Vancouver Aquarium and Little Ray’s take on Nature’s Ninjas

ABOVE: Ottawa’s Little Ray’s Nature Centre is hosting Nature’s Ninjas at the Vanvouver Aquarium until September 4, 2023.

Don't miss Stanley Park if you are headed to Vancouver any time soon. While it is a stunning oasis in the city with over 405 hectares (1,000 acres) of natural beauty with forest, ocean, and beaches, it is also home to many attractions, including the Vancouver Aquarium. From now until September, there is also an Ottawa connection.

Nature’s Ninjas: Defenses of the Animal Kingdom

The Aquarium has teamed up with Ottawa’s Little Ray’s Nature Centre to bring visitors a new experience: Nature’s Ninjas: Defenses of the Animal Kingdom. The collaboration is a natural fit.

“In the wild, almost every living species is food for something else, consequently, animals have a variety of defensive strategies to meet these challenges. This exhibit unpacks the mystery of some of the coolest animals that adults and children alike will enjoy exploring in Nature’s Ninjas: Defenses in the Animal Kingdom,” said Vancouver Aquarium Executive Director Clint Wright.

The exhibit opened in mid-February and has 17 animal habitats that highlight the defensive mechanisms of various species. Think venom, poison, camouflage, mimicry, autotomy, chemical, speed, and sound. You will learn about and see a spiky four-toed hedgehog, an armoured three-banded armadillo. Or meet the venomous tri-coloured milk snake or day geckos who have the ability to drop their tails when attacked, not to mention the camouflaged chameleon.

“Nature’s Ninjas is an opportunity to learn about new and exciting animals. The more we understand about these animals, the more we can help conserve their environment,” said Vancouver Aquarium Animal Care Director Mackenzie Neale.

Little Ray’s transported the animals, and it took two weeks to build the exhibit with a construction team of four. It runs until September 4, 2023, and visitors will have an opportunity daily to get up close with some of the animals.

Vancouver Aquarium and Little Ray’s

Since 1956, over 40 million visitors have walked through the aquarium doors to catch a glimpse of some of the 65,000 animals and over 750 species. Meanwhile, Ottawa’s Little Ray’s Nature Centre, located in Sarsfield just outside of Ottawa, has inspired kids of all ages for over 25 years.

The dream of Paul “Little Ray” Goulet, obsessed with reptiles since childhood, and his partner in business and life, Sheri Goulet, Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo opened in Ottawa in 2000, after years of caring for animals and providing educational presentations.

Today, Little Ray’s Nature Centre is Canada's largest exotic animal rescue, with one of the most extensive and diverse animal education and outreach programs in North America. They are an Ottawa success story and now include four locations, three in Canada and one in the States.

Goulet has also built an award-winning live animal travelling museum exhibit program, Nature’s Ninjas being a perfect example. To this day, the Centres are still operated by Paul and Sheri and their expert team of keepers and educators.

For many, Little Ray's has been a haven of hope, a sanctuary of acceptance, and a place of healing. While the animals provide respite, the staff at Little Ray's are stellar in every way, some of whom you can meet at the Vancouver Aquarium. They work with children of all abilities brilliantly, but without exception, they are understanding, patient, and kind with neurodivergent individuals and those with other special needs.

The Vancouver Aquarium is wonderful with its neurodiversity programming, supported by the Canucks Autism Network, hosting Access Days as part of its commitment to accessibility and inclusion. It also hires people of all abilities.

Little Ray’s never fails to deliver for everyone of all ages, and the aquarium offers the opportunity to see some amazing marine mammals, fish, and other sea creatures, surrounded by the beauty of Stanley Park. Perfect fit.

For more information on Nature's Ninja's, visit Nature's Ninjas | Vancouver Aquarium (