Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Underwater in Toronto

A wedding took us to Toronto where we then had some time to play tourist, unlike the past couple of times I traveled to Ontario (once for a scout leaders’ conference and once with Vilis for this wedding). Our explorations took us to the comparatively new Ripley’s Aquarium Canada, located adjacent to the CN Tower. Construction was originally planned for the Niagara Falls area, but plans fell through and Ripley's ended up in Toronto. What was once a no-man’s-land around the rail lines became a $130 million (Canadian) project in August 2011, opening to the public in October 2013.

Canada’s largest indoor aquarium, the attraction contains 1.5 million gallons of water. We got our feet wet in “Canadian Waters,” the exhibit highlighting 17 different habitats, before heading to “Rainbow Reef,” with its vast collection of tropical fish.

Everyone enjoyed “Dangerous Lagoon,” the underwater tunnel that wound under and through the giant tank full of sharks. The moving walkway helped keep the crowds moving, but the length of the tunnel ensured we got our money’s worth of giants swimming overhead.

A pause in the Discovery Center while the kids explored the playground and pet the Horseshoe Crabs before continuing on to the “Ray Bay.” These guys were a touch larger than the ones we had met last week at Roper Mountain Science Center’s Marine Lab

My favorite exhibit was “Planet Jellies.” The eight tanks of different jellyfish were backlit in color-changing displays that were simply mesmerizing. The presentation was similar to that of the Georgia Aquarium, although the tanks were bigger and more numerous.

We bought tickets on site, but if you would prefer to save some money make sure to book online a few days before. Our Friday visit coincided with the start of summer vacation and the place was obnoxiously packed, so if you would prefer a quieter visit consider a different day of the week, or simply go off-season. The layout allows for a continuous exploration of the aquarium without having to double-back or possibly miss a portion, and is comfortably viewed in three hours. Discovery Center (which is about halfway) offers snacks for sale, and various live dive shows and other programs are programmed throughout the day; see website for details. 

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