Toronto-based family travel writers Yashy & Chris Murphy are not shy about touring around...
In the Spotlight: Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
With over 20,000 marine animals to explore, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada in Toronto is the place to see awe-inspiring underwater wildlife creatures from all over the world.
Ranging from a rainbow reef to vibrant jellyfish, Ripley’s Aquarium (288 Bremner Blvd.) is a wonderful aquatic hub for kids and adults alike. Not only will you find a mesmerizing collection of Canadian creatures, but you’ll also be able to spot others from around the globe as well. Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada features one of the world’s most extensive jellyfish exhibits, 65+-year-old giant lobsters, stingray touch pools and daily live dive shows.
Catch a glimpse into the shark tank life (from a distance) with Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada’s Shark Camera. Have burning questions about the jellyfish? The Ripley’s team also offers interactive live streams you can catch at home from various parts of the aquarium.
From the heart-pounding experience of Dangerous Lagoon to the hypnotic dance of Pacific Sea Nettle jellyfish at Planet Jellies, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is captivating Torontonians as well as guests from around the world. Containing over 5.7 million litres of water, the 12,500 square metre (135,000 sq ft) interactive aquarium immerses guests in a thrilling underwater adventure.
Places to eat in or near Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
With a variety of scrumptious food options at different price points around every corner, there’s sure to be something that will fit your mood and budget.
Steam Whistle Biergarten
Looking for a more casual vibe with a fun atmosphere, great pub-style food and delicious beer options? This is the place to go. 255 Bremner Blvd.
Perfect for dates and family outings, head here for delicious pizza and pasta in an elegant setting. Don’t forget to try the tiramisu. Located right down the street from Ripley’s Aquarium, Taverna Mercatto is a great place to grab drinks and appetizers before heading out on your next adventure. 120 Bremner Blvd.
In the mood for Thai food and a great casual atmosphere? You can’t go wrong with the mouth-watering dishes at Pai. Named after the Chef’s hometown, PAI is a wonderful option with affordable prices. 18 Duncan St.
Things to do at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
With a ton of fun family-friendly options, there’s no shortage of things to do at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. So whether you’re planning a date night, or taking the kids out for an enchanting and educational day, here are some things to help you plan the perfect day.
Learn about the ecosystems of Canada’s Great Lakes and surrounding seas at Canadian Waters
Begin your journey through the aquarium by learning what life is like for the underwater creatures living in Lake Ontario and the other Great Lakes. Then head to the Pacific Kelp Exhibit to see a simulation of the wave conditions on the British Columbia coast. Featured sea creatures include the Largemouth Bass, American Lobster, Wolf Eel, Giant Pacific Octopus and more.
Take a heart-pounding journey through Dangerous Lagoon
The aquarium’s most exhilarating exhibit is an experience you will never forget. Step onboard the moving sidewalk to be transported through North America’s longest underwater viewing tunnel. Home to the aquarium’s most fearsome-looking animals, you’ll find Sand Tiger Sharks, Green Sawfish and Green Moray Eel. You can’t help but oooo and aaaah as the majestic creatures glide above mere feet from the top of your head. Don’t forget to take a #SharkSelfie!
Enjoy a mesmerizing light show from the dancing jellyfish at Planet Jellies
With hundreds of jellies surrounding you on all sides, you will truly feel as if you’ve visited another planet at the Planet Jellies exhibit. Be hypnotized by the backlit and colour-changing displays filled with different species of jellyfish. Don’t forget to look up, where the ceiling exhibit showcases the beautiful and translucent Moon Jellies!
Touch a stingray at the Shoreline Gallery
The Shoreline Gallery at the top of Ray Bay provides visitors with an educational and tactile experience like no other. Run your fingers against the silky smooth skins of the four species of stingrays, while friendly educators will teach you about these amazing creatures. You’ll fall in love at first touch!
Be transported to the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific at Rainbow Reef
This kaleidoscope of colourful fish and coral must be seen to be believed. Home to over 100 species of fish, Rainbow Reef is one of the most bio-diverse exhibits at the aquarium!
