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“Fantastic small aquarium of the Salish 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
Sidney, Canada
Level Contributor
11 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Fantastic small aquarium of the Salish Sea.”
Reviewed April 16, 2014

Although small this is a new state of the art aquarium with a focus on education about the Salish Sea.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank Greg 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 review, May 29, 2014
Hi Greg F,

Thank you for visiting our aquarium! We’re glad you enjoyed your time here. We like to think of ourselves as a boutique aquarium, one that showcases hundreds of marine animals in a cozy environment that allows for tons of close-up interaction with all of the habitats. And thank you for referring to us as “a new state of the art aquarium”; it makes us feel very posh.

And you’re absolutely right, our focus is completely on the sea life that inhabits our local ocean, the Salish Sea.. Our goal as a not-for-profit facility is to connect with people of all ages with their ocean in hopes that their appreciation for aquatic life will transform into marine stewardship in the future.

Thank you again for visiting us here at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre! We hope that you will 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.
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278 reviews from our community

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English first
Sidney, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
“Small but excellent”
Reviewed April 15, 2014

This facility focusses on the sea life found in the adjacent Salish Sea, upon whose shores it is located. There is an amazing variety of things to see - sea jellies, octopus, sea anenomes, and of course, fish - exhibited in a natural setting.

The entrance is particularly fun for children, who are tricked into feeling that they have taken an elevator into the sea. Children (and adults) also enjoy the touch pools where they can touch various sea critters.

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
Thank GarnetB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sidney, Canada
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Great Ocean Resource”
Reviewed April 15, 2014

The Ocean Discovery Center is a wonderful surprise located in Sidney. Beautiful displays of sea life of the Salish Seas. Fun for adults and children. Amazing educational center with microscopic displays and a hands-on display. Well worth a visit.

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
Thank Allbay
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, May 16, 2014
Hello Allbay,

Thank you so much for making the trip out to visit the aquarium and for your wonderful review!

We are delighted to hear that you think of us as a wonderful little surprise! We are a more intimate aquarium but the best things always come in small packages, right?

Our not-for-profit aquarium was built with the purpose of showcasing the amazing flora and fauna that resides in the Salish Sea, and we are ecstatic to hear that you enjoyed exploring them! Not only that, but being an educational facility we try our very best to teach every visitor cool new ocean facts that they can share with their friends and family. It’s great candor for dinner parties! You’ll sound so smart.

Thank you again for coming to visit us and we hope you come back soon and enjoy the microscopes and touch pool again! (and hopefully learn yet another cool fact to regale people with).

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.
Sidney, Canada
Level Contributor
19 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Small but excellent”
Reviewed April 15, 2014

Compact interpretive centre located seaside in Sidney, has good collection and lots of opportunities to see ... and feel ... local salt water specimens. Very knowledgeable docents. Highly recommend for families.

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
Thank PAPALANI
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, May 29, 2014
Hi PAPALANI,

Thank you for coming to the aquarium and for your brilliant review! Being a not-for-profit aquarium, we appreciate you taking the time to visit us, as we rely greatly on the revenue from admissions to keep our operations afloat (so to speak).

We’re glad you were able to meet, greet and learn about all of the amazing local animals that reside in our many habitats (we’re sure they were happy to meet you too!). Hopefully you were able to shake hands with one of our sea stars in the touch pool while you were here?

And we just love to hear that our volunteer Oceaneers were able to share their knowledge with you. They willingly dedicate their time to making sure visitors of all ages have a fun and fact-filled experience while exploring our aquarium being that they’re pretty fun and fact-filled themselves!

Thank you again for coming to visit us, and we shore (ha!) hope to sea you again 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.
Victoria, Canada
Level Contributor
124 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
“Educational”
Reviewed March 12, 2014

Sure this isn't the biggest or most varied aquarium, but I'd venture to say this was the most educational. The volunteers were able to answer every question we threw at them, the displays are exceptionally well labelled with plenty of information about sustainability and environmental issues and what practical things we can do about them. Further, everything featured here is from the Salish Sea and areas surrounding the island. There's truly something to be said for learning about the ocean waters in our own area. The end of the museum features a touch pool in a windowed room, you can touch sea urchins and starfish while looking our at the ocean.
Pay parking is available behind the building, easy walking from nearly anywhere in Sidney. If you plan on going more than once, the yearly membership cost is cheaper than going twice at the individual cost. Accessible for stroller & wheelchairs.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank JTF1911
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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