Ripley’s Aquarium

I absolutely LOVE going to aquariums.

I turn into this –


even if I am feeling like this.


I was pretty excited when Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada opened in Toronto in October of 2013.

It has been subject to a considerable amount of controversy, from concerns about its architectural merit (see ) to questions about whether aquariums are ethical.  More on that point from the Aquarium’s Wikipedia entry:

“Ripley’s Aquarium has been the target of animal liberation groups such as TARA (Toronto Aquarium Resistance) and MAD (Marineland Animal Defence) who claim that animal captivity is synonymous with animal abuse. Ongoing protests and demonstrations at the facility continue to expose the harm done to marine animals who are confined on the premises. Approximately 70% of Marine life die within the first year of captivity and the captive animals are not able to engage in natural behaviors while at the same time suffering from injuries and infection. It has also been stated that no educational value can be received from viewing captive animals, as they become psychologically ill during confinement and do not behave the same as they would if in the wild, thus actually resulting in negative education. Prominent animal conservationist Bob Timmons has also publically spoken out against Ripley Aquarium’s capture of endangered tiger sharks.” (source:’s_Aquarium_of_Canada)

Apparently the aquarium DID capture wild sand tiger sharks from the coast of South Carolina for use in its exhibits.(

Here is the aquarium’s walk-through aquatic tunnel exhibit (which houses the sand tiger sharks)





and one of the sharks in question:


I am not against zoos or aquariums, but I do not condone the capture of wild animals for use in zoos and/or aquariums. Captive bred animals and/or animals who were rescued/rehabilitated and cannot be returned to the wild are the only animals who should be living in zoos/aquariums. This is the reason I had mixed feelings about Ripley’s new tourist attraction.

I acquiesced by telling myself that it was ONLY the sand tiger sharks who had been captured from the wild out of the 16 000 animals currently living there.

What do you think about the ethics of zoos and aquariums – generally speaking?

Here are some photos of other animals currently living at the aquarium.

Angel shark.




Beautiful but poisonous lionfish (see


One of the strangest animals in the aquarium: the sawfish. Also known as the saw-nosed shark, the carpenter shark (a name by which it is also known) is actually a type of ray (see


This is a blotched catshark and it is bioluminescent (which means it can create and emit its own light). See for more information on this fantastic creature.


Some of the animals’ living spaces at the aquarium are enormous.  Here is a section of the aquatic tunnel, which has more than 5.7 million litres of water in it.





My favourite part of the aquarium was interacting with the stingrays. They actually seemed to enjoy being touched and petted. They have a large pool with a shallow end and a deep end, so they can easily escape into the deep water if they don’t want to be bothered. Here they are being hand-fed by a staff member.



I must admit that I am a little jealous of her job!

Here is some more human – aquatic life interaction. This staff member made sure that every fish got a fair share of the food. No easy task!



Here is an enormously tall kelp forest…



….and some grouchy-looking fellows.


Moon jellyfish don’t have brains, so they can’t be grouchy.


Overall, I found the aquarium to be enjoyable and worth a visit….although it is recommended NOT to go on a weekend.  That’s when it gets extremely noisy and crowded.

Here is the aquarium’s official website:

Stay tuned!