Resilient Coasts for Salmon is part of the PSF 
Marine Science Program

Places to Visit and Learn

No matter your age, learning about the environment and our local ecosystems is fun!

Whether you’re getting outside to a local park or trail, learning about the marine environment such as intertidal critters through touch tanks at an aquarium, or learning about Indigenous cultures on the land that you live on through virtual or in person field trips, there is so much to explore.

To get you on your way, we have compiled a map and a list below of great places and events to visit for you to get to know the coast of Vancouver Island!

Which ones have you visited? Are there any that we missed? Let us know by emailing [email protected].

Click the map to explore!

Museums, aquariums, nature centres, and more

Museums

Rainy day with nothing to do? Check out some of our Island's great museums!

Aquariums

Vancouver has a renowned aquarium, but did you know about these gems on Vancouver Island? Dive into the fascinating world of marine life on our coasts at

  • the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea  in Sidney where you may see a giant Pacific octopus play with toys and hear fascinating lectures!
  • the Ucluelet Aquarium, Canada’s first collect-and-release aquarium! Located on the traditional territory of the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ (Ucluelet) First Nation, this facility features many native fish and invertebrate species who are collected from the local waters, then returned after a short residency. The aquarium is also a part of many initiatives to map and protect nearshore habitats like eelgrass, and clean up microplastics and marine debris from their shorelines, and
  • the Discovery Passage Aquarium in Campbell River, which offers a 'hands on' experience and offers summer camps and school programs.

Nature Centres

Many national, provincial, and regional parks on Vancouver Island have nature houses or nature centres to learn about the features, ecology, and culture of the area. A few to check out include

  • the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre, an interpretive centre overlooking the Cowichan Estuary. Over 80% of the area’s wildlife use the estuary. You can learn about many of them and even observe some close up in their aquariums, touch tank, and microscopes! The nature centre offers immersive learning programs for students from kindergarten to grade 12 on topics like estuary ecosystems, microplastics pollution, and ecological restoration.

And more...

Explore Through a First Nations’ Lens

There is no better way to learn about our natural places than from the First Nations who have stewarded these lands since time immemorial. On Vancouver Island, we live on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish, Nuu-chah-nulth and Kwakwakaw’akw Peoples. Check out Indigenous Tourism BC’s list of other places to visit on the mainland too to learn about the Indigenous cultures of BC.

Become familiar with the traditional place names where you live, the Nations on whose territory you live and work, and the history of colonization on these lands. With the Native Land interactive map, you can explore different areas to view the traditional territories, treaties, as well as the languages spoken by the Indigenous group.

Here are some amazing places to visit on Vancouver Island:

Visit Parks!

The best way to learn is by getting out there! Check out BC’s beautiful national and provincial parks, as well as regional parks and nature reserves.

The Province of BC has even created this interactive map where you can visualize all the parks in BC, as well as current closures or restrictions. Many parks have information centres where you can pick up brochures and maps, and learn about the history of a place and the nature it protects.

It is important to recognize the connections that Indigenous peoples and communities have with these special places having managed them for millennia. Read about Parks Canada’s commitment to honour the contributions and history of Indigenous people, co-management projects, and resources here.

Explore the parks in your own backyard

Here are a few suggestions for getting out there and enjoying your local areas along with links to regional directories to help you find outdoor adventures:

Victoria

Duncan

Nanaimo

Port Alberni

Comox

Campbell River

Events

Special events can be an excellent way to learn about local initiatives and get some hands-on learning experiences. There are many events around the Island that celebrate our coast, native species, and, of course, Pacific salmon. Keep an eye on your local newspaper to find other events near you and check out our events page to find ones Resilient Coasts for Salmon will be at!

Spring

Summer

Fall

  • Learn about salmon and hatchery production right at the source! Each fall, the Nanaimo River Hatchery hosts their Spawning Day event, where you can watch an egg take, make a fish print masterpiece, and even release a fry in the river! Check out their Facebook page to learn more!

Want to be even more involved?

Virtual exploring options

Photo credits: Susanne Jutzeler, suju-foto on Pexels, Kyla Sheehan, Nicole Christiansen

Copyright © The Pacific Salmon Foundation