Welcome to the show as you watch jellyfish dance and enjoy a touching experience at Toronto’s Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. The Planet Jellies exhibit offers 7 different habitats as well as one of the world’s largest kreisel tanks at 16,500 litres. A kreisel tank is a specialized aquarium for jellyfish that provides a slow circular water flow and the water moving into the tank gives a gentle flow that keeps the jellies suspended, as well as almost no interior hardware to prevent injury to the jellyfish.
Jellyfish are amazing and intriguing creatures. They have no organs, no heart, no brain, no eyes and no blood and are made up of 94 – 98% water. Here in the Planet Jellies exhibit you’ll learn about the jellyfish’s transformation from polyp to medusa. The male medusa (adult jellyfish) releases his sperm and he female gathers it up in her mouth where she holds her eggs. Once fertilized she releases them and they land on the ocean floor where they become polyps, they reproduce asexually by budding and transform or produce (depending on the type of jellyfish) into medusae.
The aquarium is home to a variety of jellyfish from the cute little Australian spotted jelly to one I’d never seen before – the upside down jelly. The upside down jellyfish lives on the bottom of the ocean floor in shallow waters where it uses its bell to suction cup to the bottom. Funny enough, sometimes crabs pick them up and carry them stuck on their own backs to help protect themselves from predators. I found them quite pretty, looking almost like flowers.
One of the most spectacular exhibits is that of the dancing Pacific sea nettle jellyfish, with its back-lit, colour changing display combined with the beautiful ballet of their long arms, it will entrance you. The Pacific sea nettle use their light-sensing organs to migrate daily from the dark, deep waters up to the sunlit surface.
From the hypnotic sea nettle to the mesmerizing moon jelly. With an exhibit directly overhead watching these translucent moon like bells is like watching a hundred moons dance across the sky. The moon jellyfish’s colour changes depending on their diet, from pink to pale purple with crustaceans and an orange tint when feeding on brine shrimp. Could you imagine humans having this ability? Unreal!
From Planet Jellies you move to The Shoreline Gallery where you’ll have the fin-tastic opportunity to see and touch – that’s right touch! – some cool creatures like cownose rays that are curious and playful, and silky smooth, as well as a variety of small species of sharks. One species, the bonnethead shark is swift, always on the move and fast – so good luck. In another tank you’ll see bamboo sharks who are known as cat sharks for the barbels that look like small whiskers around their nostrils, which are actually sensing organs to help them locate food. One species is the brown banded bamboo shark and the other is the white spotted bamboo shark. There were even 7-week-old baby sharks swimming in separate floating tanks and even bamboo shark eggs scattered throughout the tank. I was so excited, I had never seen shark eggs before!
So, whether you’re looking for the beautiful display that the jellyfish enact or a touching experience with some rays and sharks then head on over to Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada for fun for all the senses.