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If you are looking for a fun family activity to do while in Toronto, definitely include the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada in your itinerary. It is one of the most visited attractions in downtown Toronto since its opening in October 2013.
We originally planned on visiting the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada on our first sightseeing day in Toronto. However, there was a private event that evening and the aquarium was closing earlier than usual. Even though we would have preferred to do both the CN Tower and the Ripley’s Aquarium on the same day, since the attractions are just beside each other, we didn’t want to feel rushed when we visit the aquarium. Besides, we were still recovering from a bad case of jetlag. So instead we went to the CN Tower and decided to go back the next morning to visit the aquarium.
But first, a family photo by the CANADA sign at the foot of CN Tower.
Travel Tip: We used a Selfie/Mini Tripod for this shot. No more asking strangers to take your photo! It’s handy, affordable and fits most smartphones. You can buy something similar here.
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
Address: 288 Bremner Blvd, Toronto, ON M5V 3L9, Canada
Operating Hours: 9:00 AM – 11:00 PM (open all year round). See their events calendar for the daily Hours of Operation
How to get there: The Ripley’s Aquarium is just beside the CN Tower. The easiest way to get to the CN Tower is by Subway (Union Station). From the station, walk west along Front Street to the direction of the tower. If you are traveling by car, there are plenty of parking garages in the area and the rates may vary (between C$15-25).
Website: Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
See my Suggested Tours in Toronto at the end of this post.
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada Ticket Prices (as of Dec 2018)
If you want to be guaranteed entry and skip-the-line on your visit (especially during the peak travel season), buy a Timed Ticket. But before you do this, make sure to check their calendar to see if they have a private event the day you want to go. Otherwise, your visit may be cut short.
Adult (14+) – C$32 + tax
Senior (65+) – C$22 + tax
Youth (6 – 13) – C$22 + tax
Child (3 – 5) – C$10 + tax
Express Anytime Ticket
No definite plans on when to go? Get the Express Anytime Ticket valid for one admission within a year of purchase.
Adult (14+) – C$37 + tax
Senior (65+) – C$25 + tax
Youth (6 – 13) – C$25 + tax
Child (3 – 5) – C$13 + tax
Sharks After Dark
Save a little money if you visit the aquarium after 7 PM.
Adult (14+) – C$30 + tax
Senior (65+) – C$20 + tax
Youth (6 – 13) – C$20 + tax
Child (3 – 5) – C$7 + tax
Sea The Sky Combo
CN Tower + Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada for one great ticket price! You don’t even have to visit both attractions on the same day. This combo ticket is only available for online purchase and should give you General Admission access on both sites.
Adult (13 – 64) – C$58 + tax
Senior (+65) – C$45 + tax
Child (4 – 12) – C$37 + tax
Aquarium / Niagara Believe It or Not! Combo
This combo ticket gives you general admission at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada and Ripley’s Believe it or Not! in Niagara Falls. Great deal if you plan on visiting both attractions.
Adult – C$44.98 + tax
Child (13 and under) – C$29.98 + tax
The Ripley’s Aquarium also plays host to different events throughout the year so it’s worth considering going to one of these events during your visit for an extra special experience.
I completely forgot how much the Souvenir Guidebook costs. I think it was around C$2-3. Honestly, the information there is just about the same thing you’ll find on the official website, so it really is just a souvenir of your visit.
Just like our visit to the CN Tower, there was no line at the ticket counter so it was a breeze buying the tickets and entering the aquarium.
Our first stop, the Canadian Waters on the upper level.
I remember the first time my husband and I took our little girl at an aquarium in Guam, she was so scared of the unfamiliar dark aquarium tunnels that she did not have fun at all! Even though she loved that “Baby Shark” song (if you’re a parent of a young child, you’ll know which song I’m referring to), she refused to even glance at the mini shark and we ended up rushing our way out of the aquarium.
This time around, she enjoyed every bit of the aquarium experience. She had fun pointing out the different types of fish and made it a point to stop by and check out the little fun activities scattered throughout the aquarium.
Adults can also participate in the fun. The Catch of the Day weighing scale will tell you exactly how much you will cost if you were a tuna based on your weight. What a fun way to learn new things!
This massive Kelp Forest was fun and impressive to look at!
The Rainbow Reef, true to its name, showcases a variety of coral reefs and over a hundred fish species in every color imaginable.
Next stop is the tunnel aquarium that goes into the Dangerous Lagoon. The left side of the tunnel has a slow-moving conveyor belt in case you want to take a closer look at the aquatic animals! You can skip this part and just walk normally if you want to move ahead of the crowd.
What did I say about adults having fun inside the aquarium? You’ll actually see more adults than kids trying to crawl into this glass tube.
The Ripley’s Café is right on the Discovery Centre. The Discovery Centre has plenty of activities for kids including a clownfish slide and a horseshoe crab touch pool. There’s also a water table where kids can spin and turn mechanisms that simulate the lock system of the Great Lakes.
And of course, everybody’s looking for Nemo!
Can you find Dory too?
There was also an ongoing exhibit at the time of our visit called Curious Creatures which features some artifacts and stories from the life of Robert Ripley. It gives the visitors a little preview of what to expect from the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
Well hello there, stingrays!
The Planet Jellies is definitely one of the popular galleries! The color-changing backlit of their tank adds to the mesmerizing effect of the jellies.
The Life Support Systems Gallery gives us an insight into how this whole aquarium operation works. It’s amazing to learn how they clean and recycle the water coming in and out of the exhibits. You can see the live water stats and conditions as you walk through the huge filter tanks.
There’s also a plastic bottle installation currently on display to raise awareness about the ocean plastic pollution.
Right at the very end of the tour is the Shoreline Gallery where you can see the stingrays up close, and possibly even gently touch one!
And lastly, the gift shop. Plenty of sea-themed items that you can buy as souvenirs or gifts for friends at home. My happy daughter took home a couple of books given by her great-aunt.
We spent a total of two hours inside the aquarium which was more than enough time to explore all the areas. If you’re not in a hurry, I’d say give it one more extra hour to fully enjoy everything that the aquarium has to offer!
They say that the best day and time to visit is during the weekdays and either before 11:00 AM or after 4:00 PM. You may want to take note of these if you are traveling during the summer to avoid the crowd.
Thanks for reading my travel diary on the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. Up next on our itinerary are Eaton Centre, Nathan Phillips Square, St. Lawrence Market and the Gooderham (Flatiron) Building. So stay tuned!
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Have you been to the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada? Share your experience by leaving a comment below!
Check out my other posts about our Toronto, Quebec City, and Montreal Road Trip below:
Day 1: The Toronto Islands | CN Tower Experience
Day 2: Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada | Must-See Sights in Downtown Toronto for First-Time Visitors
Day 3: Niagara Falls, Canada: Hornblower Cruise, Table Rock Centre and Outlet Collection
Day 4: Royal Ontario Museum | Kensington Market and Chinatown | Toronto’s Graffiti Alley
Day 6: Montmorency Falls | Old Quebec Town
Day 7: Musee de la Civilization
Day 9: Montreal Botanical Garden
Day 10: Mont-Royal Parc