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Discovery Centre

Set sail for discovery as you explore Ripley's Research Submarine, pop-up exhibits that get closer to clownfish, and enjoy a bite at the Café.

What Will You Discover?

Enjoy a deep-sea dive in an interactive research submarine for a totally different view of Dangerous Lagoon, slip down the shark slide or tackle the rock-climbing wall in the playground, and get acquainted with curious creatures in the Discovery Centre!

Ocellaris Clownfish Ocellaris Clownfish

Ocellaris Clownfish

Adult ocellaris clownfish inhabit coral reefs where they may be found darting among the tentacles of anemones. They have a mucus covering that protects them from anemone tentacles' sting. Often found in small groups, the largest fish is always the female, while the second largest is the breeding male; these are the only two individuals that reproduce within the group.

Size

Up to 4 inches

Range

Indo-Pacific region

Diet

Algae, small crustaceans, zooplankton

Did You Know?

In 1972, Martin A. Moe, Jr., a young marine biologist, successfully bred ocellaris clownfish in captivity. This was a major breakthrough in the field of marine aquaculture, and it paved the way for the commercial breeding of clownfish and dozens of other species. This led to a decline in the wild-caught clownfish trade, which helped protect clownfish populations in the wild. Today, ocellaris clownfish are the most popular saltwater aquarium fish in the world. They are relatively easy to care for, and they are very hardy. They are also relatively inexpensive, thanks to the success of captive breeding.

Red Lionfish Red Lionfish

Red Lionfish

Red lionfish are formidable hunters, engulfing their prey in one lightning-fast strike and swallowed whole. Documented to consume more than 50 species of fish, a lionfish's stomach is as big as their appetite, able to expand up to 30 times its regular size!

Diet

Fish, crustaceans

Venomous

18 venomous spines

Range

Indo-Pacific region

Habitat

Coral and rocky reefs

Did You Know?

Due to either purposeful or accidental human introduction, red lionfish are now an established invasive species in the Western Atlantic and Caribbean Sea. Their huge appetites coupled with a lack of natural predators have created an ecological disaster, devastating native fish populations.

Spotted Scorpionfish Spotted Scorpionfish

Spotted Scorpionfish

These reef-dwelling fish are great at camouflage, using their mottled coloring and texture to sneak up on smaller fish and crustaceans and swallow them whole in one fast gulp. The spotted scorpionfish is the largest scorpionfish species in the Atlantic Ocean. As their name implies, they have venomous dorsal fin spines to defend against predators.

Size

Up to 18 inches

Diet

Fish, crustaceans

Range

Western Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Sea

Did You Know?

Though their body is drab colored to maintain effective camouflage, when swimming, these fish expand their fan-like pectoral fins to reveal a rainbow of bright colors, similar to a butterfly's wing.

Blacktip Reef Shark Blacktip Reef Shark

Blacktip Reef Shark

The blacktip reef shark prefers shallow water coral reefs occupying a small home range where they spend most of their time—typically seen swimming back and forth along reef ledges, making occasional short forays onto sandy flats.

Conservation Status

Vulnerable

Habitat

Coral reefs

Range

Indo-Pacific region

Diet

Fish, cephalopods, crustaceans

Did You Know?

As an apex predator of the coral reef environment, the blacktip reef shark plays a vital ecological role by maintaining a healthy balance on the reef.

Whitespotted Bamboo Shark Whitespotted Bamboo Shark

Whitespotted Bamboo Shark

Whitespotted bamboo sharks can lay motionless on the bottom by using a hole behind their eye, called a spiracle, to pass water over their gills. They usually rest like this during the day in crevices on the reef or under corals, preferring to hunt at night.

Conservation Status

Near Threatened

Range

Indo-Pacific region

Diet

Fish and crustaceans

Did You Know?

Likely as an adaptation for a lack of males in the area, female whitespotted bamboo sharks can reproduce by parthenogenesis, which means offspring are created without a contribution from a male, with the resulting pup being a clone of the mother.

Epaulette Shark Epaulette Shark

Epaulette Shark

Epaulette sharks often forage for food in tidal pools and risk being dry-docked when the water evaporates, but they can survive for over an hour without any oxygen and even “walk” on their fins to escape when stranded above the water.

Conservation Status

Least Concern

Diet

Crustaceans, fish, worms

Range

Southwest Pacific Ocean - coastal Northern Australia and New Guinea

Did You Know?

Though they are capable swimmers, epaulette sharks generally slink around through the reef on their thickly muscled, paddle-shaped pectoral and pelvic fins, bending their body from side to side in a movement that is very similar to the gait of salamanders, an example of convergent evolution.

Ornate Wobbegong Ornate Wobbegong

Ornate Wobbegong

The ornate wobbegong is a primarily nocturnal species, resting by day under reef ledges or in caves, relocating at night when hunting but often returning at dawn to the same resting spot. Wobbegongs are ambush predators that remain motionless while camouflaged against the reef. When an appropriately-sized fish swims in front of its disguised mouth, the wobbegong lunges forward and simultaneously stretches its mouth open. The process sucks water and fish into its mouth, which immediately snaps shut again, trapping its prey with needle-like teeth.

Conservation Status

Least Concern

Range

Southwest Pacific Ocean - coastal Australia and New Guinea

Did You Know?

The ornate wobbegong is a master of camouflage. Not only is its color and texture perfect for blending into the reef environment, but its head also helps it blend in because it is covered in fleshy fronds and barbels.

Zebra Shark Zebra Shark

Zebra Shark

The zebra shark is a beautiful species often seen lazily resting on the bottom under ledges of the reef during the day, preferring to forage the reef at night by sucking up prey with powerful jaw muscles.

Conservation Status

Endangered

Range

Indo-Pacific region

Diet

Fish, crustaceans mollusks

Did You Know?

When zebra sharks are young, their bodies are dark with yellowish stripes. As they grow, their stripes begin to transform into small, dark spots.

Whitetip Reef Shark Whitetip Reef Shark

Whitetip Reef Shark

The whitetip reef shark may be found resting in caves or under ledges during the day, sometimes even stacked up in piles with other whitetips! At night, this shark is a very active predator, rooting out small fish and other prey items hiding in the reef.

Conservation Status

Vulnerable

Habitat

Coral or rocky reefs

Diet

Fish, cephalopods, crustaceans, mollusks

Range

Eastern Pacific Ocean and Indo-Pacific region

Did You Know?

Contrary to popular belief, not all sharks need to stay moving to survive. Whitetip reef sharks take gulps of water in their mouth and force it out though the gills. This process, called “buccal pumping” is used by some shark species to allow them to continue to respirate while at rest.

What's Inside

Exhibits Nearby

Canadian Waters

Embark on a coast-to-coast journey through freshwater wilds, local fisheries, and kelp forests, meeting more than 80 aquatic species, like sturgeon and the giant Pacific octopus, along the way!

Swirling Pinstripe backdrop

Woah! The Aquarium sounds like alotl fun! But what are you doing all the way down here with the axolotls – some of the most secretive salamanders in the world?!

Did you know out of more than 800 salamander species that exist, only about 22 can be found in Canada?