52 Week Picture Project - 9/52 - Ripley's Aquarium of Canada

Quick Escapes is aiming to complete a 52 week photo project in 2018.  A picture a week...that sounds easy enough.  Well I'll tell you from experience...it's tougher than you think.

Nestled deep in the heart of Downtown Toronto is Ripley's Aquarium of Canada.  Since opening it's doors in 2013 this massive aquarium has become a hotspot for tourists, families and sightseers from around the world.  With tons of great reviews and positive word of mouth, my family made the decision to give it a try.    

This past week we loaded up the car and made the trek to Downtown Toronto to see what it was all about.  In tow were my wife Lori and my 19 month old daughter Nora.  We were able to pre-purchase tickets (shout out to Brad and Mel for doing this for us) with a guaranteed admission time for 9am.  We expected big crowds and packed as lightly as we could considering we had a toddler with us.

The city was still waking up which made parking a breeze (parking cost us $25 for the day and it was located directly across from Ripley's).  We arrived a little before 9am but they were allowing us in.  We were going to meet up with Brad, Mel and their daughter Zoe so we grabbed a seat and waited for a few minutes.

Before long the whole gang was together and we set out into the aquarium.

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada is home to more than 20,000 fresh water and salt water animals from around the world.  The massive 12,000mbuilding housing aquariums totaling over 5.7 million liters of water.  There are 8 distinct section of the aquarium:

  • Canadian Water (featuring aquatic life from across Canada)
  • Rainbow Reef (featuring colourful saltwater specimens)
  • Dangerous Lagoon (featuring a moving carpet traveling through an immersive tunnel)
  • Discovery Centre (a hands on play area for children)
  • Gallery Exhibit (featuring some of the ocean's most beautiful specimen)
  • Planet Jellies (an incredible array of Jelly Fish from around the world; displayed in beautiful and artistic ways)
  • The Ray Bay (it's all about stingrays) 
  • Life Support Systems (a very high overview into the workings of the aquarium)

Seeing and experiencing Ripley's Aquarium of Canada though the eyes of my daughter was a once in a lifetime experience.  She was equal parts mesmerized by the displays and distracted by the other kids.  It is impossible to fully experience everything that Ripley's has meticulously put together with a toddler but seeing her have fun made it worth the trip.   

In total we were there for about 2 hours.  Most of the activities are geared towards older children; I would say ages 4 to 10.  I was concerned that going on a weekend would be too busy but getting there at 9am was key.  I didn't have any pre-conceived expectations because I didn't know that much out the aquarium, but I walked away impressed by the entire operation.  I have no problems recommending Ripley's Aquarium of Canada to friends, family and even strangers and I look forward to returning in a few years when Nora is old enough to participate fully in everything they have to offer.