This past weekend, my family took me to Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada here in Toronto to celebrate my birthday. It opened about 14 months ago, but we wanted to wait for the notorious crowds to thin out before visiting (they hadn’t).
I also wasn’t in a hurry to go there as I’ve been to aquariums in Monterey, Vancouver, Chicago, Epcot Centre, Maui, and others and thought that they couldn’t do a particularly inspiring job in the small space it has at the foot of the CN Tower.
I also thought it was absurd to have an aquarium in a place that is not on the sea and is not known for its spectacular marine life in our lakes and rivers.
I was wrong on both points. The aquarium begins by actually making Ontario’s aquatic life quite interesting as well as the rest Canada’s marine life. The aquarium is much larger than it seems on the outside and has some spectacular displays – particularly the long underwater tunnel through shark-infested waters and trippy jellyfish displays. Read the review Hypnotism by sea creatures a serious risk at new Ripley’s aquarium for a full tour.
It all ended with a special treat for me – ample postcards:
Jellyfish illuminated in psychedelic displays
The text accompanying the piranha tanks disappointingly explains they don’t actually eat people
Ripley’s aquarium is the only place in Ontario where you’ll see fish this pretty
They had around 8 different postcards and I got five (from my wife as an awesome birthday gift)! That’s a good amount compared to Canada’s Wonderland which has zero or even Disney World (as I have lamented).
They did break two rules of postcards – on the back side:
First broken rule – if you are charging people for postcards (as these did – they cost $1 each) then the space for the message should be left blank. It’s okay (although not ideal) for give-away postcards to prefill in the message area with boring promo copy (and this is among the worst offenders – who cares if they have “corporate events” and “school groups”). But if I’m paying for the postcard, I get the right to fill in the space myself.
The second broken rule – all the postcards have the exact same back side, even though each back of a postcard should have a unique caption. A caption should identify the front image of the postcard (which would help in the case of fishes that all start to look the same after you’ve looked at millions of them for a few hours) and ideally offer additional interesting information or context.
But as important as postcards are, in the end, IT’S ALL ABOUT THE SHARKS! And they delivered in Discovery Channel style: