Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada.
I remember this aquarium being built and I also fondly remember wanting to visit. But, every time I went to Toronto, we never got the chance to visit. So, we made it a point just to come into the city and spend the day at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada.
It’s THE largest indoor aquarium in Canada (12, 500 sq. metres) and since it is indoors, it’s a perfect attraction all-year long!
Not to mention Ripley’s opens at 9:00 AM and closes at 11:00 PM, so you have all day to enjoy the aquarium. The best times to come for a visit is bright and early at opening time or just after 4:00 PM. We visited in the afternoon and it was perfect!
Gabby and Mimi were so excited to visit and the night before, we discussed what they were looking forward to the most. On the list were the manta rays and sharks! I have to admit, I was most looking forward to the jellies, all the jellies! I am a bit obsessed!
Explore, Stop and Learn.
We started to make our way through the aquarium and were greeted by an array of fish. What I love about the aquarium is that it is roof to ceiling and you feel like you are inside their habitat. We stopped at each exhibit and read all about the species that lived within.
The girls loved the huge lobsters and admired their claws and we were all amazed with the octopus! We even stopped and weighed ourselves to see how much we would be worth if were the catch of the day! The Pacific Kelp was a sight to see. Gabby and Mimi were amazed with the length and how they swayed in the waves!
Now, it was the first time for all of us too see a live anemone. Mimi knew right away that it was where Nemo lived. They were incredible to watch and we were taken aback at how beautiful and colorful they were.
Watch a Feeding!
One of the things that I enjoyed about the aquariums is its flow. I like how you make your way through at your own pace and you don’t get lost. It just flows! We continued our way through and we came up to a HUGE aquarium habitat.
There were thousands upon thousands of fish swimming about in the Rainbow Reef and we were just in time for a dive show. There is a live interactive dive shows every two hours starting at 11:15am. The aquarium employee introduced our diver and gave us awesome trivia about the fish. Did you know that they love to eat Bok choy? They loved it!
The Dangerous Lagoon!
Don’t fear, you are perfectly safe in this lagoon. You can either walk through yourself or stay on the moving belt and all you will have to do is look all around you. We decided to stay on the belt and it was incredible! Seeing the sharks up close and personal was not only a little bit scary but, AWESOME!
We made our way through twice and each time it was amazing! I was so happy to be able to see a sea turtle fly, err, I mean swim right above our heads and that sawfish? Incredible!
Head to the Discovery Centre!
The girls loved getting their hands wet and touching new animals. The reef sharks were a lot of fun and horseshoe crabs were pretty wild! At first glance, I thought they were a type of manta ray but, nope–crab! The girls had a great time going up and down the slides and playing in the play area! It was pretty popular!
It’s also the perfect place to grab a bite, I know we built up quite an appetite! You’ll find the Ripley’s Cafe and a lot of delicious options to enjoy.
Make Your Way to Ray Bay!
Out of the many aquatic animals that I love, manta rays and jellies are my absolute favorite! So naturally, the next exhibits were the ones I was aching to see! We spent a lot of time in Ray Bay and the rays are so playful. They kept coming up to the glass and following our movements. Their mouths look like a smiley face and they are so darn cute!
More like Jelly HEAVEN because I most certainly was in heaven. I spent a good 30-40 minutes in here mesmerized by them. The changing colors made it even more ethereal and hypnotizing. Ripley’s must know there are people like me since there is seating right in front of the exhibit and I sat there in awe. No matter how many times I see them, I am always blown away by their beauty and mystery!
Grab a Memento!
After you’ve viewed over 16, 000 animals like sharks, jellies, rays and sea turtles–you’ll want to take a little memento with you. On the way out, you exit through the gift shop and there are so many cute things to browse for! They even have fancy jelly fish plates, shark teeth necklaces and stuffies galore!
You’ll find keepsakes from all around the world and better yet, you’ll be able to get your hands on local artisans work too.
Tips Before You Go!
Best Time to Visit:
As I’ve mentioned before, the best time to avoid larger crowds is during a weekday at 9AM or in the afternoon around 4:00 or 5:00 PM!
Cost of Admission:
Walk-Up Prices for Adults (14+) are: $29.98, Youths (6-13) and Seniors (65+): $19.98, Children (3-5): $9.98, 2 Years and Under: Free. Annual passes are available as for those who want to visit several times a year.
Timed Ticket Prices are also available and if you reserve your entry time, you can save on your ticket prices. Adults (14+) are: $26.98, Youths (6-13) and Seniors (65+): $16.98, Children (3-5): $6.98, 2 Years and Under: Free. You can buy your tickets online.
There are several parking lots around Ripley’s and we parked on Front St. and it was about a 5 minute walk. We walked past the CN Tower and were there in no time. Parking cost about $12/day so if you are down for Ripley’s you can explore downtown after you leave and not have to pay for parking.
The Ripley’s Cafe is small but, has a lot of options. If you didn’t bring snacks, it’s a great option. Even if it is just to get a refreshment or small snack. Ripley’s is in an awesome location and there are many options in the surrounding areas as well.
Plan Your Next Trip!
Make sure you visit www.ripleyaquariumsofcanada.com/ and make sure you stop by when you are in Toronto. If you’re local and haven’t had a chance to visit, they offer specialty programming and events like the Stingray Experience, sleepovers, birthday parties, morning yoga and Friday Night Jazz.
What is your favorite aquatic animal you’d love to see?
Let me know, til then–cheers m’deres!
Nancy Polanco is a freelance journalist, lifestyle content creator, and editor of Whispered Inspirations. She is a proud Mom to Gabby and Michaela and partner and best friend to Darasak. Having worked as part of a health care team for almost a decade, Nancy is happy to be back to her passion. She is a contributor to the Huffington Post, TODAY’s Parents, and an Oprah Magazine Brand Ambassador.