Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada in Toronto is located directly next to the CN Tower and Rogers Centre. This popular attraction features 16,000 aquatic animals from around in the world all within 5.7 million+ litres of water. Plus, there are over 100 interactive opportunities, which is what makes this attraction fun and entertaining for the entire family!
Ripley’s Aquarium opened in mid-October of 2013, making it the third of its kind considering an earlier installment located in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and one other in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Though the Toronto establishment didn’t feel quite as fully developed at first, in the past 3 years it has undergone some additions as well as some new interactive opportunities.
This delightful and educational tourist attraction now offers a variety of interesting programs including, Day Camps, Photography Classes, Morning Yoga, Sleep with the Sharks, Stingray Experience and much more! Each of these takes place in a different area of the aquarium. For example, Morning Yoga is performed in the Rainbow Reef and Ray Bay exhibits.
And if Sleeping with the Sharks sounds interesting to you, Ripley’s Aquarium offers that, too. This popular activity requires some booking in advance, but if you’re lucky enough to get tickets, you and your friends or family – or both – can sleep inside the Dangerous Lagoon while turtles, sharks, stingrays, and other predatory fish swim alongside and directly above. Sweet Dreams… if you can manage to sleep among your toothy hosts.
Ripley’s Aquarium also hosts a wide range of events, which includes Birthday Parties for both children AND adults. Also, every second Friday of the month is Friday Night Jazz. You can enjoy a nice stroll through the aquarium alongside a performance from a live jazz band. You can even do it with a drink in hand considering Ripley’s has cash bars located throughout the aquarium. A favorite event is Paint Nite. Been Here has yet to go, but this one sounds like so much fun. A certified instructor leads you through a marine-themed painting that you create on a canvas and it’s yours to take home! This is a 19+ event, which includes a general admission ticket for the day (with the event at 7 p.m.) and a complimentary ticket to return.
As mentioned, the aquarium features an array of galleries exhibiting a great number of mysterious, cool, and weird-looking fish and aquatic animals. The galleries are (in no particular order): Canadian Waters, Dangerous Lagoon, Planet Jellies, The Gallery, Discovery Centre, Rainbow Reef, and Ray Bay. At the end of the tour, there is a gallery called Life Support Systems, which showcases information about the life support, filtration equipment, and water quality and conditions. The revelation of real-time statistics makes the aquarium experience much more intriguing.
The interactivity between the guests and the aquatic life is truly memorable. At the beginning and end of the gallery, there are opportunities to pet sharks, crabs, and stingrays. And at the end of your tour, you can home a memento from the Cargo Hold gift shop which features a variety of aquarium and nautical themed treasures.
The overall experience at Ripley’s Aquarium is mesmerizing, especially the Dangerous Lagoon tunnel with moving sidewalk. You’ll feel like you’re actually in the ocean with these amazing creatures and getting a special view of their lives. We would definitely return to Ripley’s, and this time around we would include Paint Nite. There’s always something interesting and entertaining happening with shows and events changing from week to week, month to month. Just visit their website HERE to see for yourself.
By Marisa Filippo