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“"A Superb Learning Resource"”

Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea
Ranked #3 of 28 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 May 22, 2013

This facility has plenty of opportunities for learning. It is a small facility that is packed with variety. I'm a veteran of ocean and intertidal studies. On each visit I have seen and learned new things about the Salish Sea. We spent at least an hour and a half "exploring" the various displays on this most recent visit. The staff and volunteers were both knowledgeable and personable.

Thank Al M
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 June 3, 2013

Hi AI M,

Thank you so much for your review, and for being a Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre "regular"...we love seeing those familiar faces come back again and again!

As a community-based not-for-profit aquarium and marine education facility, there is no greater compliment than being called a "resource"...and throw in a "superb" at that? Really, you flatter us! We take our job as educators very seriously, which is why we work so hard to showcase the highest quality exhibits we possibly can, and to always have Oceaneers on hand to answer burning ocean-related questions.

And it's true that we have changing flora and fauna all the time, so we hope you'll keep coming back to see what's new! Thank you again for being a member of the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre family, and we'll see you on your next visit.

Sincerely,

Everyone here 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.
Write a ReviewReviews (304)
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"sea life"
in 43 reviews
"touch tank"
in 15 reviews
"small aquarium"
in 11 reviews
"wolf eels"
in 8 reviews
"small facility"
in 3 reviews
"big tanks"
in 3 reviews
"sea cucumbers"
in 4 reviews
"local aquarium"
in 4 reviews
"great aquarium"
in 3 reviews
"fantastic gift shop"
in 3 reviews
"all ages"
in 19 reviews
"great place for children"
in 3 reviews
"knowledgeable volunteers"
in 3 reviews
"kids and adults"
in 6 reviews
"interactive displays"
in 4 reviews
"answer questions"
in 4 reviews
"creatures"
in 31 reviews
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219 - 223 of 304 reviews

Reviewed May 17, 2013

The displays were beautiful and the inhabitants in those tanks were amazing. Did not do the upstairs touch area. The employees were very informative and answered all our questions.

Thank Mary Beth A
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 June 3, 2013

Hi Mary Beth A,

We are thrilled to hear that you enjoyed your time visiting us, and that you found it to be a "good learning experience". As a not-for-profit aquarium and marine education facility, that is precisely what we aim to be!

As for those "employees" you refer to in your review, you may be surprised to learn that almost our entire team of our green-vested Oceaneers helping to guide visitors along the way are actually volunteers. That's right...VOLUNTEERS! Although it may seem beyond comprehension that such unbelieveably talented and knowledgeable individuals come here to the aquarium every day on their own time without pay to engage with aquarium guests, it's true. We wouldn't lie to you about this. We consider ourselves incredibly fortunate, of course, because without these selfless ocean enthusiasts, we would not be able to provide visitors like you the quality experience that you deserve!

Thank you again for coming to the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre and for your lovely review. We hope to see you again very soon!

Sincerely,

Everyone here at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre

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Reviewed April 26, 2013

Incredibly well laid out, and really knowledgeable volunteers.
Touch pool for all......interesting breakdown of marine life in the Saltish Seas

Thank P F
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 May 30, 2013

Hi Mollysgrandma,

Thank you so much for visiting the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre. We're thrilled to hear that you enjoyed your time with us, and especially that you took full advantage of our knowledgeable volunteer Oceaneers. We're pretty lucky to have them! It's great that your review header describes the aqauarium as a place for young AND older generations. We love being a popular spot for kids, of course, but adults love the Centre too...I mean, who doesn't enjoy a good touch pool? As far as we're concerned, there's no age at which touching neat stuff gets boring.

We'd also like to note that as a not-for-profit aquarium, we rely heavily on admission sales in order to continue to operate our facility, which means your visit here helps support what we do...so thank you again!

We hope that you (and Molly!) will come visit us again soon.

Sincerely,

All of us here at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre

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Reviewed April 24, 2013

I would have rated this higher, but compared to the Vancouver aquarium, this is a back yard tank. Still a very nice place, but expect to be through it all in about 20 minutes.

Thank Stephen R
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 May 1, 2013

Hi Stephen R,

Thank you for visiting the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre! We're glad that you decided to come have a look.

It's interesting that you would compare us to the Vancouver Aquarium since we are a completely different experience. It's like comparing apples to a grassroots, rural community-driven, education centre. Not-for-profit too. We know that our vibe is intimate; that's what makes us so great! The wonders that lie in our exhibits are both great and "small", that's why we encourage people to take their time walking through to look at all of the incredible intricacies that make up our ocean's ecosystem. We also have a knowledgeable team of 130+ volunteer Oceaneers standing by to enage with you by answering questions and tell tales of the sea! And though in relation to the population of our town we're actually larger than the Vancouver Aquarium (we have roughly 1 square foot per person in Sidney; Van aquarium only has 0.6 per person in Vancouver...just sayin'), we actually prefer the word "small". We also accept "cozy" and "petite".

But "Backyard tank"? Well, we can't say that's as flattering...and frankly, we disagree. At any given time we are streaming 87 tonnes of seawater from Sidney Bay through our building, which means every hour our exhibits have new water that has been brought through a state-of-the-art pump system. The building is heated and cooled this same way, making us one of only a handful of eco-friendly geothermal buildings in Canada.

Our exhibits have been carefully constructed to match exact habitats that exist in the Salish Sea in order to give the best possible representation of our local waters. We house thousands of local flora and fauna, as small as phytoplankton that we grow ourselves as food for our animals, to a giant pacific octopus with whom our skilled aquarists conduct enrichment exercises as a study of these fascinating creatures. Did we mention the school programs we offer that benefit over 7,000 school children per year? I could go on...

We'd ask you to reconsider your 3 point rating of our cozy yet complex education facility. Perhaps you'd be willing to come back for one of our behind the scenes tours? And our apologies if you do actually know someone who has a backyard aquarium that looks anything like ours. If that's the case, we'd really like to meet them. They must have a humongous lawn.

Thank you for visiting us!

Sincerely,

All of us here at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre

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Reviewed April 16, 2013

On the way to the airport from Victoria, we made a stop for coffee in Sidney. We noticed this attraction and decided to give it a look see. The experience was quite nice although it was obvious that the attraction itself is better suited for the children. The guides were so nice and informative, they were very informative. The class of children ahead of us were having a blast at the touch pool. The souvenir shop was not at all overwhelming and the prices were really reasonable as far as souvenir shops go. Once out the door it led to a beautiful little area which allowed for a walk along the water front and marina area. Overall I would recommend this attraction to anyone, especially those with kids.

Thank D 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 April 30, 2013

Hi D H,

Thank you so much for visiting the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre! We're glad that the draw of coffee led you to Sidney and ultimately through our submarine doors! It thrills us to hear that you were well looked after by our volunteer Oceaneers (they're pretty great!), and that our gift shop was to your liking. As a not-for-profit organization, every purchase made in our shop goes right back to funding our aquarium.

And you are absolutely correct that our facility was built for the purpose of educating the young...at heart. We welcome everyone who would like to know more about our local Salish Sea! It may seem like a place for children because we do have so many that visit us, especially the school groups, but we see ourselves as an aquarium for all ages. We've had great success with our adult programs, like Senior Sessions Thursdays, our behind the scenes tours, and our monthly lecture series. We have something for everyone!

Thank you again for visiting us and for your lovely review. We hope that you'll come for a coffee and a stroll in Sidney again soon!

Sincerely,

All of us here at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre

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