Explore an Underwater Paradise at Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre

Sight Seeing

Guest Blog:

If you are planning for some fun family vacations around Sidney, Vancouver Island, you might want to add the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre on your itinerary. I have personally checked out the place, and found it highly entertaining and educational, a perfect destination especially if you have kids in tow.

The Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre is located right on the magnificent Sidney waterfront, easily across from the downtown area. Featuring massive underwater habitats, visitors get an unhampered view of the extraordinary marine life of the Salish Sea of Gulf Island, from the smallest plankton to the gigantic Pacific octopus. Children are sure to have a field day ogling the different colorful creatures they have not seen before.

A Great Venue for Special Events

During my visit, I found out that the centre does not only host educational excursions, which it was primarily famous for. It can also cater to corporate meetings as well as cocktail parties. It presents a unique venue that can easily turn a simple event into a highly memorable one for your guests.

I could only imagine how their galleries and exhibits can provide a stunning backdrop for a wedding. That’s a great possibility, you also want to explore or consider. The facility can easily accommodate up to 300 people comfortably.

The facility is not that large and the tour usually takes about 45 minutes to an hour to complete. This makes it an ideal side trip if you have a number of other destinations lined up. They also offer some hands-on exhibits attended by well-trained guides to provide more fascinating information about what you are looking at.

When visiting, don’t forget to check out their touch tank. It’s basically an area where attendants lift up a sea cucumber or a starfish or other marine creatures so you can personally touch it. A lot of kids and even grown ups enjoy that experience. If you are near the Sidney area, or you plan to visit often, they offer an Annual Pass, so you have a perfect excuse to return. Check out their rates below:


Regular Rates


Youth (7 to 17)                                                                    $8.00

Child (3 to 6)                                                                       $4.00 (comes with Free Annual Pass)

Toddlers (2 and under)                                                       Free Admission

Annual Pass

Adults                                                                                  Admission Rate + $12.00

Youth                                                                                  Admission Rate + $10.00

Contact Details

Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre

9811 Seaport Place

Sidney, Vancouver Island, BC

V8L 4X3

Phone: 250.665.7511

Fax: 778.426.0715

Email: info@oceandiscovery.ca

Hours of Operation: Daily from 10:00AM to 4:00PM

Closed on December 24 and 25, and January 1.

Getting to Sidney

Sidney is situated about 25 KM (15.5 miles) north of Victoria. It is easily accessible to BC Ferry Terminal and Victoria Internal Airport.

By Land

  • Pacific Coach Lines
  • BC Transit

By Sea

  • BC Ferries
  • Victoria/Port Angeles Ferry
  • Victoria/Seattle Ferry
  • Sidney/Anacortes Ferry

By Air

  • Helijet Airways
  • Victoria International Airport
  • Harbour Air
  • Pat Bay Air Seaplanes

Republished under Creative Commons License from West Coast Aquatic Safaris, an acclaimed Bear Watching, Whale Watching, Hot Springs Cove Tour Co & Marine Charter Co in Tofino, BC on the famed west coast of Vancouver Island. Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor.

Touch tanks. Image credit: Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre

Publisher of Amazing Vancouver Island. Doug grew up in Kamloops and Vancouver. He is also the President of KIAI Angency, an Internet Marketing and Branding agency in Vancouver. He is an avid photographer and you can see his many pix of Vancouver Island on Flickr.

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