Over a year ago I was in Toronto for an event and I discovered that something exciting was being built. Construction walls hid the work being done and they were cleverly painted with promotions for the new aquarium that they were building. Ever since I saw those first promotions for the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada I have been anxious to visit. I finally got my chance a couple of weeks ago when The Eaton Chelsea hosted my family and several other travel writers and took us to the Aquarium.

aquarium play area

My oldest son and his girlfriend had already visited the aquarium so I had some idea of what to expect. He told me that there was a moving floor in parts of the aquarium so that you could just stand and enjoy the view, and of course I knew to expect an amazing variety of ocean life, it is Ripley’s after all. I didn’t expect the amazing play area shown above or the countless interactive exhibits. I also didn’t realize that there were opportunities to touch the stingrays, crabs and sharks.

Here is a description from the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada website…

Immerse yourself in a world of 16,000 aquatic animals and discover your own underwater adventure. The Aquarium features North America’s longest underwater viewing tunnel, more than 5.7 million litres of water and will have over 100 interactive opportunities including three touch exhibits featuring horseshoe crabs, sharks, and rays as well as daily dive shows every 2 hours.

 

inside

The kids have many chances to crawl through tunnels and into bubbles that make them appear to be in the aquarium with the fish! I think they really enjoyed this and I liked the neat photo opportunities.

While I was aware of the moving floor, I didn’t realize how beneficial this was until we were there. Rather than trying to peek between other people and snap photos while on the move, we could all just stand still (and together…a bonus when you have more children than hands) and enjoy the fish swimming all around us.

aquarium collageDespite many visits to Zoos over the years, and even visits to other aquariums, we saw things at Ripley’s that we have never seen before. I didn’t even know that a Green Sawfish existed before our visit. I was too busy watching in awe to remember to grab a photo, and it is really something you need to see in person anyway. It’s size alone is incredible.

Throughout the aquarium there were signs that identified the fish we were looking at and told us if they were endangered. It was a fantastic learning experience for all of us.

glass floor

The glass floor was another neat feature at the aquarium. We could stand on the floor and watch sharks swimming around underneath us. How cool is that?! As you can see from the photo below, there was also an area where the fish were swimming all around us. It was magical and I snapped this photo of my husband as he took it all in. His face says it all!

aquarium

The whole tour took us about two hours and that was without rushing, but the kids also chose not to take advantage of the touch exhibits. We arrived at the Aquarium when it was opening and it wasn’t too busy until about halfway through our visit. Then it seemed to suddenly explode with visitors and when we left there was quite a line outside. It was a weekend, so my suggestion would be to arrive early and try a weekday if possible.

Overall it was a great visit and we hope to go back soon!