Toronto has a lot of world-class attractions and things to see and do. But if you're interested in undersea life and aquatic creatures of all kinds, you'll definitely want to add a visit to Ripley's Aquarium of Canada to your Toronto itinerary, whether you're just visiting the city or you live here. The downtown Toronto attraction features 16,000 aquatic animals housed in 10 different galleries, interactive pools and touch exhibits. In addition to getting to see all those fascinating creatures, the aquarium also hosts various events, classes and programs for both kids and adults.
Where is Toronto's Aquarium?
The aquarium is located at the base of the CN Tower, facing onto Bremner Boulevard. This puts it just south of the downtown core and close to both the Rogers Centre and the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, and almost directly across from the Steam Whistle Brewing Roundhouse.
Getting to the Aquarium
It's easy to walk to Ripley's Aquarium of Canada from Union Station using the SkyWalk, or to take the Spadina streetcar to Bremner Boulevard and walk east past the Rogers Centre. Pedestrians can also be access the aquarium from St. Andrews Station. Walk west on King Street to John Street and follow John Street south, across the John Street bridge to Bremner Blvd.
Things to See and Do at Ripley's Aquarium of Canada
There's something for everyone interested in undersea life at Ripley's Aquarium. There are 10 galleries here teeming with fish and other aquatic creatures. Galleries include:
- Canadian Waters featuring aquatic animals from Canadian waters
- Rainbow Reef featuring 60 varieties of species of tropical fish
- Dangerous Lagoon featuring sharks inside an underwater tunnel
- Discovery Centre featuring touch pools and interactive tanks (great for kids)
- The Gallery, which houses several different types of undersea life including living coral
- Ray Bay, which is home to dozens of stingrays
- Planet Jellies featuring many different types of jellyfish
- Life Support System where you can learn about the inner workings of the aquarium
- Shoreline Gallery which a touch pool featuring rays and bamboo sharks
One of the highlights at Ripley's Aquarium of Canada is Dangerous Lagoon, which houses 17 sharks of three different species, including sand tiger sharks, nurse sharks and sandbar sharks. In addition to sharks you'll also get to spot moray eels, grouper, green sawfish and sea turtles. The best thing about Dangerous Lagoon is how you view it. This is via a 96-metre underwater tunnel with a moving walkway, the longest underwater viewing tunnel in North America. Dangerous Lagoon is the largest exhibit in the aquarium at close to 2.5 million litres.
Shark Reef, a crawlthrough tunnel, houses blacktip and whitetip sharks and zebra sharks.
Programs and events
Ripley's Aquarium of Canada isn't just a place to come and spot sharks, jellies, eels and other undersea life. The aquarium also offers various events, classes and programs. Some of these include:
Friday Night Jazz: Listen to jazz with a backdrop of colourful sea creatures with Ripley's Friday Night Jazz, hosted on the second Friday of every month.
Morning yoga classes: Practice your downward dog amongst tropical fish by signing up for six weeks of morning yoga. Sessions run for six continuous weeks from 7:30am to 8:30am on Tuesday mornings. Check the website often as these sessions sell out quickly.
Photography classes: Brush up on your photography skills with a class in the aquarium geared towards digital photography enthusiasts with an interest in shooting undersea life.
Day camps for kids: Ripley's Aquarium offers various educational camps for kids ages 2 to 18.
Paint Nite: Get inspired by sea life and create a marine-themed canvas painting. Price of admission includes a 16x20 canvas and entrance to the aquarium and there are drinks and snacks available for purchase.
Stingray experience: Get up close and personal with the aquarium's stingrays with a two-hour experience that includes the opportunity to get into the water with the gentle creatures.
If you're feeling particularly daring you can sign up for a discovery dive, a 30 minute guided dive in Dangerous Lagoon where you can swim with sharks.
Tips for visiting
It's a good idea to save time and buy your tickets online in advance so you can skip the ticket purchasing line on the day of your visit.
If you want to avoid crowds, plan your visit outside of the peak hours of 11am to 2pm on weekdays and 11am to 4pm on weekends and holidays.
Keep an eye on the events page for fun and unique programs and experiences.