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“Mixed Reviwe”

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 young children, Activities for older children
Reviewed 22 February 2014

Why a mixed review - the specimens are cool, well displayed and seem well taken care of.... but... its so small for the cost. After looking on the website we were expecting at least one talk/activity while we there given that it was a Saturday. But there was a birthday party starting when we arrived so only they could do activities. The sinage is not that informative and the volunteer (we got the impression everyone was a volunteer) in the main area had no interest in talking to us. The touch pool is great but once again the volunteer could not even answer our questions about some of the creatures in the pool. Just as we were leaving the lady in the gift shop heard our octapus comment and she was great. She told us were to go back and see the sleeping octopus and gave us tones of information. We learned more in that five minutes then the rest of our visit. If only the others had been that informative. I had chilfren 10, 9, 8, 3 with us and could not have spent much more than hour there. The kids did love it so if you can stomach $108 for 1 hour of not-so-educational fun (4 adults, 4 children) then its well worth the visit

2  Thank YukonSarah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (291)
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170 - 174 of 291 reviews

Reviewed 22 January 2014

This is actually a really cool aquarium for kids. My girls are 10 and they thoroughly enjoyed it. There was an older gentleman who talked to us while we were looking in the tanks and he had lots of interesting facts for my girls and made the experience even more enjoyable. It was a quieter day though, so you may not get that service all the time. The touch tank provided some "hands on" time for the girls. Gift shop at the end was pleasant, had some nice unique items at pretty reasonable prices. It was such a good experience that the girls went for a week to the Salish Sea Camp in the summer, it was a highlight of the summer for sure!

Thank mum2twingrls
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 reviewResponded 29 April 2014

Hi mum2twingrls,

Thank you so much for bringing your daughters to the aquarium! It sounds like you truly enjoyed everything that we have to offer, including the expertise of our volunteer Oceaneers.

While it's true that our footprint is more petite than extra-wide husky, our size is actually by design. We see ourselves as a "boutique" aquarium, one that showcases hundreds of marine animals in well maintained exhibit spaces and has a coziness that allows Oceaneers to engage with each visitor. We like to meet everyone!

And can we just say how thrilled we are that your girls joined us for Salish Sea School?! It sounds like they're already on the fast track to a fascinating life of ocean adventure, stewardship, and possibly a career in marine science? We'll try to hold Aquarist positions open for them when the time comes...as long as they don't mind hanging upside down in exhibits to position rocks just so. And they'll need gum boots...

Thank you again, and we hope to see you and the twins in the aquarium and on the beach again soon!

Sincerely,

Everyone at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre

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Reviewed 9 January 2014

Nice place, but not much to see. The ocean is full of wonderful fishes and animals, and we could have much more to see.

1  Thank Pascale L
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 reviewResponded 25 February 2014

Hi Pascale L,

Thank you for visiting the aquarium! Even though you found your experience to be "poor", we're still glad you came to check us out.

Since you bring it up, we'd like to address your concern that there wasn't much to see. "Not much" is a relative term, as my high school physics teacher would always say, so maybe a comparison is in order. Yes, we would have to agree that compared to what you could see if you travelled to the bottom of the ocean, what we showcase is only a fragment of what you would discover. To be able to show you EVERYTHING the ocean has to offer, we would need a submersible vehicle, a very powerful headlamp, and some snacks (because exploring the entire ocean would take awhile and blood sugar is NOT something to mess with). Unfortunately we don’t have those resources (we’re a not-for-profit facility after all) so what our aquarium does instead is it displays a cross section of fish and invertebrates that represent SOME of the fascinating species that reside in our local waters, and we do it in a way that is as natural and healthy as possible for the animals.

So what we are is more of a “boutique aquarium”, one that encourages guests to look at the intricacies of the ecosystem that make the ocean so unique. Even the tiniest movement of a barnacle waving its “arms” to eat has a fascinating story, one that we wish we could have shared with you while you were here. If we had, we're 99.9% sure you would have seen and learned more than you ever thought you could in a 10,000 square foot space (not including if that space was at the bottom of the ocean, of course). If our Oceaneers weren’t able to help you along the way describing these fascinating details while you were here, we apologize.

Thank you again for your visit, we do really appreciate that you came by. We hope that you’ll give us another chance to prove that the hundreds of animals living in our exhibits really are something to see. Or you could start looking into that submersible vehicle thing. A submarine would probably work as well… Let us know what you find out.

Sincerely,

Everyone at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre

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Reviewed 7 January 2014

Wonderful to see what is in the ocean right in front of you. Hoping kids will see the displays and appreciate how important it is to protect our oceans.

Thank Susan J
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 reviewResponded 29 April 2014

Hi Susan J,

Thank you for visiting the aquarium! You've definitely hit the barnacle on the rock with your explanation of what we do... Our goal as a not-for-profit facility is to connect people of all ages with the ocean that surrounds and defines our region in the hopes that an appreciate for sea life will translate into marine stewardship in the future. Whew, that's a mouthful. Oh, and goal number two: have fun! You so totally "get" us.

We hope you come back from more education AND fun very soon!

Sincerely,

Everyone at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre

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Reviewed 29 November 2013

This is a wonderful experience for everyone in the whole family. Fascinating to learn so much in a visually stunning and entertaining display.

Thank marjedan
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 reviewResponded 29 April 2014

Hi Marjedan,

Thank you so much for visiting us, and for your glowing review! We especially like that you endorsed the aquarium as a good place for the WHOLE family...we find that adults learn just as much, if not more, than kids!

We hope that you come back to visit 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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