Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre

Beautiful jelly fish at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre - don't get stung

We heard about the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre in Sidney (between Victoria and Swart Bay) on Vancouver Island and wanted to check out the beautiful Salish Sea marine life without putting on our drysuit.

So I took my son and nieces for a drive out to Sidney one day and shared my love of British Columbia marine life with them.

The Ocean Discovery Centre was on the ground floor of a fairly new building on the waterfront, and there was a small parking lot next door.

Given its popularity, you may need to park nearby and walk to the Centre.

Can you locate the wolf eel in the picture below. There are actually a pair of young wolf eels in this tank.

There used to be a larger wolf eel but he was traded to the Vancouver Aquarium in exchange for a number of baby wolf eels which are located in a nearby tank.

Salish Sea marine life (photo by Laura Kennell)

Once you 'descend' in the elevator, you walk out into an area full of displays, tanks of various sizes full of unique and colorful British Columbia marine life, information cards, and one of those interactive aquariums where the kids can 'pop-up' in the middle of the sea life.

The area is nowhere near as big as the Stanley Park aquarium, but it is also less overwhelming.

The tanks are full of life, with many critters hiding (like Ruby the Octopus) and just waiting to be discovered. And whenever you think you've seen it all, a friendly and informative staff member comes over to ensure you haven't missed anything.

Orca skull at the Ocean Discovery Centre

In addition to moving pictures on the floor, there are displays to look at such as a tank full of baby wolf eels, and items that you can gently touch, such as this Killer Whale (Orca) skull on the left.

Once you walk through the Centre, you will come to a room at the rear of the building that has a large interactive touch tank, where you can view the marine life from above and from windows below.

You can also gently touch some of the life under the watchful eye of the friendly staff who will explain all the various marine life to you.

Touch tank at the Shaw Discovery Centre

Overall, we had an enjoyable time and recommend the Ocean Discover Centre to locals and visitors who wish to see how much incredible and unique marine life our oceans contain.

The Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre is especially great for young kids who can enjoy the sites while learning about the waters that surround us.

Once you have visited, you will want to sign up for scuba diving lessons so you can experience this amazing new world for yourself.

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Ocean Discovery Centre Information


Connect people with the oceans’ ecosystem through engagement, education and awareness.

Operate as the friendly face of science by offering relevant programming and championing eco- partnerships.


Be a champion for the Salish Sea and inspire all generations to explore, respect, and take action on behalf of the world’s oceans.


The New Marine Centre Society operates in an environmentally, socially, and fiscally responsible manner.

Their relationships with public, students, staff and volunteers are underpinned by the principles of trust, integrity, honesty and transparency.

Committed to best practices in the care of our marine life.

The Centre operates as a not-for-profit community facility that is self-supporting through admission fees, grants and donations.

Visit the Ocean Discovery Centre website

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