counterculture…

7. Museum of Anthropology

0.57 MILES

Vancouver's best museum is studded with spectacular indigenous totem poles and breathtaking carvings – but it's also teeming with artifacts from cultures…

8. UBC Botanical Garden

0.63 MILES

You'll find a huge array of rhododendrons, a fascinating apothecary plot and a winter green space of off-season bloomers in this 28-hectare complex of…