The Savvy Traveler's Guide to Ripley's Aquarium of Canada
Inside seas, oceans, lakes, and rivers, you can find countless one-of-a-kind creatures. Over millions of years, aquatic animals have formed fascinating specialties to master skills like camouflage and predation. Observing their unique biological traits in action is a chance to witness eons of natural history slithering before your eyes. And even if you went for dozens of dives around the globe, you would never encounter as many of these outstanding creatures as you can at a world-class aquarium.
Drawing from marine and freshwater habitats around the world, Ripley's Aquarium of Canada brings you face to face with the most colorful and stimulating aquatic wonders in existence. Inside Canada's largest indoor aquarium, you'll find fun touch exhibits, educational talks with aquarists, live dive shows, and more than 100 interactive displays. Explore nine distinct galleries formed around their own aquatic theme and discover 16,000 animals spanning 450 distinct species.
Dip into Canadian Waters
Canada is covered by tens of thousands of lakes, and lurking inside them lives unique wildlife found nowhere else in the world. As much as 9% of Canada's surface is covered with freshwater. And between the North Pacific, the North Atlantic, and the Arctic, Canada has its choice of oceans. The Canadian Waters gallery is a glimpse into those icy waters, observing creatures that dwell in kelp forests and frozen lakes from the comfort of an indoor aquarium. Among 17 distinct exhibits, you'll find giant pacific octopus, prehistoric paddlefish, and the fearsome wolf eel.
Be Dazzled by Rainbow Reef
For aquatic life in the tropics, Ripley's Aquarium in Toronto has recreated a slice of the Indo-Pacific Ocean. Coral reefs are home to countless tiny ecosystems, which is why they have as much biodiversity as a rainforest. Rainbow Reef is a kaleidoscope of colorful creatures dwelling in equally fascinating habitats. Here you'll become submerged among thousands of uniquely brilliant habitats. As the aquarium's most diverse exhibit, Rainbow Reef is home to more than 100 species, including the batfish, unicorn surgeonfish, and the Picasso triggerfish.
Dive into Dangerous Lagoon & the Gallery
Take a journey on the longest moving sidewalk in North America as you glide through the Dangerous Lagoon. Traversing this underwater tunnel exhibit is the closest you can get to aquatic wildlife without getting wet in the process. As the largest exhibit, Dangerous Lagoon is an in-depth experience that sticks you side-by-side with sharks, green moray eels, green sea turtles, and more.
At the end of the Lagoon, your next stop is the Gallery, home of Ripley's camouflage experts. Take a close look at the amazing stealth adaptations that have helped aquatic specialists survive for tens of millions of years. Inside six salt water exhibits and three freshwater exhibits, you'll discover electric eels, seahorses, lionfish, and the world's largest horseshoe crab touch-tank. If you're feeling adventurous, you can even get zapped in the electric eel exhibit!
Marvel at Ray Bay & Planet Jellies
Like birds through the air, stingrays use flattened bodies and fins to gracefully glide through the water. Elegantly striding through the waves makes stingrays one of the most visually stimulating and popular species at Ripley's Aquarium. Here you'll find both saltwater and freshwater rays, including four species of stingray and one species of shark.
As you continue through Ripley's Aquarium in Toronto, you'll finally encounter the incredible Planet Jellies. Inside you can see one of the largest kreisel tanks in the world, a special horizontal cylinder needed to support the fragile bodies of jellyfish. Jellyfish can be seen swimming overhead inside a stunning ceiling exhibit, and you'll get a firsthand look at how jellies grow and develop.
Ripley's Aquarium Hours of Operation and Events
Ripley's Aquarium of Canada is open 365 days a year, from 9am-11pm. Occasionally Ripley's will close for several hours for a private event, so you may want to check the calendar on their website while planning your trip to be sure you're not planning to visit when they have an event scheduled.
