Located in the heart of Toronto, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is an underwater paradise that gives you a close-up look at the wonders of the ocean. With over 20,000 aquatic animals and more than 450 species, this aquarium is a Toronto bucket-list attraction that’s awesome for all ages.
Sharks, stingrays, and sea turtles swim overhead as the moving sidewalk transports us through the Dangerous Lagoon at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. A school of fish flashes by, and countless colorful fish dart in and out of the rocks before us. We wave at a little girl in a submarine seemingly at the bottom of the sea (access it from the Discovery Centre near the café) and continue on our journey. The Dangerous Lagoon is breathtaking, but it’s only one of the wonders at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. There’s a kelp forest, coral reef, ray bay, shipwreck exhibit, and more to explore!
Allow two to three hours to see all the beautiful exhibits and marine life. And don’t miss the Dive Show and Aquarist Talks to learn more about sea creatures and how they’re cared for at the aquarium. Feeding time at Ray Bay was so cool! Here are 10 fun things to do at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada located in Toronto, Ontario.
Partnership Disclosure: Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada and Destination Toronto assisted us with admission and trip planning, but all words and opinions are my own.
10 Fun Things To Do at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
1. Explore The Dangerous Lagoon: Ride North America’s longest moving sidewalk through The Dangerous Lagoon, a 96 meter long glass tunnel through a huge tank full of sharks, sea turtles, and countless fish. You’ll feel like you’re standing on the ocean floor as you observe them swimming above you. We loved that everyone had a front-row “seat” (standing only unless you’re a little kid in a stroller) on the magic carpet, so everyone had an amazing view – and magical experience!
2. Watch the Ray Bay Dive Show (or an Aquarist Talk): Enrich your aquarium experience by attending a Dive Show or Aquarist Show. During the Ray Bay Dive Show, you can watch trained divers hand feed stingrays as an Educator tells you more about these majestic creatures. This show was one of the highlights of our visit because the stingrays came right up to the glass to get fed. It was funny watching a little stingray budge in line and “steal” food from the bigger ones too (don’t worry, there was enough food for all!). *Tip: Check the Dive Show and Aquarist Talks page for show times. These shows are free with admission.
3. Explore Canadian Waters: Take a journey through the Great Lakes and three oceans surrounding Canada. Discover the unique aquatic life that inhabits each habitat, learn why kelp forests are so important (and see one!), and learn about invasive species.
4. Discovery Centre: With an aquatic-themed playground, hands-on exhibits, a glass “Kids Crawl” tunnel through part of the aquarium, and cool pop-up habitats, the Discovery Centre is super fun for kids! Must-do (all ages): Visit the glass-roofed submarine and watch sharks and turtles swim overhead!
5. Discover Life on the Reef: The Rainbow Reef showcases marine life of the Indo-Pacific Ocean including over 100 species of vibrantly colored fish. Can you find Nemo and all his friends?
6. Marvel at the Jellies: Planet Jellies features stunning jellyfish in a variety of colors and shapes, illuminated by a beautiful light display. The Pacific Sea Nettles are so surreal, it took us a minute to realize we were looking at real jellyfish and not a projection!
7. Visit Shipwrecks: This new traveling exhibit showcases artifacts, underwater video footage, and the marine life that lives in and around shipwrecks. Learn more about the shipwreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, Uluburun Shipwreck, and more.
8. Touch a Stingray: At the Shoreline Gallery’s Touch Tank, you can gently touch and interact with the friendly stingrays as they glide through the water. All the stingrays at the aquarium have their barbs trimmed regularly – it’s like trimming your nails; it doesn’t hurt them – so they can’t sting you. While you’re there, check out the shark egg exhibit (you might see some newly-hatched shark pups) and stingray barb interactive exhibit.
9. Get in the water with the Stingrays! (extra charge): The two-hour Stingray Experience lets you get up close to the stingrays and learn more about them and their care. Meet cownose, southern, spotted eagle rays, and roughtail stingrays on an in-water experience, and get a behind the scenes tour of the aquarium. Photos and a keepsake backpack and towel are included. Ages 6 & up may participate (6-13 yrs old must be accompanied by a paying adult).
10. Visit the Gift Shop: Before you leave, stop by the gift shop for marine-themed souvenirs from plush toys to t-shirts.
Whether you’re a marine biology enthusiast or simply looking for a fun day out, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada offers something for everyone. With its interactive exhibits, stunning marine life displays, and engaging interpretive programs, this must-see aquarium will leave you with lasting memories of your journey under the sea.
Know Before You Go
- Allow 2-3 hours to explore Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada.
- Peak visiting hours are 11 am to 2 pm on weekdays, and 11 am to 4 pm on weekends / holidays / summer. Go early or late to avoid the crowds.
- Handheld cameras are permitted, but tripods/monopods/selfie sticks are not. Tips: Don’t use your flash; you’ll get a big reflection off the glass and it annoys the fish.
- Umbrella strollers are recommended (vs large strollers), so it will be easier for everyone to get around.
- Outside food and drink is not permitted, but you can get snacks at the café and vending machines.
For More Information / Buy Tickets Now
For more information or to buy tickets now, visit Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. Kids 2 & under go for free!
Planning on visiting the CN Tower too? A Sea the Sky Ticket saves you 15% on admission to Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada and the CN Tower. Your ticket gives you one entry to each attraction within 30 days of purchase, and you do not need to visit them both on the same day (though you can easily do both in one day as the CN Tower is next door). Read about our experience at the CN Tower here: Visiting The CN Tower in Toronto, Ontario.
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is located in downtown Toronto, a short walk from Union Station. We recommend taking public transit to the aquarium to save on parking.
Where to Stay
Disclosure: This section includes Expedia affiliate links through which I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting our small family business!
Family-friendly hotels with swimming pools in downtown Toronto include The Chelsea Hotel, Holiday Inn Toronto Downtown Centre, and Residence Inn by Marriott Toronto Downtown/Entertainment District.
For a budget-friendly option, try All Days Hostel (where we stayed) near Yonge and Bloor. Private rooms with ensuites are available.