Exploring Ucluelet Aquarium : Canada’s First Catch And Release Aquarium

Last Updated on August 21, 2021

The Ucluelet Aquarium exists to raise awareness about local marine biodiversity and promote respect for the ocean environment. Visiting the aquarium, you are treated to a very personal view of the ocean, specifically from the waters in Clayoquot and Barkley Sounds. The personal view was our highlight of the aquarium. It really felt special, especially to learn about what is in our local waters.

Canada’s First Catch & Release Aquarium

The Ucluelet Aquarium is Canada’s first Catch and Release Aquarium. Come December, each anemone, sea cucumber, snail, crab, fish, you name it, will be released back to its home. That also means that each year the tanks have to be set up brand new again: sand, shell and gravel mixtures will be collected and cleaned, rocks will be collected by divers. The tanks will require time to settle and to ensure each display is able to cater to the organisms within.

Exploring Species From Our Waters

The Ucluelet Aquarium was fascinating to explore, and it was great knowing that it is an ethically sound aquarium, also staffed with a great enthusiastic team. We loved how we were able to learn so much about the marine life in the area. We were unaware how many beautiful and colourful species we have in our own waters in British Columbia. When we walked in and saw the small size of where it is housed inside, we were hesitant about how long our visit would actually be, but ended up spending a couple hours exploring. It is also a day admission, so you’re able to explore and come back later if you would like.

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A Great Way For Kids To Learn

The girls loved that they could experience so many of the species through touching and it has kept them fascinated about the underwater world since. Being able to touch some of the ‘creatures’ also kept them interested at tanks where they could not touch. They were super excited on our trip to the Sunshine Coast after visiting this aquarium when we told them we were going to go on a hike at Smuggler’s Cove to find some Sea Stars like they saw, and touched, at the Ucluelet Aquarium.

Marine Biologists Available For Questions

We loved that there are marine biologists walking around to explain things in layman terms; you were able to get real one-on-few people attention as you explored, instead of being left alone in a sea of people to only read signage like at big aquariums. We sure learned a lot!


Take a look at our visit in photos:

Ucluelet Aquarium
Loved the accessible set-up of the aquarium.

Ucluelet Aquarium

Ucluelet Aquarium
A great little area to learn something new!
Ucluelet Aquarium
It is incredible and sad what gets washed up in our Oceans.
Ucluelet Aquarium
Checking out the big fish in the big no-touch tank
Ucluelet Aquarium
Touching Sea Stars

Ucluelet Aquarium

Sea Urchin
Sea Urchin – how neat do those details look?
Jellyfish at the aquarium


Sea cucumber at the aquarium
Sea Cucumber
Ucluelet Aquarium
Touching some Sea Anemone
Ucluelet Aquarium
Madison & Sadie loved the Sea Stars

A Winning Aquarium Setup

The Ucluelet Aquarium was a fun experience for both the kids and adults. We loved the setup and accessibility of everything; very high knowledge per square-foot.  We suggest that when you visit you take your time and read, listen and ask questions and you’re sure to admire the place as much as we did. It sure was inspiring to see the staff really excited about answering questions.


At our visit, admission fees were as follows: Adult $14, Child (4-17) $7, Student/Senior $10 and children 3 and under are free.



Where have you found a good hands-on aquarium where there was a lot to learn?


Disclaimer: Our visit was sponsored by the Ucluelet Aquarium, but as always, our opinions are our own.