Another travel tip to keep in mind is that, if you show up at the right time, Ripley's Aquarium of Canada will give you an extra show. You can catch interactive dive shows Monday through Sunday at 11:15am at a location that alternates between the tropical Rainbow Reef and the immensely popular Ray Bay.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1pm-3pm, you can watch feedings for cuttlefish, paddlefish, and sharks. And on 11am Thursdays and 3pm Tuesdays, you can catch octopus' enrichment, where octopi are given activities to wrangle and play with before your eyes.
Fun Fridays at Ripley's Aquarium
Additionally, you can catch special events at Ripley's on the first, second, and last Friday of each month. On the first Friday you can join Paint Nite and create your own marine-themed canvas with the aid of an instructor. On the second Friday you can join Jazz Night, when Ripley's Aquarium hosts some of Toronto's top talent to fill the aquarium with live music. And on the last Friday of the month, you can join Beach Bash, an indoor beach party featuring a live DJ and Ripley's Malibu Rum Bar.
Ripley’s Aquarium Autism Services
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada has been designated as a Certified Autism Center by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). Additionally, a Sensory guides area is available and Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada will host several sensory-friendly days, which will offer increased lighting, a music-free environment and a quiet room for guests who require a break.
For more information on the services offered by the aquarium, please visit their official website.
Tips for Your Best Visit to the Aquarium
How busy is Ripley's Aquarium of Toronto? Since opening in 2013, Ripley's has been estimated to draw two million visitors every year. If you're looking to avoid the crowd, most people visit the aquarium between 11am and 2pm on weekdays, or 11am and 4pm on weekends and holidays.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Ripley's Aquarium is huge. How big is Ripley's Aquarium in Toronto? Spanning nine galleries and dozens of independent exhibits, Ripley's supports a vast ecosystem that requires more than 1.5 million gallons of carefully treated water. Depending on your pace, fully exploring each gallery will take two hours or more.
Ripley's Aquarium Ticket Attendance Prices and Packages
How much is Ripley's Aquarium in Toronto? Aquarium ticket prices are based on age. Ripley's Aquarium also offers package deals, but the best way to save on admission for Toronto's top attractions is CityPASS. With Toronto CityPASS, you won't have to pay separate admission over and over to see attractions like the Royal Ontario Museum, the Toronto Zoo, CN Tower, and Ripley's Aquarium of Canada. You'll save on admission, and you'll save time by skipping ticket lines.
Plan Your Visit
Ripley's Aquarium parking options are ample. Although there is no onsite parking aside from two disabled spaces, you can find dozens of parking options within three blocks. Ripley's Aquarium doesn't allow you to reenter once you've left, so don't forget anything before entering.
Photography is allowed, so bring your camera and take some selfies while standing next to a shark! Although flash photography is allowed, you'll end up with far better photos if you turn flash off. And because the aquarium is indoors, you won't have to worry about the sun, but you may want to dress for the weather if you plan on seeing other nearby attractions.
Gift Shop and Café
Although outside food isn't permitted, inside you'll find no trouble grabbing a bite to eat at Ripley's Café. Their menu includes something for everyone, from vegetable wraps and salads to sandwiches and chicken fingers. Next door is the Cargo Hold, Ripley's gift shop, filled with marine-themed souvenirs and gifts to remember your trip.
In the Heart of Toronto
Located in Downtown West, Ripley's Aquarium can be found among Toronto's financial, entertainment, and fashion districts. As home to many of Toronto's best attractions, Downtown West is a hotspot of activity for locals and tourists alike. Along the inner harbor you'll find classic ships, and providing a pinnacle in the Toronto sky, you'll see CN Tower.
Shorter than only two structures on the planet, CN Tower is a Canadian national icon and a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Toronto. Stand atop a glass floor elevator as you're launched to the peak of the tower in under a minute. At the top, you'll find a beautiful vista where city meets nature for 60 miles in all directions. And CN Tower is directly across from Ripley's Aquarium of Canada, so it's a short walk from one to the next!
Plan your visit to Toronto and the Ripley Aquarium today with Toronto CityPASS!