March 18, 2014 - 3:16am

Families on Vancouver Island may want to check out the fishy fun at Vancouver Island University’s (VIU) Deep Bay Marine Field Station Saturday, March 22 during the Kids Day Open House from 10 am to 4 pm.

“This is one of our key events during the Brant Wildlife Festival,” says Field Station Manager Brian Kingzett.

“Activities will include a colouring contest, face painting, arts and crafts, bird banding demonstrations and more – all designed to teach kids about marine science and wildlife.”

The Field Station, located in Bowser on Vancouver Island’s east coast, is fast becoming a popular tourist destination for region.

Admission is free and staff will be available to answer questions and introduce visitors to the amazing marine life inside touch tanks and a large public aquaria in the Field Station, including 20 new Pacific Spiny Lumpsuckers, which arrived from the Vancouver Aquarium in January.

“It’s not often you find a fish so cute that you want to squeeze it but the Lumpsuckers are that adorable,” says Stephanie Richards, facility coordinator at the Field Station.

Besides Kids Day Open House, families and kids will want to check out spring break camps this week and next week at the Field Station.

The Station is also hosting an on-going film and speaker series until April 24. Bill Merilees will give a light-hearted presentation on the life and challenges of penguins at a talk entitled “Penguins of the Antarctic: Cute as a Button – Tough as Nails” on Thursday, March 20 at 7 pm (doors open at 6 pm).

Merilees is a former Australian Antarctic Field Biologist responsible for documenting the life history of the Royal Penguin, Wandering Albatross and Southern Elephant Seal, during a 13 month residence at Macquarie Island.

He later became an Antarctic cruise ship lecturer on the “World Discoverer” making 17 trips to the Antarctic Continent via the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula.

Visitors are encouraged to arrive early to check out the aquariums and touch tanks inside the Field Station, and enjoy gourmet snacks and treats for purchase and prepared by VIU Culinary Arts students.

Tickets for the film and speaker event ($10 each) are available at the Deep Bay Marine Field Station, the Salish Sea Market in Bowser, or the Courtyard Café in Qualicum, or by calling 250.740.6611.

The Deep Bay Marine Field Station is a key research facility and public marine science centre operated by VIU.

For more details about the Station and future activities, visit

For general information about the Brant Wildlife Festival, go to or call toll free 1.866.288.7878.


Janina Stajic, Manager, Communications and Public Engagement, Vancouver Island University P: 250.740.6288 E: Twitter: @VIUNews

Tags: In the Community

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