Ripley’s Aquarium, Toronto

More than just a place to see fish

We spent a few hours here on a cold spring-break day. We had fun and learned more than we thought we would. It’s more than just a place to see fish.

When you enter, they kind of force you through the designated path – Canadian freshwater, Pacific Kelp, a tropical reef, Dangerous Lagoon, Ray Bay, jelly fish tanks etc. We sneaked to the shark feeding session right above the start of the exhibit – outside the souvenir store, where the self guided tour ends. Do it! The shark feeding is exciting to watch. Schedules are available at the door.

sharkThe Dangerous Lagoon, with a variety of sharks, is extraordinary. The people-mover conveyer belt on the floor ensures you move through and don’t dawdle. We got off and gaped at the glass tunnel we were in – sharks swimming above and beside us. Nothing ordinary here. You can even stand in a glass bubble in the shark tank.

There’s a play area and rest area with snack shop, benches and rest rooms right after the lagoon. This rest/play area marks the half-way part of the exhibit – more or less. Part two starts with jelly fish. Some are back lit, iridescent or florescent. This space is very psychedelic. No wonder the aquarium is open until 11 pm some nights! We read that jazz nights are also held weekly in this section. It must be a real trip.

At Ray Bay, we saw the dive show. The Rainbow Reef offers the same. The show is short. A facilitator explains what’s going on in the tank. Things I learned today: Old male octopuses usually go senile; in some shark species, the dominant offspring eats its siblings while in utero; and my fav, after copulating, the female sea horse drops her fertilized eggs in the male sea horse’s pouch and weeks later, powerful contractions expel up to 100 live sea horses who swim away.

You’ll love this place. Allow a min. of 2-hours if you like to rush through these types of places. We were here longer. It’s expensive. It cost $127 for three adults and one teenager. So spend the time to make it worthwhile.

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