Of all the things to do in Toronto a trip to the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada wasn’t at the top of my list, but my friend Jacqui convinced me.My experience with Aquariums has been very Meh up until this point. They are crowded, full of kids running around and tanks that aren’t really big enough to allow great views unless you fight the crowds. Jacqui has been wanting to visit the Aquarium since she moved to Toronto just over a year ago, so I acquiesce. Its location is perfect, located beside the CN Tower it is steps away from Steam Whistle Brewing and the Air Canada Centre. Three major Toronto attractions all within walking distance of each other. Here’s hoping that the Ripley’s Aquarium lives up to our expectations, it is reported to be one of the best in Canada.
I started out not being interested in coming to the Aquarium, but now that we are here I am quite excited to see what they have on display. Check in at the ticket booth is fairly quick and then we are in.
We enter on the second level and once past check in you can look down to the lower level. It is an interactive play/learn area that includes a Horseshoe Crab touch tank and other displays meant to teach kids and adults about the seas and the creatures that live in them.
Down a ramp, we go to the first gallery called Canadian Waters. This gallery is all about the sea life found in the Great Lakes Basin. The largest lake system on Earth. Formed 10,000 years ago by receding glaciers it teems with life.
Shortly past the Canadian Waters gallery is the Rainbow Reef gallery, it is teeming with Crustaceans, Octopi and other sea creatures I can’t name, but love to watch.
The next stop on our tour of the Aquarium is on a moveable walkway that takes us through the Dangerous Lagoon. I don’t know the volume of water in the lagoon, but it must be in the millions of litres. It is huge. The moving walkway winds its way under the lagoon while you look left, right and up above to see the creatures living here. This is right out of a Hollywood movie, it is magical and awe-inspiring.
We probably spent the most time in the Dangerous Lagoon. It really is magical, the wealth of fish you see is stunning.
Right after the Dangerous Lagoon is the Sharks and Rays exhibit followed quickly after by a huge wall of Jelly Fish. Dangerous little fellows but man are they beautiful floating so effortlessly on the currents.
The next gallery is the interactive area we could see from the second-floor entrance level. Kids of all ages play here including Jacqui, who had to touch a Horseshoe Crab.
From here we move up to the last gallery that is called the Stingray Experience. It was packed. People were lined up around the perimeter of the pool reaching down to the water where Stingrays would swim up for a pet. I kid you not they swim up to the surface looking for a little love and affection. It is very cool. I’ve swum with Stingrays before and can attest they are like this in the wild as well if they are accustomed to people.
Ok, so I went to the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada grudgingly, but I emerged a complete and utter fan. In fact, I would love to go back and see it all again. I am sure I missed tons of Fish, Sharks and Rays. I can’t recommend an adventure here enough. Block off a couple of hours and enjoy yourself. If you are kid free, head to Steam Whistle Brewing afterwards and reward yourself with a pint while you talk about all that you saw.