Toronto Sea Life: Ripley's Aquarium
It's called Ripley's Aquarium of Canada (as opposed to Ripley's Aquarium of Toronto which would follow the format for their US locations), which is not helping the general notion down south that there's nothing in Canada but a few things. (Hey you're from Canada? Do you know Dave from Canada?) I guess they don't plan to open any other locations in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal....
Odd naming choices aside, Ripley's Aquarium - as in Ripley's Believe it or Not That's the Ticket Price (ok rant is really over now, my holiday from blogging has made me come back with some pent-up feistiness) is a pretty cool place. Located in the CN Tower complex, it's a very busy attraction, especially at the height of summer for tourists and locals alike, so plan for that if you go. What impressed me were some particularly beautiful displays, such as the stunning anemones whose tank was so pretty and serene in its colourful and varied arrangement it appeared to have been styled, as well as the jellyfish which pulsated and plunged to a succession of changing lights in bright hues which coloured their translucent bodies. And I saw some things I didn't know existed, such as a bright blue lobster (which unfortunately just would not photograph clearly for some reason), and one of the coolest things I've ever seen, a Sea Dragon, part of the Syngnathidae family which also includes seahorses. They float as if in a state of suspended animation. I wonder what they're thinking. If anything.
Here's a tour from the outside in starting with the CN Tower, the tallest free-standing structure in the western hemisphere at 553.33 metres (which I've never been up because I'm scared crapless of heights and that's never, ever going to change):
(Get your scrolling finger warmed up, there's a ton of fishy photos and they get better as it goes along)
Sea Dragons (so cool)
This picturesque tank marks the entrance of a sea tunnel which you are taken through on a conveyor (and probably will wander off it to get better pictures of the other side of the tank, but nobody is there to chastise you)
Inside the Tunnel
This is the kind of jellyfish (below) I see washed up on the beach where I live by the North Sea, in the hundreds. It's not often but it's a scene I've come across many times, both sad and beautiful. From what I've read, it seems high winds bring in the jellyfish from warmer waters and high tides deliver them to their final resting place. The biggest I've seen is a little bigger than your head and I've seen them as small as a 10p coin. Poor little things. The seagulls get the little crabs early in the morning and leave their legs scattered all over, but they will not touch these guys. They're not good eatin' I guess, maybe poisonous. Though the aquarium tanks have the coloured lights, the four rings in the centre of these jellyfish's bodies are coloured exactly as they appear - almost a neon purple against a mostly opaque, white, firm gelatenous body when out of the water. These ones don't have tentacles, I've never seen any and even turned one over to investigate; their bodies are very streamlined, like jelly disks.
Finally, before being dumped into the gift shop on the way out, we saw the area with the tanks that regulate the delicate balance needed to sustain the various species living in the aquarium. They've made the tanks look pretty cool:
And CN Tower (which I never realised gives a light show at night)
Photos © The Swelle Life