The Insider Guide to Visit Ripley's Aquarium of Canada
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is a multi-level, state-of-the-art aquarium with a vast array of over 20,000 incredible sea creatures and aquatic animals representing over 450 different species. The stunning exhibits, hands-on activities and detailed information is designed to appeal to visitors of all ages who are fascinated by marine life.
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Visiting Ripley’s Aquarium
This attraction is located in the entertainment district of downtown Toronto at 288 Bremner Boulevard, just a short walk from the CN Tower. You can access the aquarium from Union Station via a pedestrian pathway. There is no onsite parking, with very limited street parking and some underground lots nearby.
When to Visit
The aquarium is open daily, year-round from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. During the summer and on weekends and holidays the aquarium is busiest from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on off season peak hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Give yourselves about between two and three hours to properly enjoy the full experience.
Ripley’s has been designated a certified autism centre and has achieved accessibility certification by the Rick Hanson Foundation. Ramps are located on the west and east side of the facility and two parking spots are available on a first come – first serve basis for guests with accessible parking passes. Contact guest services in advance with specific mobility or service requirements so you can be comfortably accommodated.
Refreshments, Restrooms & Gift Shop
Outside food and drinks are not permitted in the aquarium. Ripley’s Café is located on the lower level and features a kid approved menu of tasty treats and snacks.
Note: The café is closed at this time. Fully accessible washrooms are located on both the upper and lower levels, with changing stations. The Ripley’s Cargo Hold Gift Shop is on the upper level beside the Shoreline Gallery, but you can also shop the online store for mementos, apparel and gift cards.
Hand-held cameras are allowed in the aquarium, and for the best results, avoid using your flash. You’ll need special permission for any commercial photographer or video.
Get tickets in advance and skip the line for purchasing tickets when you visit. This will save you a lot of time, especially during peak season and holidays. Tickets range from $12.50 for children ages 3 to 5, $29 for youth ages 6 to 13, $29 for seniors 65+ and $43 for adults.
If you’re spending a few days in Toronto, save time and money with a CityPass ticket, which will provide you admission to five of the city’s top attractions, including Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, with one convenient purchase. Other attractions are the CN Tower, Casa Loma, Royal Ontario Museum and the Toronto Zoo or the Ontario Science Centre.
What You’ll Experience at Ripley’s Aquarium
The aquarium features two floors with 10 unique gallery exhibits with different marine habitats that collectively contain over 5.7 million litres of water. Meaning, there’s a lot to see! Luckily the tour is well laid out, so you won’t get lost as you explore one fascinating exhibit after another.
Enter through the Guest Services lobby and move through the Discovery Centre Overlook to the Dangerous Lagoon. This massive tank is home to the aquariums largest and most dangerous species including sharks, stingrays and sawfish, as well as green sea turtles. Learn all about underwater life in Canadian Waters, including crayfish lurking at the bottom of Lake Ontario or the variety of species that swim the currents of the St. Lawrence River. Pause at the Kelp Forest to watch the mesmerizing sway of the thick green seaweed. Also, it’s a prime photo op spot.
In the Life Support Systems, you’ll be introduced to the engineering genius of pipes, tanks and equipment that keep the aquarium running. In the Shoreline Gallery, admire shore dwellers like stingrays and starfish. You’ll get a fresh vantage point of the sharks from above in the Dangerous Lagoon Overlook.
The impressive Kelp Forest continues into the lower level of the aquarium. Start in the Rainbow Reef, with a dazzling and colourful array of Indo-Pacific species and an interactive dive show.
Next, experience North America’s longest underwater viewing tunnel along a slow-moving conveyor belt pathway. Watch the sharks, stingrays and turtles swim beside and above from what feels like the ocean floor. The Reef Sharks exhibit focuses on shoreline coral reef species.
Back in the Discovery Centre, enjoy hands-on, interactive activities including the chance to touch the back of a shark or stingray (with staff supervision). There’s also an aquatic themed playground and simulated submarine.
View some of the ocean’s most interesting inhabitants in The Gallery, from seahorses and lionfish to piranhas and electric eels. Dive into the eerie history of Canada’s famous wreckages in Shipwrecks. Finally, watch the whimsical, colour-changing jellyfish dance and float in Planet Jellies and catch a daily dive show, where divers feed four species of stingrays in Ray Bay.