The 6 Best Aquariums in Canada

Written by Jude Speegle
Published: April 5, 2022
Image Credit Nuttawut Uttamaharad/Shutterstock.com
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Canada is the land of maple syrup, its flag paying homage to it with a large maple leaf. More to the point, Canada is full of surprises. While many would associate the country with ice hockey and politeness, Canada is also home to some of the most outstanding aquariums in the world.

The scenery of the top part of North America is to die for, and their aquariums are chock full of sea life to enjoy. There is a diverse array of life in Canada available to experience, if only you’re willing to search it out.

Some of the top aquariums to visit include:

  • Sea Life Caverns
  • Vancouver Aquarium
  • Ucluelet Aquarium 
  • Marineland of Canada
  • Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
  • Aquarium du Québec

Bundle up and get ready to go on a cross-country exploration of sea life!

1. Sea Life Caverns

Largest Seal - South American Sea Lion
Sea Life Caverns in Edmonton, Canada is known for their Sea Lion Shows.

Foto 4440/Shutterstock.com

Sea Life Caverns
Address 8882 170 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5T 4M2, Canada
Animal to SeeSea Lion Shows
Known ForPenguin Meet and Greet

In the West Edmonton Mall, there is an attraction known as Sea Life Caverns located in the Marine Life area. Sea Life Caverns is an underground aquarium that houses more than 100 varieties of marine life.

The Marine Life area has daily sea lion shows for your entertainment, along with a penguin meet and greet so you can see African penguins up close. There is a sea lion meet as well. 

There are exhibits for the whole family to interact with, so get ready to touch a stingray and see a starfish within reaching distance.

Along with these fun exhibits, a pirate ship is posed in the middle of a lake for the perfect photo opportunities.

Vancouver Aquarium

river otter vs sea otter
Vancouver Aquarium is known for its family of sea otters.

Chase Dekker/Shutterstock.com

Vancouver Aquarium
Address 845 Avison Way, Vancouver, BC V6G 3E2, Canada
Animal to SeePenguins
Known ForSea Otters

The Vancouver Aquarium is home to more than 65,000 different animals to view. There are nine exhibit areas:

  • Amazon Rainforest
  • Canaccord Exploration Gallery
  • Frogs Forever Gallery
  • Pacific Canada Pavilion
  • Penguin Point
  • Steller’s Bay/Canada’s Arctic
  • Treasures of the BC Coast
  • Tropic Zone
  • The Wild Coast

Among these exhibits, there is so much to do. Watch their eight sea otters swim, dive, and hold hands in the sea otter section. Point out the penguins or laugh at the sea lion’s antics. 

The aquarium was first started in 1950 and has branched out since its origin. It is a prime active point for marine life research and education on conservation and animal rehabilitation.

The two-level Pacific Canada Pavilion showcases the exhibit from above, and then you can walk to the lower level and see the animals up close and personal.

There is a 30-year old dolphin named Helen you can stop to see. There used to be two beluga whales housed in the aquarium as well, but they are no longer in residence.

Ucluelet Aquarium

Giant Pacific Octopus
Ucluelet Aquarium is known for its seasonal catch and release system.]
Ucluelet Aquarium
Address 180 Main St, Ucluelet, BC V0R 3A0, Canada
Animal to SeeGiant Pacific Octopus
Known ForCatch and Release System

The Ucluelet is a non-profit aquarium, meaning it doesn’t seek to make money and any profits go back to the aquarium itself and the animals. It is known as “Canada’s First Collect-And-Release Aquarium”. This means that they don’t keep any animals long-term and always end up releasing them back into their natural habitats on a seasonal basis.

A huge part of Ucluelet Aquarium is providing a fun educational experience for visitors to learn about marine life. They promote interactions as a way to learn to respect the world around us. It’s also common to discuss environmental issues and conservation efforts there and they don’t mince words.

They run multiple projects at a time from research on starfish wasting syndrome to the Marine Debris Initiative where they monitor microplastic pollution.

Marineland of Canada

Apex predator: Killer whales
Marineland of Canada is known for being both an amusement park and a zoo.

slowmotiongli/Shutterstock.com

Marineland of Canada
Address 7657 Portage Rd, Niagara Falls, ON L2E 6X8, Canada
Animal to SeeOrca
Known ForDolphins

Marineland of Canada is the Sea World of the country, being both a zoo and an amusement park in one. They have their very own orca, also known as a killer whale, named Kiska.

They also have five seals that love to play around in the Aquarium Dome, providing countless hours of entertainment for visitors.

There are six exhibits to explore, including:

  • Arctic Cove
  • Aquarium Dome
  • Friendship Cove
  • King Waldorf Stadium
  • Penguin Palace
  • Warehouse

A few animals you can look forward to spotting include Smooshi and her calf Koyuk, two walruses with cute faces, and large tusks. There are also bottlenose dolphins to explore the waters with, many different types of seals, sea lions, and penguins. 

Forty different beluga whales make their home in Marineland, and most can be found in Arctic Cove. The zoo has a ten-year contract for beluga whale research to contribute to conservation efforts.

Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

Deadliest Jellyfish - Box Jellyfish
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada has an incredible Jellyfish exhibit.

Nuttawut Uttamaharad/Shutterstock.com

Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
Address 288 Bremner Blvd, Toronto, ON M5V 3L9, Canada
Animal to SeeJellyfish
Known ForMoving Shark Tunnel

Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada opened up in the autumn of 2013 and has been entertaining guests ever since. It is one of three Ripley’s Aquariums in North America. There are ten galleries to explore and countless hours of fun and education

  • Canadian Waters
  • Dangerous Lagoon
  • Discovery Centre
  • The Gallery
  • Life Support Systems
  • Planet Jellies
  • Rainbow Reef
  • Ray Bay
  • Shipwrecks
  • Shoreline Galleries

More than 1.25 million gallons of water fill the facility’s tanks, housing more than 20,000 animals within it. This should take between two to three hours to explore but it depends on how in-depth an experience the visitor is looking for. 

One exhibit is a moving underwater tunnel in the biggest tank where you can view all sorts of sharks in their natural habitats. Another includes areas where you can reach into the water and touch stingrays or feel a shark’s skin. 

The jellyfish gallery has color-changing light displays to make the experience unique and unforgettable.

Aquarium of Québec

The Aquarium of Quebec is known for their giant sea tunnel where visitors can view marine life up close and personal.

Ansgar Walk / Creative Commons

Aquarium of Québec
Address 1675 Av. des Hôtels, Québec, QC G1W 4S3, Canada
Animal to SeeWalruses
Known ForAwesome Ocean Exhibit

If you stop by Quebec then the Aquarium of Quebec is definitely a place you need to visit. They are well known for their baby walruses growing up into their main characters.

There are seven exhibits here:

  • The Arctic Sector
  • Awesome Ocean
  • Banks of the St. Lawrence River
  • Discover the Coastal Zone
  • Fresh & Salt Water
  • Scientific Crossroads
  • Wetlands

The most engaging part of this aquarium would have to be its main attraction: The Awesome Ocean Exhibit. It is a sea tunnel that you walk through as soon as you enter the aquarium. It has over 92,000 gallons of seawater, and they even send divers down to explain the marine life to visitors so that the experience is fully immersive.

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About the Author

Jude is a writer both by trade and by heart. They have been writing since a very young age and have eight years of professional writing experience. Passionate about animals, Jude has three birds and three cats. The birds are named Scoresby, George Michael, and Ketchup Packet. The cats are named Theo, Oatmeal, and Polly.

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