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“very educational”

Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea
Ranked #3 of 26 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 young children, Activities for older children
Lagos, Portugal
Level 6 Contributor
149 reviews
40 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
“very educational”
Reviewed August 25, 2014

The marine life is beautiful. So much to see for all ages and explore. You come out knowing so much more about our wonderful oceans and what is in them then and now.
Great place to spend a few hours.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank yeshiyang
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, August 29, 2014
Hi yeshiyang,

Thank you for visiting the aquarium and for your wonderful review!

We’re glad to hear that you enjoyed exploring all of the incredible flora and fauna of the Salish Sea. We agree that our ocean is home to many fascinating species including the gooseberry jelly whose tiny combs refract light to create a rainbow. How cool is that?!

As a not-for-profit and education-focused facility, we pride ourselves on providing people with an intimate look at parts of our ocean that they would not normally get to see...or touch…and in many cases do both. We feel that allowing people the chance to have an up-close and personal experience with marine life will cause them to advocate for the protection of our oceans and the amazing animals that call it home.

Of course none of this would be possible without our volunteer Oceaneers who dedicate their time to teaching every one of our visitors cool new ocean facts. One of our favourites is about the Giant Pacific Octopus: did you know that they have 3 hearts and can grow to be 21 feet long from arm-tip to arm-tip? Imagine trying to keep track of arms that long!

Thank you again for visiting the aquarium and we hope that you’ll join us soon for some more hands-on ocean exploration!

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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285 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Vancouver
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“The kids and I loved it, but the parents had a bad experience”
Reviewed August 24, 2014

I am a regular visitor the the SODC, and when my family came from Edmonton, I insisted on treating my 4 and 6 year old grand children, we had a wonderful time, and as it was close to closing time, we got to see the afternoon feed, wolf eels , the octopus, rock fish and anemones were very active...my son and his wife joined us when we were almost done, and so we decided to re-enter the facility to show off our favorite beasties, at which point the woman identifying herself as the manager came out and accused the parents of entering the facility without paying, and despite showing our hand stamp she wanted them to produce receipts etc I would normally not make a fuss about this, but it is the second time I have seen this played out by this same staff member, about a year ago...this older woman needs to find something else to do, she has no management, or customer relations skillls,

Visited August 2014
Helpful?
3 Thank bachelorbroad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver
Level 4 Contributor
29 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Quick Attraction”
Reviewed August 18, 2014

Our family loves aquariums- we have gone to the "evil" Sea World and our favourite small aquarium is Monterey Bay in California, our least favourite being the Seattle Aquarium; we go to the Vancouver Aquarium at least once a year. This centre is small and really does just cover the coastal species that you would find off the coast of Sidney. There are no tanks with tropical fish, no otters, birds, frogs, or insects. The highlight is the octopus, if it decided to come out of hiding. There is a row of microscopes to look through to find certain traits of certain creatures (barnacles was one station). At the end, just before the gift shop, there is a large touch pool with anemones and the like.

There was a lot of staff around that were knowledgeable about the creatures in the tanks. There are also talks, feeding shows and story time throughout the day. There was a craft station set up where my daughter made a bookmark. All the information is written in kid friendly language so my daughter was able to read most of the posters herself (she is 7). They apparently offer a few different summer kid programs. There is a guidebook you can buy when you purchase your admission but we didn't.

We were done in about an hour and that included a fifteen minute story time for our daughter. There wasn't anything unique that we hadn't seen before but it was a pleasant way to end our Island trip.

Visited August 2014
Helpful?
Thank temby77
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, August 20, 2014
Hi temby77,

Thank you for visiting the aquarium and for taking the time to write a review!

You’re quite right in pointing out that the focus of our not-for-profit facility is to showcase the amazing flora and fauna of our local ocean. We feel that the thousands of incredible species living right in our backyard are pretty fascinating, so much so that we think they deserve an entire aquarium all to themselves! And in being a “boutique” facility featuring local talent, we are able to give our visitors the chance to have an up-close and personal experience with marine life without the interruption of the back of someone’s head which, as you can probably attest to, is a rare experience at many of the larger facilities. Here in our cozy aquarium, even the tiniest of details, such as the light-refracting combs on a gooseberry can captivate an audience. Take, for example, our gooseberry jellies: their tiny combs refract light to give the impression of a glowing cloud billowing through the air. We could watch those all day. So yes, some may call us “small”, but that really only refers to our square footage (if you consider 10,000 to be a small number). When it comes to the number of animals we showcase in our exhibits (hundreds and hundreds), our team of volunteer Oceaneers who guide and educate visitors (over 150) and our pluck (lots), we’re actually quite large. We also go big on providing hands on opportunities, especially in our touch pool, and never miss an opportunity to show off our appropriately named GIANT pacific octopus. Oh they’re big, alright! And in many, many ways, so are we.

Thank you again for coming in to experience the many things we have to offer. Hopefully you’ll get the chance to come eye to eye with our octopus, Calypso, though she does take the occasional nap (who can blame a girl for needing beauty rest after a big meal?!).

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.
Bellingham, Washington
Level 6 Contributor
101 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
“Nice spot for families...”
Reviewed August 14, 2014

Interactive, fun spot for little ones...lots of touching, Interesting displays, and learning opportunities.

Visited August 2014
Helpful?
Thank terrysherman
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, August 20, 2014
Hi terrysherman,

Thank you for visiting the aquarium and for your lovely review! As a not-for-profit organization, we rely on revenue from admissions to keep our sump pumps pumping and fish food flowing. We speak on our animals’ behalf as well as our own when we say “thank you!”

Our goal is to connect people of all ages to the amazing marine life of the Salish Sea in a fun and educational way. We pride ourselves on allowing visitors the chance to see, not to mention touch, many things that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to. We’re glad to hear that you enjoyed everything we have to offer here, which hopefully included some interaction with one or more of our amazing volunteer Oceaneers. They always have the best tidbits to share. One of our favorites is about barnacles and how they use their feet to eat!

And we have to admit, we love being endorsed as a fun spot for kids…what a compliment!...but we also want people to know that adults love our programming too. People of ALL ages can and do learn something (or many things) new.

Thank you again for visiting the aquarium and we hope that you’ll come back soon for more hands-on ocean exploration!

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.
Level 4 Contributor
39 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Ok. Nice aquarium. Good setup.”
Reviewed July 29, 2014 via mobile

Nice.very good setup. It must be fun with children. It's indeed not a great surface but it was the price worth. I've taken nice pictures. And a nice experience to touch some of the animals. They do a great job over here. 'T is een aanrader. Ook de Sidney omgeving is rustgevend. Ga er onbevangen heen en geniet.

Helpful?
Thank ov59
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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