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“Amazing sight and tactile experience”

Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea
Ranked #3 of 25 things to do in Sidney
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
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
Victoria, Canada
Level Contributor
28 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Amazing sight and tactile experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 28, 2013

With a name that starts with a corporate sponsor, and a location in Sidney I expected nothing. What I got was amazing. An amazing sampling of local flora and fauna.

It was especially amazing for children as you could touch so much of the sealife. The best way to see local water life without putting on a dry suit.

Visited August 2012
Helpful?
Thank marktodandtravel
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, April 19, 2013
Hi Marktodandtravel!

Thank you for visitng our aquarium, and for your fantastic review! It sounds like you really "get" our purpose: we're a hands on, hands wet facility for people of all ages devoted to showcasing the amazing sea life that exists beneath the surface of our beautiful Salish Sea.

You know, you're not the first person to be thrown off by the name 'Shaw'. We were the very lucky recipients of a sizeable donation from the company at the outset of our construction, and since then consider Shaw very good and loyal friends. Other than that, we are a completely independent not-for-profit organization that relies heavily on admissions sales and donations in order to stay (cough!) afloat (cough!)...I just can't resist making the pun.

Please know that your endorsement means a great deal to us, and that without visitors such as yourself, our aquarium could not exist.

We hope to see you again soon!

Sincerely,

All of us at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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266 reviews from our community

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English first
BC
Level Contributor
38 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“interesting "elevator" :-)”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 19, 2013

first time visiting this aquarium. Very friendly and helpful volunteers who are always available to share information. Took me a few minutes to realize we really weren't going down in the elevator :-)

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
Thank fatdogowner
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, April 19, 2013
Hello fatdogowner!

What a fantastic name you have! My family has a 'plus size' dog as well...more of him to love, we say. Anyway, thank you so much for visiting the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre, and for your wonderful review!

We're pretty proud of our team of 160+ volunteer Oceaneers who work so hard to provide our visitors with the best possible experience, so when we hear that you were well taken care of and had all of your burning ocean-related questions answered, well, it makes us. Very, very happy.

As a not-for-profit aquarium, we rely heavily on admissions sales to keep our facility operating at the highest standard possible...quality is not something that we're willing to compromise. That is why we installed the absolute best, top of the line, highest caliber submarine elevator available on the market today that may (or may not) submerge our guests into the Salish Sea. Let's just say that it's real...ly fun!

Thank you again, and come back to see us soon!

Sincerely,

All of us 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.
Sidney, Canada
Level Contributor
34 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Great sea experience!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 10, 2013

This is the place to go to see what lies under the Salish Sea. I was particularly impressed with the presentation tanks providing easy to see wildlife. The touch tanks are fun! My favourite is the purple sand dollars which stand on edge themselves!

Visited February 2013
Helpful?
Thank Steve D
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, April 19, 2013
Well hello Steve D!

You look mildly familiar...have we met?

Thank you VERY much for your glowing review! Your support means a great deal to us here, and we appreciate that you took the time to give us a 'thumbs up'.

As a not-for-profit aquarium, it is our admissions sales that keep our head above water (love those ocean puns!). Your endorsement is meaningful to us in many ways, but especially because it will no doubt spur others to stop by and see the 1000's of marine species we showcase in our exhibits.

Thank you again, and I hope we see you again soon! I'd say the odds are in our favor.

Sincerely,

All of us 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.
Ontario Canada
Level Contributor
44 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“A Great Visit”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 8, 2013

Just returned from B.C. after a visit with family in Victoria on Vancouver Island. Visited this fabulous Gem in Sydney during Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown weekend. (Free admission) A fantastic Aquarium of Ocean Species including Emily, a 3 month old octopus. A great place for kids with hands on " Touch Tank" where they can touch some of the creatures of the ocean.

Visited February 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank albur
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, April 19, 2013
Hi Albur,

We're so glad that you took the time to stop in to the aquarium while visiting the Island, and thank you for your glowing review! Our small staff and huge team of volunteer Oceaneers work extremely hard to provide our visitors with the best possible experience, so when we hear that we were successful, well, we get pretty happy.

As a not-for-profit aquarium, we rely heavily on admissions sales to keep us afloat (pun definitely intended). We appreciate your endorsement for many reasons, but especially because it encourages others to come see us too!

We hope you'll come in again the next time you find yourself in our neck of the...ocean.

Thank you again!

Christina
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saanich
Level Contributor
28 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“surprisingly great”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 6, 2013

I didn't know what to expect, but thought it must be a lot less impressive than the Vancouver aquarium etc. Actually, it was really really good. Very focussed on the local sealife of the Salish Sea (water body from roughly Vancouver to Nanaimo then down to Seattle and over to the west tip of the Olympic Peninsula).

Lots of aquaria (???) with different habitats...sandy, rocky bottom, reef, kelp forest, etc. full of a great variety of healthy looking species. Lots of learning activities, microscopes and a touch pool with some sealife. Plenty of tourguides/staff to answer questions about the region, species etc.

A really nice visit. Six year old loved it and had to be contained from running from exhibit to exhibit. She especially liked the elevator submerging into the aquarium at the start and seeing wolf eels and lots of rockfish (which she learned about in school).

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
Thank saanichguy
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, March 27, 2013
Hi saanichguy,

Thank you so much for visiting the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre and for your glowing review! As a not-for-profit organization, your support means a great deal to us. We have a dedicated staff and a large group of knowledgeable volunteers who all work very hard to provide a high caliber experience that "surprises" and inspires our visitors. It's a "Do a happy dance" day when we hear from guests that we've succeeded!

We're also thrilled that your 6 year old was so excited by our exhibits! We encourage that kind of unbridled enthusiasm in the aquarium. Running, jumping up and down, squealing with delight; all considered acceptable behavior.

Thank you again, and we hope that you'll come back soon!

Sincerely,

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

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