Thursday, January 02, 2014

Ripley's Aquarium Visit

Just before Christmas, Bunny had a birthday (he's officially that much closer to earning his old fart status) and to celebrate the occasion I took him into Toronto for his favourite lunch - dim sum at the Pearl, as well as a visit to the new Ripley's Aquarium that opened just a few months ago. I probably haven't been in an aquarium since I was a teenager and Bunny was over the moon excited.
 
This aquarium? Worth every minute of excitement and dollar of admission price. If you have a local aquarium and you haven't been, just take my word for it and go. I've culled Bunny pictures down to just a handful of my absolute favourites (yes, we took a lot of pictures) here to share with you.
 
The aquarium starts off with the Canadian waters exhibit, opening with a giant circular tank of schooling fish.
 
schooling fish

giant and blue lobsters
There were plenty of other cool things in the Canadian Waters, like a kelp forest, an even giant-er lobster and an octopus, but not everything translated well to pictures. Up next is the tropical exhibit, Rainbow Reef. This is like a supersized version of my ideal home aquarium.

tropical fish



The tropical fish were pretty limited to this one specific aquarium, but after that we entered the largest exhibit of the aquarium, Dangerous Lagoon. Schools oceanic fish, sharks and sawfish galore and the most ingenius way to explore the whole thing.  The tour takes you through an underground tunnel that winds its way through the lagoon, on a moving sidewalk. It's like going to the amusement park, I swear.

sharks!

sawfish
The sawfish are ridiculously cool. This one is just hanging out, laying on the top of the tunnel. Wikipedia tells me that sawfish are a species of stingray, and seeing the "face" on this guy it makes sense. Doesn't it look like eyes and a mouth?

more sharks

grouper
Dude this fish is huge. Bunny says its in its own tank because otherwise it would eat pretty much the entire exhibit. Ugly though.


the moving sidewalk tunnel
After exiting the tunnel, there's a little exploration centre that's a lot of fun (and totally has a Finding Nemo tank, by the way) but we didn't take many pictures. In the same area there's also a little onsite cafĂ© that's surprisingly well priced. I didn't get gouged when I bought a couple of bottles of juice, which thrilled me greatly.

Next up was a section called the Gallery, essentially small display tanks for individual species. There were plenty of cool fish here, but rather than show a million pictures let's just focus on the favourites.

lionfish

seadragon! this was my favourite discovery
How cool is this little guy? I was fascinated, and now I want a seadragon on my own.

hello mr ray!
Followed by Ray Bay, which features (you guessed it) stingrays! See the resemblance to the sawfish earlier?


Then, right tucked at the end, when I was almost afraid they'd forgotten them: Planet Jellies. Jellyfish are my favourite fish ever to watch. The last time I saw them at an aquarium I sat on the floor for ages just entranced by the jellies. They're hypnotic, and the changing coloured lights on the main exhibit made them more so. Good planning also meant that there was a row of raised benches by the tank. The only reason I left the jellyfish tank was that Bunny was getting antsy.

they save the best for last

pacific sea nettle jellyfish

more jellyfish

miniature jelly
At the end of the aquarium there's also another hands on section, where Bunny petted rays and sharks and such. I'm squeamish and less fun, apparently. Then, a really cool gift shop. They have aquarium style build-a-bear, all the usual, and then sweet little glass figurines of sea creatures that I'd love to get one day. Best someone-else's-birthday ever.

1 comment:

  1. Okay, another item on the bucket list - looks like a wonderful place to visit!

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