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“Fun, clean, friendly - will visit again!”

Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea
Ranked #3 of 27 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
Reviewed March 6, 2013

We visited Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre for the first time during Victoria's 'Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown' weekend and had an incredible time (despite the crowd). The facility is beautiful and easy to navigate. All of the aquariums are sparkling clean and their inhabitants are health and well cared for. The staff were so friendly and very helpful, many going out of their way to point out interesting creatures that we may not have noticed otherwise and to share facts that we definitely didn't know before!

We loved that all of the Centre's aquatic residents were representative of the immediate area, offering a fun and insightful look into our own backyard.

We will definitely return - and have already purchased our season's passes!

Thank Chelsea H
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 reviewResponded March 26, 2013

Hi Chelsea H!

Thank you so much for braving the 'Be a Tourist' crowd to visit the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre! We are thrilled that you enjoyed exploring our aquarium's exhibits and that you were able to spend time chatting with our Oceaneers...who (many people don't realize) are actually volunteers! That's right, most of the green vested people you see in our aquarium are there because they love talking about the Salish Sea all day long with anyone who will listen. We're pretty lucky to have them.

And we would like to also thank you for supporting our not-for-profit aquarium through your purchase of an annual pass. Welcome to the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre family! All admissions and pass sales directly fund the operation of our facility and allow us to provide a wide range of educational programming for kids and adults alike.

We look forward to seeing you 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.
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225 - 229 of 298 reviews

Reviewed February 16, 2013

My 2 year old had a great time looking at the colourful aquariums, doing puzzles and especially loved the touch pool. However, considering the Royal BC Museum, which has three floors of exhibits, is $16 per adult and Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre is $15 per adult for 4 rooms, it is really pricey.

Thank Moira C
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 reviewResponded March 4, 2013

Hi Moira C,

Thank you so much for visiting the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre. It's great to hear that you and your two year old had so much fun engaging in activities with us...and that your little one braved the touch pool area and got their hands on some live creatures! You have a very adventurous future marine biologist on your hands!

What many people don't realize about us is that we are a not-for-profit aquarium and marine education facility. As such, we have set our rates as low as possible so as to allow us to maintain a quality experience without compromising the health of the animals in our exhibits or cutting back educational programming. We are very grateful to people, such as yourself, who support us by spending their hard-earned money to visit the Centre, which is why we are driven to make each guest feel welcomed and engaged during their time with us. It's what we love to do!

We do offer our visitors the option of purchasing an annual pass, which is actually a pretty amazing deal. The cost is only one day's admission plus $14, which then gives you free unlimited access to the Centre for an entire year. An annual pass pays for itself within one visit, plus your two year old still qualifies as a free guest, so if you decided to come every week for Tot Tuesdays it wouldn't cost you a hardly a thing!

We hope you'll return to the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre again soon, and perhaps consider the idea of an annual pass as a way to get the most value out of your experience.

Thank you again!

Sincerely,

The Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre

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Reviewed February 15, 2013

This was fun but very small. It's not cheap for such a little exhibit. I loved the octopus. My 2 year old was not particularly impressed.

Thank katey1010
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 reviewResponded March 4, 2013

Hi Katey1010,

First, we'd like to thank you for visiting the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre! As a not-for-profit aquarium and marine education facility, we rely on the revenue generated from wonderful guests such as yourself to keep our Centre thriving. Our admissions prices are set at the absolute minium possible in order to allow us to continue to offer a quality experience.

While we realize that our aquarium is on the cozy side, we feel that we have optimized all 10,000 square feet to the best of our ability, filling our facility full with hundreds of amazing creature from the Salish Sea. The ocean has wonders great and small, which is why we make sure that our exhibits showcase even the tiniest intricacies that makes the Salish Sea so fascinating.

Of course for a two year old, the world is a bit more "go! go! go!" We totally get that. We have many programs geared towards little ones that you might consider checking out, including our weekly Tot Tuesdays program; it's full of crafts, games, and story times for children ages two to five. And the nice part is that since a two year old's admission is free, there's not much harm in giving it a try!

We hope that you'll consider returning to visit us again soon. Our volunteer Oceaneers are ready and waiting to engage with you and point out some of the neat features that make our aquarium unique; it will perhaps give you a new perspective on what makes the size of our facility a bonus rather than a draw back!

Thank you again for taking the time to visit us!

Sincerely,

The Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre

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Reviewed February 10, 2013

I have been to the ODC before and the customer service has never been great but on Saturday it was exceptionally awful. The woman at the counter did not great the children and seemed generally annoyed that we would even entertain the thought of coming in with such young children. The prices were different than their website, but she wouldn't comment on internet prices. She was perplexed when we informed her we would not be paying as a group but as individuals and sighed heavily as she rang through each torturous transaction. Other than the rude woman at the front, the place is quite enchanting and has lots for little ones to keep busy.

Thank CW3722684
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 reviewResponded February 12, 2013

Hi CW3722684,

We are so sorry to hear that you did not enjoy your recent experience with our Admissions staff here at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre.

I speak for every one of our Oceaneers by saying that we appreciate your patronage and would not want you to feel that you are in any way a burden; just the opposite. As a not-for-profit aquarium, we value every one of our visitors. Without you, we would not exist!

It is also not our position that young children are not welcome in the aquarium. In fact, most of our regular visitors are mothers with kids...we love it! We even have a special program for children 2-5 years old called Tot Tuesday, which includes crafts, games, and reading. Children are very important guests here, as they are the ones who will grow into future champions for the Salish Sea!

In terms of pricing on the website, I would be interested to know where you think there might be a discrepancy... We are keen to keep our website up to date and accurate; any mistakes can be fixed immediately so that this does not happen again.

On the bright side, it sounds like once inside you and your children enjoyed your experience. We are grateful for that! It is our distinct pleasure to provide the community with an interactive facility devoted to the exploration of the Salish Sea.

We hope that you will return to the aquarium again soon, and that any concerns you may have regarding customer service will be addressed. I welcome further discussion on your experience; please feel free to contact me directly with your comments.

Thank you!

Everyone at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre

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Reviewed January 20, 2013

well layed out and even the smallest child can find something to attract them. Jumping in and out of the "ocean" projected on the floor and finding the fish that matches the magnetic boards is loads of fun. And then there's the feely tank! Wonderful.

Thank Robert S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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