Here at the Road Warrior, we are huge diving enthusiasts! So, anything that has to do with the underwater will peak our interest. As such, the opening of the aquarium in Toronto was of great interest to us, and our visit certainly didn’t disappoint! This could be one of Toronto’s BEST attractions…it is quite a spectacular place — so well put together! — and left us wanting to come back for more!
The Toronto Aquarium is Canada’s largest and newest aquarium. It opened in October 2013 and is located in downtown Toronto close to the Skydome, one of the main sports/entertainment facilities in the city. It is a large 12,500 square-metre (135,000 square-foot) attraction, that is now the home to more than 15,000 underwater creatures and more than 5.7 million litres (1.5 million gallons!!!) of water.
At almost every point during our visit to the aquarium, we were blown away! Everywhere you look, you are surrounded by huge tanks filled with amazing marine life from around the world. The start of your tour take you through the marine biology of the Great Lakes (local to Toronto!) where you can see some amazing alewife fish, humongous lobsters and even massive octopus! There’s a beautiful presentation in a huge tank that spans from the floor way up to the very high ceiling that is a jungle of kelp swaying in the dark waves. Here, fish swim ominously through the swaying canopy…and if you concentrate hard enough, you might just think you are diving alongside them in the deep, dark water!
Halfway through the walk, you will enter a large underwater tunnel where marine life swims all around you! On either side of you and even up above you, you are surrounded by amazing warm water reefs! The “dangerous lagoon” is a long, underwater tunnel that has a slowly moving sidewalk for visitors to stand on (the longest in North America!) that takes you through a winding tour of the depths of the ocean! At the beginning, you enter through a tunnel and emerge into waters that are teeming with small fish, some small rays and sea turtles…but as you weave around the corner you are taken into a larger lagoon complete with big sharks everywhere! We even saw a long sawfish that was taking a rest over our head!
Near the end of the walk, you will enter an area that has several tanks with jellyfish that are lit up in an amazing show. This was probably my favorite part of the aquarium as the there are literally hundreds of jellyfish of all types in different displays throughout this part of the aquarium. It is tranquil and beautiful to see!
Some of the other neat things that you can do at the aquarium?
1. Touch marine life – Kids (and adults alike!) can experience marine life first-hand (literally!) by visiting one of the three educational stations that have life animals that visitors can touch. These are called “touch tanks” and are found throughout the tour of the facility. We got to touch some crabs and a couple of friendly brownbanded bamboo sharks! Trained marine specialists are there to help guide you and make sure that the animals are well taken care of!
2. See the scuba divers perform – In “rainbow reef” there are two scuba divers who perform for the audience who watch outside of the large aquarium tank. They perform tricks and can answer audience questions because their scuba gear is hooked up to a speaker system! Very fun!
3. Learn a bit about aquatic life – There are a ton of different educational stations set up around the aquarium for kids and adults to learn a bit more about the oceans and the animals that life in them. For instance, you can turn a cog to make a “tsunami” or peer in a window to see what it would be like to have the “eyes” of a shark!
4. Watch the marine biologists feed the animals – Once you emerge from under the water, you can travel up above the waters to a large area where marine biologists are on hand to feed the animals. At the time of our visit, they were feeding the small stingrays and were inviting kids to come and join them and ask any questions about the animals.
5. Engage in an “experience” – Although we didn’t experience any of the aquarium’s “experiences”, the staff boasts about the marine “sleepovers” where you can have an overnight experience at the facility, complete with bedtime snack with the sharks! You can also arrange an education “behind-the-scenes” tour.
The Toronto Aquarium is definitely worth a visit! It is a *magnificent* collection of marine life that is presented in a way that will leave you awe-struck and wanting to come back for more!
For more information, or to book a ticket online, visit the official website for the Toronto Aquarium at: http://www.ripleyaquariums.com/canada/
Until the next time, from the depths of the waters in Toronto, the Road Warrior wishes you safe and Happy Travels!
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