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“Over-priced”

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
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Over-priced”
Reviewed 7 October 2013 via mobile

This is a very small aquarium, and as such, should not be so over-priced. It is over almost as soon as it has begun. The staff was mildly interested in the guests, and even then, only grudgingly. The gift shop staff seemed more interested in the view outside than the customers inside.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Kreenish
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, 14 January 2014
Hi Kreenish,

Thank you for stopping by the aquarium, though it sounds like you had a less than stellar time. We usually get rave reviews on how engaged and helpful our Oceaneers are in guiding guests through the Centre...I hope you'll come back and give us another chance to impress!

As for the cost, we're a not-for-profit education facility and as such, our admission prices are set as low as humanly (or fishily?) possible in order to maintain the quality of our facility, keep the lights on, and (most importantly) feed and care for our animals! Compared to the cost of a movie, we're quite competitive, the money goes to our educational programming (some may argue it's a "good cause") AND you can learn something neat about the ocean. Not many films can boast such a result...all you get from movie theatres are butter stains on your pants. Not an issue here! We also have a great Annual Pass option that many people take us up on...it pays for itself in two visits! Easily done if you consider how often it rains here, and especially if you attend more than one of our lectures a year (free w/ an Annual Pass).

We hope you'll try us again and see that our Oceaneers are keen and ready to help!

Thank you!

Sincerely,

Everyone at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre (including the one who was looking out the window...we're certain he/she is sorry)
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282 reviews from our community

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English first
Level 5 Contributor
83 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Only go if you have kids”
Reviewed 15 September 2013 via mobile

Small but the octopus was awesome. Great for younger kids with lots of hands on stuff. Not really an adult thing. Would have got a two except the octopus was really neat.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank Lisa G
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, 14 January 2014
Hi Lisa G.,

Thank you so much for visiting the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre! We're thrilled that you came by for a visit and enjoyed your time spent with Mo, the Giant Pacific Octopus. As a not-for-profit aquarium and marine education facility, every person who pays admission supports us in offering a first hand and educational look of the Salish Sea...so thank you for that as well!

As for the aquarium only being good for kids, we'll have to agree to disagree with you there. We hear more squeals (of delight...always of delight!) coming from the touch pool area when there's a group of adults touching urchin and sculpins than when there are kids. We also have great opportunities for adult education, like our weekly Senior Sessions program that takes place every Thursday. You're never too old or too young to learn about the Salish Sea! Our volunteer Oceaneers are also standing by to answer questions and tell our visitors stories about the animals in our exhibits. Adults tell us that they love getting in depth and up close, taking their time to look at all of the intricacies of the ecosystem at work. The kids? Well, they're usually running from exhibit to exhibit counting sea stars and "wow-ing" over jellies and wolf eels. Either way, everyone's getting what they need out of the visit.

Thank you again for coming by and introducing yourself to our octopus! We hope you'll come by for a more "adult" experience next time. Um, that actually sounds a little X-rated, not our intent. You know what we mean.

Thanks again!

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
1 review
“Educational & Great Fun”
Reviewed 5 September 2013 via mobile

Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre gives value to your experience with learning about the sea a priority that goes hand in hand with fun for the whole family!

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank SidneyHotel
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, 20 September 2013
Well hello there SidneyHotel,

Thank you so much for your wonderful review! You've been a such a great supporter of the aquarium in so many ways, we appreciate you taking the time to put your comments down in writing as well!

We think that one of the best things about being in Sidney is being surrounded by world-class businesses run by wonderful people who support one another. We're one lucky town. Here at the aquarium, our volunteers and staff members work very hard to provide the highest caliber experience possible...something that we hope makes our fellow Sidney-ites proud...so, it's nice to hear from a neighbor that they believe we're accomplishing that.

We'd like to also thank you for summing up perfectly what we offer our visitors: educational fun. Or is it fun education? Either way, that's our purpose; to amaze, to excite, and to teach visitors about the amazing and diverse ocean we have in our own backyard. The creatures you find when you take a close look at our exhibits (or when an Oceaneer points them out to you!) are remarkable. We feel honored to be THE place on Vancouver Island that people come to see the...sea (had to do it).

Thank you again SidneyHotel! I'm sure we'll be sea-ing you again soon (had to do that one too).

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
Portland, OR
Level 4 Contributor
48 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Worth the money”
Reviewed 3 September 2013

This could be considered a "boutique" aquarium based on it's size and quality. It is lots of fun for kids and adults. The displays are beautifully maintained and the sea creatures are all wonderful. Don's miss the octopus released and replaced every few months) and the touching pool. All considered, it is a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours!!

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank catladyPortland_OR
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, 16 September 2013
Hi catladyPortland_OR,

Thank you so much for visiting us here at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre! Even though your name is 'cat lady', we would argue that, based on your fantastic review, 'fish lady' might be a more accurate title. Maybe 'catfish lady'? Well, we'll leave it up to you.

And not only would we like to thank you for visiting the aquarium and for your glowing review, we'd also like to acknowledge your awesome use of the word "boutique" when describing us. What a perfect summation! Our not-for-profit facility DOES have a boutique feel, what with our intimate size and engaged volunteers. We'll definitely be using that word to describe ourselves in the future. It's a gem!

Thank you again for your support of the aquarium...'catfish lady'! We hope the next time you come to the Island for a visit, you'll stop by and see us again!

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
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
1 review
“Great spot for kids”
Reviewed 2 September 2013

This place is really ideally set up for folks who live around here and can go more than once. Activities and features that change fairly regularly, and an annual pass that pays for itself after 2 visits make it the perfect spot to take your kids. You can breeze through it quickly, but if you stop, engage with the staff and read everything there is and learn a few things, the time will fly.

Both of my kids love it there.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank Justin 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 review, 16 September 2013
Hi Justin H,

Thank you so much for visiting the aquarium and for your fantastic review! It sounds like you have us figured out very well, which means you're likely a 'regular'...one of our favorite types of visitors! As a not-for-profit organization, your support means the world (I mean, the ocean) to us. Thank you!

And we're ecstatic that your kids love the aquarium. In fact, we love that your kids love it and would love to see them loving it again soon! Engaging young minds and introducing them to the wonders of the ocean's ecosystem is one of the most important things we do here.

Since you're a regular, I guess this isn't 'Good bye' so much as 'See you 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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