This past weekend we took the kids into Toronto to visit Ripley's Aquarium. We had gotten ticket to the attraction as a Christmas gift (love experience gifts!) and figured the holiday crowds might have died down by now. We had a great time and all the sea life on display is pretty impressive. Here are a few tips I'm passing along to make your Ripley's Aquarium experience a good one.
1. Buy your tickets online ahead of time. You can pick your date and your entry time (they give you a one hour window). Children 2 and under are free. By getting your tickets a head of time, you won't have to wait in line when you get there. As this is still a busy attraction, this is a great way to save time.
2. If you go on a weekend, my suggestion is to book the earliest entry time (9:00 – 10:00 AM) and plan on getting there right for 9:00 AM. There were other people there for 9:00 AM as well but nothing compared to the crowds when we left later that morning.
3. Parking. We parked in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre's South Building underground lot (222 Bremner Blvd, Ripley's Aquarium is 288 Bremner Blvd). We paid $12 – not too bad for downtown Toronto. It was just a quick walk across the street to the Aquarium.
4. Your stuff. There are no lockers but you can do coat check at $2 a coat. I would really recommend you leave strollers at home if you can. There is not a lot of room to move through the exhibits.
5. Food. There is a cafe located in the Aquarium so you can stop and have a snack or lunch of you'd like. There are no rules limiting outside food so packing snacks is fine too. They serve what you would expect: pizza, hot dogs, french fries, wraps, soda pop, juice that somewhat reasonably priced for an attraction but seating is limited and will fill up fast given the crowds that are still going through.
6. Kids Area. There is a cute playground that has a submarine and some slides/climbing equipment. My kids really liked this area but I will warn you that there are multiple exit points so you really have to keep an eye on where they come out! Its not a contained area either so they could wander outside of the playground area easily.
7. Washrooms. There are washrooms located by the cafe but not really any place else. We assumed there would be some at the exit but we were wrong and it would have been too crazy to go back through the crowds to get back to the washrooms by the cafe. So use them when you see them!
There is certainly lots to see and the kids enjoyed themselves. There are some neat features for kids like tunnels they can crawl through that are inside the aquariums and the moving walkway was a hit too. It is pretty dark inside but that makes it easier to take pictures and enjoy the exhibits. Not so easy to keep tabs on little ones though so if you have any shoes that light up, get the kids to wear them that day!
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