To the likes of the Toronto Zoo, CN Tower, Hockey Hall of Fame, Niagara Falls, and Casa Loma, Ontario has added another two major tourist attractions this year: Legoland Discovery Centre and Ripley’s Aquarium. It’s a double header that educates and awes, and on a scale that causes me to suffer from more than a little bit of West Coast green-eyed envy.
Legoland Discovery Park (legolanddiscoverycentre.ca/toronto) | Those brightly coloured blocks of my youth bring back great memories. I wasn’t the most imaginative builder, but it still gave me a sense of accomplishment to have assembled forms that approximated dogs, cars or horses. Of course (and in my defense), I never had access to the “special edition” Lego sets, either. In March 2013, Vaughan Mills became the new home of North America’s latest Legoland Discovery Park. Experience life size and larger-than-lifesize sculptures of Toronto landmarks (like the CN Tower) in MINILAND, a 4D cinema, a Master Builder Academy, fun and educational 2-hour and 3-hour indoor experiences specifically designed for families with budding architects and modelers 3-12 years old, and much more in this 34,000 square foot indoor attraction. Note: it’s not enough to be young at heart: adults must be accompanied by children. One day of the month is set aside for adults only.
Ripley’s Aquariums of Canada (ripleyaquariums.com) | On October 16, downtown Toronto unveiled the first Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, which is home to 13,500 different species of sea creatures in both marine and freshwater habitats from the world. To accomplish this, the 135,000 square foot aquarium holds a staggering 5.7 million litres of water (just imagine how thick the glass needs to be with the pressure on it). Get up close and personal with the denizens of the deep in the 315 ft-long Dangerous Lagoon underwater adventure, which offers 180-degree wraparound views on a movator (moving sidewalk). Planet Jellies offers colour-changing views (set to the tune of symphonic music) of five varieties of jellyfish. With a bespoke architecture that mimics a gradually unfolding seashell, this world-class attraction is designed to be open all year long and attract visitors from all over the world. You’ll find the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada situated at the base of the CN Tower, beside Rogers Centre, and accessible by the SkyWalk.
- Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada Opens in Toronto, October 16, 2013 (citynews.ca)
- A First Look at Legoland Toronto (torontoist.com)