Pop up into the underwater viewing bubbles at the Discovery Centre
A favourite among kids and underwater explorers of all ages, the Discovery Centre allows visitors to crawl through underwater tunnels into transparent viewing bubbles for an up-close look at Clownfish, Palette Surgeonfish, Wobbegong also known as “carpet sharks” and more. Get your hands wet at the Horseshoe Crab touch pool where you can feel the tough shells of these extraordinary “living fossils.”
Watch interactive daily dive shows at Ray Bay and Rainbow Reef
Marvel at the grace of the Cownose Rays, Southern Stingrays and Roughtail Stingrays as they coast through the water in Ray Bay and the Batfish, Unicorn Surgeonfish and Harlequin Tuskfish swim through Rainbow Reef.
Please check the Ripley's Aquarium website to see pricing and availability of these experiences before you visit
Get up close and personal with a stingray! This two-hour adventure includes:
- A Behind the Scenes tour
- An in-water experience in Ray Bay
- A souvenir backpack and towel
- Photos of your experience on a USB flash drive
Have you ever wanted to swim with sharks? You can with the public S.C.U.B.A dive program! Guests can get up and close and personal with the sawfish, sharks, turtles and fish on a 30-minute guided dive in Dangerous Lagoon.
Spend an evening exploring the aquarium and learning about the magnificent marine animals that grace its waters. Afterwards, tuck into your sleeping bag for an unforgettable evening beneath the “Dangerous Lagoon” shark tunnel. Surrounded on all sides by sharks, stingrays, and sea turtles, this will be a slumber party to remember!
Family sleepovers are open to family groups of any size, to a maximum of 60 people.
Friday Night Jazz
On the second Friday of every month, Ripley’s Aquarium turns into a soulful one-of-a-kind jazz bar. Wander through the aquarium while treating your ears to live jazz music. Drop by the cash bar for refreshments and watch as the marine animals move and groove to the rhythm. Friday Night Jazz is the perfect spot for a memorable date night.
Fun facts about Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
- There are over 20,000 marine animals on display
- Includes 450 species of fish and invertebrates and one species of reptile (sea turtle)
- The marine animals are housed in 5.7 million litres of water
- There are 50 live exhibits and over 100 interactive displays
- Marine and freshwater habitats from around the world
How to get to Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
By Car, East of Toronto: Take Highway 401 to the Don Valley Parkway and continue south to the Gardiner Expressway. Once there, travel west to the Spadina Avenue exit. Exit on Spadina travelling north and turn right (east) on Bremner Boulevard.
By Car, West of Toronto: Take Highway 401 to Highway 427 and go south on the 427 to the Gardiner Expressway. Once there, travel east to the Spadina Avenue exit. Exit on Spadina travelling north and turn right (east) on Bremner Boulevard.
By Car, North of Toronto: Take Highway 404 until it becomes the Don Valley Parkway. Continue south on the Don Valley Parkway to the Gardiner Expressway. Once there, travel west on the Gardiner to the Spadina Avenue exit. Exit on Spadina travelling north and turn right (east) on Bremner Boulevard.
Where to Park: There are several parking lots within walking distance of Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. Parking can be found on Rees and Queens Quay, the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC), underground parking by Lower Simcoe Street, south of Bremner Boulevard, Front Street and Blue Jays Way and Blue Jays Way and Navy Wharf Court.
By TTC: Take the subway to Union Station. Follow the SkyWalk west or walk west on the south side of Front Street to York Street or Simcoe Street. Follow York Street or Simcoe Street south to Bremner Boulevard. Walk west on Bremner Boulevard.
Alternate route by TTC: Take the subway to St. Andrews Station. Walk west on King Street to John Street and follow John Street south, across the John Street bridge to Bremner Boulevard.
By GO Train: Once you have arrived at Union Station, follow the SkyWalk west or walk west on the south side of Front Street to York Street or Simcoe Street. Follow York Street or Simcoe Street south to Bremner Boulevard. Walk west on Bremner Boulevard.
By UP Express: Once you have arrived at Union Station, follow the SkyWalk west or walk west on the south side of Front Street to York Street or Simcoe Street. Follow York Street or Simcoe Street south to Bremner Boulevard. Walk west on Bremner Boulevard.