I waited a few weeks before visiting Ripley’s Aquarium because I heard there were very long lines for admission and to see the exhibits. My first visit was on a Friday morning which turned out to be a great time to visit because there were no line ups at all.
Admission is comparable to other attractions in Toronto (The Toronto Zoo, CN Tower, ect.) with adults $29.98, Senior’s $19.98, Youth (6-13) $19.98, and Children (3-5) $9.98. I decided to purchase a season pass because it was only $100 and I thought it was well worth it.
Parking was actually very easy to find. The aquarium itself does not have parking, but right next door you can park n the underground Skydome parking for $3.00 per half hour, or across the street in an outdoor lot for $9.00.
The aquarium is two floors, and if you follow the route from start to finish you won’t need to take the stairs or the elevator. They have planned it so you start on the second floor and slowly make your way to the bottom level, and them finish back on the second floor.
The viewing tanks are mostly floor to ceiling so you can easily see whether there are many people in front of you or not, but with all of the small children trying to press their noses against the glass that may not be helpful. There are interactive stations for children to play with along the way as well to keep kids entertained.
Dangerous Lagoon is where you can walk through an underwater tunnel and see sharks and other species of fish up close. The tunnel has a moving sidewalk so you can choose to move along at the pace of the sidewalk, or walk on the other side of the tunnel. The moving sidewalk was the easiest way to get through the tunnel because the people who where walking kept getting jammed up by the people who were stopping.
The Discovery Centre had a play structure with slides, areas where children could crawl through which had fish tanks that that surrounded the kids for a new perspective, an interactive water table, and other stations where children could play and learn about underwater creatures. The play structure was a serious pain in the butt because it was truly child size so I kept getting suck and hitting my head while trying to follow my child around! The sections where children could crawl through were very small so you had to sometimes lose sight if your child.
Ripley’s Cafe adjoined the play area. It was much smaller than I expected with not a lot of seating. It was packed on a Friday morning so I can’t imagine a Saturday!
Five times a day the aquarium had what they called a dive show at either Ray Bay or Rainbow Reef. This means a diver is in the tank and a representative is outside the tank speaking to visitors. The dive show we saw was neat because the diver was giving kids a high five through the glass and waving, but the rep standing at the tank didn’t day anything so it wasn’t much of a show. I wouldn’t say it’s worth scheduling into your day.
And like any major attraction, and the end of your trip through the aquarium you end up in the overpriced gift shop!
By the time I left the aquarium at 1pm there was a large line up for admission, so it’s still a very busy attraction after a few weeks of being open. The tanks and displays were pretty amazing and are definitely worth seeing. It’s not somewhere you could spend your whole day – I think it would only take a couple hours to see everything in a trip. The aquarium also hosts birthday parties and sleepovers.
288 Bremner Boulevard, Toronto