Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre
Our Impact Why We Exist
We are the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre, a not-for-profit aquarium and marine education facility devoted to showcasing the incredible underwater world of the Salish Sea. Our aquarium uses live exhibits, including an interactive touch pool, in order to display thousands of local marine species and habitats for the purpose of educating people of all ages about the importance of a healthy ocean ecosystem. We promote sustainability and encourage our visitors to think of ways they too can 'take action' on behalf of our world's oceans. Since opening in 2009, we have welcomed over 420,000 guests, and have built up a team of over 130 knowledgeable volunteer "Oceaneers" who engage with and help answer questions for our visitors.
Our Story What We Do
The creation of the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre is an example of community activism, visionary thinking, and a profound respect for the ocean. The facility was built based on the premise that anyone and everyone can come and learn more about our fascinating underwater world.
To build the aquarium, a group of community members launched a campaign and brought in donations from various sources, including private donations from individuals and local businesses, support from the Town of Sidney, the Canada/BC Infrastructure Fund, and the largest single private donation of $1.5 Million from Shaw Communications.
On August 12, 2008 construction began at a breakneck pace. From zero to finished in 318 days... it was an amazing accomplishment. After hiring a small and nimble staff and training over 100 volunteer Oceaneers, the Centre opened to the public on time and on budget on June 20th, 2009.
Since opening in 2009, the Centre has received multiple awards, including recognition for educational programming, superior children's activities, and environmental excellence.
Our Programs How We Do It
School Programs: environmental education programs for school groups of kids ranging in age from pre-school up to grade 12. The curriculum of the programs are all directly linked to grade-specific BC Ministry of Education Prescribed Learning Outcomes.
Summer Camps: Week-long day camps that get kids learning about nature IN nature through hands on, hands wet educational modules, beach explorations, microscope work, ecocruises, and more. The camps are for ages 4 to 6 (Barnacle Buddies) and 6 to 10 (Salish Sea School).
Tot Tuesdays: An hour-long educational and activities-based program offered once a week to parents and their little ones. Includes ocean-related story time, crafts, and games.
Senior Sessions: A special hour-long guided tour (offered every Thursday) designed specifically to meet the needs of seniors, i.e. additional seating, quieted background noise, refreshments. Each week is a new ocean-related topic; the tour includes an introductory educational presentation and Q&A with a Lead Oceaneer, as well as a close examination of each of the aquarium's exhibits.
Floating Ideas Lecture Series: Every month, a new guest from the field of marine science is invited to the aquarium to give an evening lecture/presentation. Topics range from the root of rockfish population decline to the study of Olympia oyster beds.
Oceaneer Enrichment: When aquarium guests have questions, they turn to one of our volunteer Oceaneers for the answers, and since our goal at the aquarium is to provide an unparalleled educational experience to each of our visitors, volunteer training is critical. We invest a great deal of staff time and resources into cultivating Oceaneer education.
What You Can Do
The Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre operates as a not-for-profit community facility that is self supporting through admission fees, grants and donations. The Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre is governed, funded and owned solely by the New Marine Centre Society. Initial funds for the Centre were raised through generous community support and a major donation from Shaw Communications.
You may donate directly to the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre through CanadaHelps.