Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada in Toronto has an evening program called Sharks After Dark where after 7pm, you pay a discounted fee to wander the facilities after dark. There’s few kids after 7pm and the staff play soft classical music in the background to enhance the experience.

The aquarium focuses on fish; there are no mammals, amphibians, reptiles (beyond one turtle), or birds in the facility (that I could find) and the building is filled with mostly water. When you first enter, it looks like a vast ocean. It’s only when you go down a level and walk under the tanks via tunnels (as you can see from the photos) that you are able to see the creatures in their created ecosystem. The experience is about you entering their world and not about looking at fish in tanks (though there are some tanks for jellies).

All the water makes it an incredibly relaxing place to be after dark.

Sharks and rays are the biggest creatures… the sharks still have their teeth (in all their scary glory). I really enjoyed watching these sharks as they gracefully swam over the tunnels.

I do get a lot of grief whenever I mention visiting an aquarium. My sojourn to Ripley’s Aquarium was no exception. In fact, before heading over, I heard endless diatribes about how aquariums are evil. But, I struggle with the right and wrong here.

We could send these creatures out into the wild… into polluted, overfished, toxic waters where they will eventually become sushi, extinct, or die in some tragic way that gets shared millions of times on Facebook. Or they could live in an aquarium and be a part of a larger conservation effort that benefits oceans in the future.

I really enjoyed the experience and would personally love to try the aquarium’s morning yoga classes (Spring).