Toronto’s New Aquarium

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1399383729490A few days ago, we went to visit the newly opened Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto, just next to the CN tower. Having seen aquariums (should this be aquaria?) in other places, I was expecting more of the same and I didn’t think any aquarium could come close to the one in Monterey, California so it was a surprise to find that our Toronto aquarium is actually quite spectacular.

1399384079972It includes a tropical reef lagoon, an exhibit of cold-water fish from the Great Lakes, a ray bay, a shark tank, a jellyfish tank and many other habitats. I’m calling these tanks for want of a better word but they are so huge that you can’t see the boundaries for most of them.

There is a 300 ft moving walkway through an acrylic tunnel deep below the 750,000-gallon Shark Lagoon, a habitat occupied by 10 –12 ft sand tiger sharks, largetooth sawfish and dozens of other species.

1399385716028 You can step on and off the walkway if you want to spend more time looking at something specific. In the tunnel, you are surrounded by water with fish swimming beside and above you. You really feel as if you are underwater.

There are supposedly around 13,500 exotic sea and freshwater creatures, comprising more than 450 species.

1399386209587The jellyfish tanks were spectacular. Jellyfish are transparent but turn a deep orange if exposed to uv light. There were pulses of uv light so that you could watch the jellyfish changing colour.

I found it interesting as to how to identify the gender of jellyfish. If you look closely, you will notice 4 little rings in the jellyfish ‘cup’. These are the gonads, pink in the females and white in the males.1399383922095

The sea horses were just gorgeous and there were different types including a spiny one that looked just like an aquatic plant.1399386552919

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What was really interesting was to get a glimpse of the ‘guts’ of the aquarium. There  was a room full of large tanks supplying water at different temperatures. I had never thought about the amount of engineering that is required to run an aquarium but it’s obvious when you think about it.1399386414815

I was mesmerized and could have spent hours just watching the sharks swimming around and th jellyfish changing colour. My photos do not do justice to the aquarium.

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