Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada officially opened its doors on Wednesday, October 16, 2013 after several weeks of delays. Ripley’s CEO Jim Pattison and Mayor Rob Ford were on hand for the opening ceremony. The town has high hopes that the aquarium will help stimulate the local economy and draw in new tourists. Located next to the CN Tower, the new attraction is estimated to draw in two million visitors each year.
The $130 million project took nearly two years to construct. The costs for this downtown Toronto attraction were split among Ripley’s, the Ontario government and Canada Lands Company. Although the price tag may seem a bit steep, but the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is not your average aquarium.
This 12,500 square meter facility is now home to more than 15,000 aquatic animals with more than 450 different species of freshwater and marine habitat animals from around the world.
More than 50 tanks and six million litres of water are needed to house all of the aquarium’s animals, which include sharks and sea turtles among many others. Ripley’s has employed more than 20 aquarists and marine biologists to look after the animals.
Guests of the aquarium can also view live shows and animal encounters during their stay. For an additional fee, visitors can take a behind the scenes tour of the facility, or participate in an Overnight Reef Adventure where they sleep beneath the aquarium’s famous shark tunnel.
Costs to maintain this large-scale aquarium are still under speculation, but Ripley’s estimates the attraction will generate more than $50 million in revenue and create nearly 600 jobs. This is welcomed news for the town's struggling economy. Admission prices are $29.98 for adults, $19.98 for kids aged 6-13, and $9.98 for children under 5.
While ticket prices may seem higher than average, more than 10,000 tickets had been sold online before opening day. This is a clear sign that families are looking for quality entertainment, and they are willing to pay top dollar for it.
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