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“Amazing view into the sea”

Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea
Ranked #3 of 26 things to do in Sidney
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Explore the mysteries of the Salish Sea Bioregion - one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world! The Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea is an aquarium and cultural centre for the learning, exploration, and conservation of the Salish Sea. The Salish Sea is named after the Canadian Indigenous Peoples of the region, the Coast Salish. Experience natural aquaria habitats of over 160 live species including a giant pacific octopus and wolf eels; a marine mammal exhibit complete with a rare orca skeleton; and experience the art and culture of the Coast Salish peoples on permanent exhibit. Journey from seafloor to seashore and discover the amazing diversity of the Salish Sea. Peer into 28 aquarium habitats teeming with live marine life from anemones to jelly fish to rockfish and experience the animals first hand in our Touch Pool room overlooking the Salish Sea.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children
Red Deer, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Amazing view into the sea”
Reviewed January 18, 2013

Firstly: This is NOT Sea World

Don't show up expecting whales catching fish and dolphins with hats on. However, do come prepared to spend hours staring into the amazingly diverse and well stocked aquariums. I couldn't believe how much sea life was on display here. I will grant that this is a smaller attraction, I think probably a dozen tanks? But I spent probably 2.5 hours in here slowly going through the rooms admiring the diversity of creatures. My favorite were the tanks with the rock fish. The staff and volunteers here were amazingly knowledgeable and friendly, ready and willing to answer any question, even where to get lunch in the area. My wife and I enjoyed the touch pool and all the squiggly bits in there.

A very nice feature is the ability to get a hand stamp for re entry. We took advantage of this and after lunch and an amazing walk down the water front we came back in, only to discover more sea creatures we missed the first time.

I would 100% recommend a visit here but with one piece of advice: Don't go through it trying to get around the next corner to see what is there, admire and appreciate the exhibit that is right in front of you. Take your time, the longer you look the more you will be amazed.

Visited January 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank cobra646
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Victoria, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
80 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
“Great Place”
Reviewed January 14, 2013

This is a great attraction that offers fun and interactive displays. The staff are very informative and are constantly cleaning the glass. There is free parking which is hard to come by in the South island. It's not a huge exhibit and it will likely only take you 30 minutes tops to complete it. I would say it's worth a visit.

It's a well run ecological friendly exhibit and if you ask the staff they will explain how they get the fist for the exhibit.

It is a bit pricey if you do un fact have a large family, but comparable to other attractions in the area. If you do live in Victoria it is a good idea to consider a seasons pass, because it's cheaper that paying admission twice. We purchased the seasons pass when they first opened and used it a few times so it was worth it for us.

Go and Check it out.

Visited January 2013
Helpful?
Thank meeko_2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OceanDiscovery, Public Relations Manager at Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea, responded to this review, January 21, 2013
Hi meeko_2011!

Thank you so much for visiting the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre again (and again, and again!). We are thrilled to hear that you've enjoyed your time with us in the past and that you are so enthusiastic about encouraging others to come check us out!

As a not-for-profit aquarium, we rely heavily on admissions sales. Your purchase of an annual pass is like a donation to us...so thank you very much! And I should mention that almost all of those knowledgeable Oceaneers you mentioned who help to guide visitors through our aquarium (and who take painstaking measures to keep the glass on our exhibits sparkling) are volunteers! They truely are a wonderful bunch.

We hope that you will consider renewing your pass and continuing to visit our aquarium to see all of the exciting new programs and events we now have to offer, including behind the scenes tours and an upcoming movie night! We're always trying to build on what we do and provide the best experience possible for our visitors.

Thank you again, and we look forward to seeing you again!

Sincerely,

The Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Victoria, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Nice Local Aquarium”
Reviewed December 29, 2012

This is a very nice and well run aquarium. Great for kids and families. Free parking which was appreciated. Overall a very nice time. The only reason I would not rate it a 5 is because the price seemed a little high for the size of the aquarium. If a family visits with 2 or 3 children they would have to pay quite a bit and given the size of the aquarium is small it is probably a 30 minute minimum to a 1 hour maximum experience. If you are looking for an economical option to spend a few hours this would not be the place. That said, it is a non-profit operation and seems to be run mostly by volunteers so it is a place worth supporting. I would rate this aquarium as very good, especially because of the focus on local marine life.

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
Thank TravelGuy198
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OceanDiscovery, Public Relations Manager at Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea, responded to this review, January 3, 2013
Hi TravelGuy198,

Thank you so much for checking out the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre; we appreciate that you came in for a look! Just by visiting us, you have supported the continuation of our community's local aquarium!

As you mentioned we are a not-for-profit organization, so we rely heavily on admission sales from nice people, such as yourself, in order to keep our facility in tip top shape. The cost of a day pass has been set as low as humanly possible in order for us to continue to operate the Centre, provide a quality experience for our guests, as well as maintain clean and healthy environments for our animals. We find that many people opt for our annual pass; the cost is less than two visits, so if you come back even once in the next year, it pays for itself!

You also very astutely noticed that our aquarium is run almost entirely by volunteer Oceaneers!!! They devote thousands of hours per year ensuring that each visitor has the opportunity to discover all of the intricacies that exist in our exhibits that showcase the amazing ecosystem of the Salish Sea.

Thank you again for visiting us and for your great review, and hopefully you'll come see us again soon!

Sincerely,

Everyone at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Victoria, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“*”
Reviewed December 27, 2012

It's great for what it is. It's not huge, but they have lots to look at. For sure better than undersea gardens

Visited July 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank kstar14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OceanDiscovery, Public Relations Manager at Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea, responded to this review, January 3, 2013
Hi kstar14,

Thank you so much for visiting the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre! By coming in for a visit, you have supported the continuation of our community aquarium...so thank you again!

You are right that our facility is cozy; we have about 10,000 square feet to display all of the wonders found in the Salish Sea. We like being on the small side because it gives our volunteer Oceaneers the chance to engage with each one of our guests and point out all of the intricacies that exist in our habitats. They are teeming with wildlife!

Many people don't realize that we are a not-for-profit aquarium, which is why the support of our guests who pay admission are critical to our success. All revenue generated at the Centre is put directly back into our facility to ensure that our animals receive the highest quality care and attention. We're proud of that fact!

Thank you again for visiting us, and we hope you come to see us again soon!

Sincerely,

The Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Victoria, Canada
Level 4 Contributor
40 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“A slice of the Ocean”
Reviewed December 19, 2012

A great way to see what is under our sea! A great alternative to conventional amusement park aquariums that cause more trouble to their animals than harm. Here the educational value is through the roof and the animals are returned to the ocean after their short stay as ocean ambassadors.

Visited April 2012
Helpful?
Thank mec380
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OceanDiscovery, Public Relations Manager at Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea, responded to this review, December 27, 2012
Hi mec380!

Thank you so much for visiting the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre! We are thrilled to hear that you enjoyed your time here with us, and that you noticed the care that our staff and volunteer Oceaneers take in protecting and caring for all of the animals that live in our exhibits. Quality is our top priority!

As a not-for-profit aquarium, our mandate is to help teach all of our visitors about the beauty that exists in the Salish Sea and what steps every person can take to help protect its delicate ecosystem...though it sounds to us like you were already an avid ocean advocate before you came in. That's awesome!

Thank you again for visiting the Centre, and we hope to see you again soon!

Sincerely,

Everyone at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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