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Where to next on Vancouver Island: Royal BC Museum

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Everything You Need To Know About The Royal BC Museum in Victoria

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Are you ready to embark on a journey through time? Look no further than South Vancouver Island and the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, British Columbia. This world-class museum is a treasure trove of natural and human history, offering an immersive experience that will leave you in awe. Let’s dive into some of the top exhibits that you absolutely must see when visiting!

Royal BC Museum Map

Natural History Gallery

Located on the second floor of the Royal BC Museum, the Natural History Gallery is a captivating exhibition taking visitors on a journey through the remarkable landscapes and ecosystems of British Columbia. Life size displays are sure to impress as you lear about BC’s breathtaking forest and marine life.

Ice Age

The Green House-Ice House gallery at the Royal BC Museum takes visitors on a captivating journey through time, showcasing the contrasting climates and diverse life forms that once existed in British Columbia. The gallery provides a vivid glimpse into the region’s history, from the subtropical past of Vancouver Island with palm and ammonite fossils to the chilling Ice Age landscape complete with a life-size mammoth. Fossil displays and murals depict the rise and fall of global temperatures, the presence of mega-fauna during the Pleistocene Era, and the glacial landscapes of Victoria’s alpine meadows. This immersive experience allows visitors to touch life-size replicas of fossils and gain a deeper understanding of the Earth’s dynamic past.

Coastal Forests

Walk through the domed room surrounded by towering Sitka spruces, Douglas firs, and western redcedars, the exhibit showcases the remarkable biodiversity sustained by heavy rain and proximity to the mild ocean waters. From the warm, dry hills of Vancouver Island to the misty, cool northlands of Haida Gwaii, the display captures the region’s unique ecosystems. Efforts are underway to restore and protect endangered species found exclusively in these forests, highlighting the importance of preserving these magnificent landscapes.

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In the next room, visit marine life found along British Columbia’s rugged seashores. Visitors can peer into tidepools and witness various creatures, from colourful anemones and snails to urchins and sea stars, as they compete for food and shelter while avoiding predators. The exhibit continues along the outer coast, highlighting the unique adaptations of plants and animals to the harsh and rapidly changing wind and temperature conditions. One notable species featured is the awe-inspiring Northern sea lion, the largest of the “eared” seals, with males reaching lengths of up to four metres and weight exceeding 1,000 kg.

Fraser River Delta

Stroll along the boardwalk at the Fraser River Delta, immersing yourself in the sights and sounds of this extraordinary ecosystem. As the largest estuary on North America’s Pacific coast, the delta offers a rare and diverse habitat for a wide array of plant and animal species. The region is teeming with biodiversity, attracting millions of migrating birds and fish annually.

Explore this unique area’s geography, geology, and ecology, and enhance your bird-watching skills with field guides and binoculars. Learn about the delta’s ever-changing landscape, shaped by geological forces and impacted by agriculture, industry, and urban development. The Fraser River Delta promises a captivating experience highlighting the delicate balance between nature and human activity in this remarkable ecosystem.

Ocean Station

Embark on an extraordinary journey into the underwater world off British Columbia’s coast as you step into a Victorian-era submarine exhibit. From the control room, marvel at the underwater sea cliff that stretches from floor to ceiling or use the portholes to witness the vibrant energy of a kelp bed.

Engage in your own marine biology research by exploring cabinets filled with meticulously preserved museum specimens, including corals, crabs, shells, and sea stars. Observe animals like barnacles, hermit crabs, sea squirts, and fish thriving in the 360-litre aquarium. Before resurfacing, don’t forget to peer through the periscope for a chance to spot any mythical sea monsters lurking in the depths.

Old Town at Royal BC Museum

Take a journey through time as you stroll down the streets of BC’s towns and cities. From the wooden block roads to the magnificent hotel modelled after Nanaimo’s Royal Hotel in 1890, you can experience the history firsthand. Port Moody’s train station and the offices of coal and lumber tycoons offer a glimpse into the past.

Old Town has a new approach that represents an exciting shift towards a more inclusive and diverse approach to storytelling. With a commitment to accuracy, respect, and collaboration, this revitalised space invites visitors to explore BC’s communities’ rich history and experiences.

Thunderbird Park – Outdoor Display

While the Royal BC Museum offers an incredible journey through British Columbia’s history and natural wonders, don’t miss the chance to step outside and explore its adjacent cultural oasis, Thunderbird Park. This unique park is home to a stunning collection of totem poles, the iconic Mungo Martin House, and other historical structures that delve deep into the heritage of the region. It’s a perfect complement to your museum visit, offering educational and serene experiences in the heart of Victoria. Learn more about what makes Thunderbird Park a must-visit landmark in our comprehensive page to Thunderbird Park.

Helpful Information When Visiting the Royal BC Museum

Museum Admission:
One-day admission to the museum for adults is $29.95. The BC Museum offers discounts for Seniors, Youth, Students and children—the complete pricing list for the Royal BC Museum and the IMAX.

The Museum is wheelchair accessible, and transport-style wheelchairs are available at the box office on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Royal BC Museum allows trained service dogs. Identify your service dog to one of the admissions or security team members.

Hours of Operation:
Monday – Wednesday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Thursday – Sunday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

675 Belleville Street,
Victoria, BC V8W 9W2

Underground parking is available at Government Street Garage

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Original Author:

Modified: May 17, 2024
Last Visit: August 11, 2023

Thank you for visiting – I hope you found the information you were looking for at VIBL (Vancouver Island Bucket List) please continue to discover all of the great places that makes Vancouver Island so great! 

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Vancouver Island is a land of natural beauty and abundant wildlife. Please be aware of your surroundings and take the usual precautions for personal and wildlife safety.
Black bears, cougars and even wolves are common on Vancouver Island for more on Wildlife Safety Click Here 

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Changing seasons and tides can have a drastic effect on most locations on Vancouver Island. Please be cautious as the information in this post may vary depending on the time of year and weather. Make sure to check for current weather and tide information before you make your journey! Click here for the tides in your area. 

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Land Acknowledgement:
We would like to acknowledge the land we appreciate daily within the 50 First Nations that make up the traditional territories of the Coast Salish, Nuu chah nulth, and Kwakiutl–the first peoples of Vancouver Island .

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