A sea lion swims past the window of an empty viewing area Vancouver Aquarium is pictured Thursday, September 10, 2020. The Vancouver Aquarium has had to close its doors to the public due to the lack of visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

A sea lion swims past the window of an empty viewing area Vancouver Aquarium is pictured Thursday, September 10, 2020. The Vancouver Aquarium has had to close its doors to the public due to the lack of visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

U.S.-based theme park company buys Vancouver Aquarium

Aquarium had to shut its doors in September due to COVID pandemic

The Vancouver Aquarium has been bought by a U.S.-based theme park company, the organization announced Thursday (April 15).

In a news release, the aquarium said that ownership will transfer from the Ocean Wise Conservation Association to Herschend Enterprises.

The move comes after the aquarium had to shut its doors in September due to financial losses stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Herschend will have 100 per cent ownership of the aquarium and its Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, although the facility will continue to be run by CEO Clint Wright, who has been at the Vancouver Aquarium for more than 30 years.

Herschend operates a variety of theme parks and similar attractions, including Dollywood, multiple resorts and two aquariums. The two aquariums, both located in the U.S., are Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredited, which signifies that they meet the “highest standards for animal care and welfare.”

In a statement, the Vancouver Aquarium said that this deal will allow it to remain a “world-class aquarium with the financial strength to continue building on its 64-years of success as an animal care and animal rescue facility.”

READ MORE: Vancouver Aquarium to shut its doors, focus on new business model amid COVID-19 losses


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katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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