Vancouver Aquarium opens new stingray touching pool

The 50,000-litre touch pool is home to graceful cownose rays and southern stingrays and will open Thursday.

50,000-litre touch pool is home to graceful cownose rays and southern stingrays

50,000-litre pool is home to graceful cownose rays and southern stingrays 2:45

Stingrays are often portrayed as deadly creatures with venomous tails for a weapon. But the Vancouver Aquarium is trying to change that nasty reputation by allowing visitors to get up close and personal. 

The aquarium has a new interactive pool where you can touch stingrays as they glide beneath the water's surface. The 50,000-litre touch pool is home to 25 graceful cownose rays and southern stingrays and will open Thursday. 

Lest you worry, the aquarium says all the stingrays have had their barbs clipped professionally, just like you get your nails clipped."

Once visitors have washed their hands at a sanitation station, and placed it in the water, the stingrays will typically swim right up. 

Vancouver Aquarium's new stingray interactive pool opens March 10. (Vancouver Aquarium)

"This sensory experience will help create a newfound appreciation for rays and the need to conserve them," said John Nightingale, the aquarium's president and CEO.

"By connecting visitors to aquatic life in a tangible way we hope to inspire more people to care and take action to conserve our natural world."

The exhibit also features informational tidbits on the gentle giants — for example, the gentle southern stingrays can see more than 320 degrees around, and you can take a behind-the-scenes peek through a window at the life support systems for the rays. 

The 50,000-litre touch pool is home to graceful cownose rays and southern stingrays and will open Thursday. (Vancouver Aquarium)

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.