Today I have a review on an exciting new attraction that recently opened in Toronto. Right at the base of our iconic CN Tower is an underwater haven called Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. The aquarium contains over 1.5 million gallons of marine life and water from around the world and 13,500 exotic sea and fresh water species!
I love the beauty of underwater reefs and I enjoy learning about the majestic creatures that live in the deep so this was a must see for me.
After visiting the beautiful Baltimore Aquarium in Maryland twice our new attraction had some stiff competition. Although Toronto’s transportation system is very limited the aquarium is easy to access via subway or Go Bus which is a good option during bad weather and to avoid the hassle of finding parking on busy city streets.
Being a new interest to visitors and residents alike, the lineup to get into the aquarium was quite long. Even early in the morning during a snow storm the place was swimming with people!
You can purchase tickets on arrival or online to avoid the lines, although if you do, keep in mind that you must specify the date and time you plan to visit within the hour. This may be one method of crowd control but it may not be convenient if visitors are delayed in their travel plans. During bad weather late arrivals will be allowed entry at any time but time slots sell out fast for the morning hours and up until 4pm.
Although the space at the base of the CN Tower where the aquarium now sits is small, the facility utilizes every inch of space productively and there are beautiful exhibits and marine life around every corner. There are also many interactive experiences for kids which makes the aquarium family friendly and educational! There is even a gallery where visitors have the chance to touch odd looking horseshoe crabs and where children can crawl into tubes and crevices to get up close and personal with interesting creatures.
Due to large crowds and the one directional flow of traffic things can get rather congested. Having more options of veering in different paths so that visitors are not all in the same place at the same time would have been a good idea.
The variety of marine life, the beautiful colors of the sea and the display of different habitats from varying regions was truly breathtaking. There are 9 galleries to explore including Rainbow Reef and Ray Bay which is a captivating sting ray cove. As you enter the "dangerous lagoon" a conveyor belt slowly guides you through a tunnel where scores of fish and sharks hover above head and surround you. These encounters transports visitors into an undersea oasis making them feel at one with the ocean and creating an experience that is unique and surreal.
I think I found Nemo and Dory hiding out behind some beautiful coral.
There are also feeding times where divers delve into deep tanks and feed sharks, fish and sting rays which is quite exciting to watch! The entire facility and the animals are well kept.
Although I have been stung by a jellyfish before I don't hold a grudge, Planet Jellies was one of my favorite galleries. The colors were fascinating.
If you are looking for a place to eat while visiting your favorite sea creatures there aren't many options in the small cafeteria. A few fast food restaurants greatly limit the dining experience but there is a decent gift shop where you can purchase mementos and souvenirs at the end of the visit.
Adult ticket prices are $29.98, $19.98 for seniors and $9.98 for children. The aquarium is open 365 days of the year
Overall this beautiful aquarium is just what Toronto needed to revamp their tourism appeal and contribute to the experience of the city. If you are ever in the area I highly recommend stopping by and seeing it for yourself.