A highly popular attraction in Toronto, Ripley’s Aquarium is the biggest indoor aquarium in the country and contains a large range of displays to explore.
Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto
Open since 2013, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada has established itself as one of the best attractions in the city. Millions of people have visited the aquarium and checked out the thousands of different animals that live there. There is a variety of activities and things to see at Ripley’s. You can touch sea creatures, watch real sharks and even walk through a glass tunnel with creatures swimming over your head!
At the attraction there are jellyfish light shows and stingray galleries where you can get up close and personal with the animals. There’s even the ability to dive into some water yourself and swim with sharks! There is a large educational component to the aquarium as well with plenty to learn about the animals and natural environment of Ontario.
Admission and Location
The aquarium’s address is 288 Bremner Boulevard. It’s at the base of the CN Tower. The two attractions are not directly related to each other. They do, however, provide a good one-two punch to visit if you have a day to explore the city.
Ripley’s is open seven days a week from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. Admission prices as of February, 2024, are below.
- Adults (ages 14 to 64): $44.00
- Seniors (ages 65+) and Youth (ages 6 to 13): $29.00
- Children (ages 3 to5): $12.50
Children under the age of the 3 are free.
What to Expect
Ripley’s Aquarium has a vast array of displays to explore. Inside there are well over 5 million litres of water. Some 20,000 or so animals live in the building. The aquarium is divided into nine different galleries including Life Support Systems. This section of the building doesn’t hold marine life. Instead, it’s a chance to take a behind-the-scenes look at how the tanks and ecosystems within the aquarium are maintained.
Of the creature-filled galleries, the biggest is the Dangerous Lagoon. This exhibit puts you literally under the water, as you step on a moving sidewalk (apparently the longest on the continent) and move through a glass tunnel entirely surrounded by a gigantic tank! Sharks, sawfish and more swim directly over your head, making it a pretty unique experience.
Another popular gallery is Planet Jellies which is one of the biggest jellyfish-specific exhibits in the world. Planet Jellies is made more dynamic by the fact that its tanks have lights that change colours. This provides an interesting light show along with the jellyfish themselves.
There are interactive galleries to explore as well. The Discovery Centre is fun for all ages, with a climbing wall and a small playground for the little ones. There are different hands-on exhibits like personal underwater viewing areas, the ability to touch different fossils and a “research submarine” that serves as another viewing platform. The Shoreline Gallery goes even further as visitors are able to reach out and gently touch some of the stingrays that live at the aquarium.
Stingray Experience and Discovery Dive
For those wanting an even more up close and personal experience there are a couple of options. One is the Stingray Experience which is around two hours long. It includes the chance to put on a wetsuit and enter into the Ray Bay yourself. Another step up from that is the Discovery Dive which takes place in Dangerous Lagoon. For around 30 minutes participants get taken on a scuba dive into the tank and have the chance to swim with sharks! Activities like these, of course, cost extra!
On top of the main galleries and programs, Ripley’s Aquarium offers some other notable events. For those who can’t make a trip out to the Aquarium itself, there is the option to purchase a virtual tour. The aquarium did in the past offer these tours. These cost around $30 and included footage from galleries plus the chance to ask questions to a guide. The footage used was pre-recorded in order to guarantee that events like animal feeding and different shows took place on the tour. There were also a few live cameras set up in different exhibits that you could look at for free on the Ripley’s Aquarium website. It doesn’t that virtual tours are currently being offered.
An event that takes place every once in a while is Paint Nite which is an adults-only event that brings out creativity in the evening. Tickets cost around $60 or so and include admission to the aquarium for that full day. Participants are given a 16 x 20 inch canvas and can find their muse within the numerous displays in the building. There are drinks on offer which is why the event is 19+.
During the summer Ripley’s offers day camps for children ages 5 to 10. These are week-long camps that run from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm Monday to Friday. They cost around $325 per child and include plenty of learning, activities and the chance to explore everything the aquarium has to offer. For adults the attraction also hosts yoga sessions, Jazz Nights and other events.
For more information about the attraction visit the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada website.
Note: Ripley’s is Canada’s largest indoor Aquarium. The Vancouver Aquarium in British Columbia, with both indoor and outdoor areas, is the largest aquarium of any kind in Canada.
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To learn about things to do in Canada’s capital city, see the website Ottawasbestplaces.com.
Note: The photos in this article are courtesy of Ripley’s Aquarium.