From the moment we arrived at the Royal BC Museum we were captivated. You’ll never guess what’s in picture number 6!
We’ve lived on Vancouver Island for 5 years and somehow managed to just now make a visit to the Royal BC Museum in beautiful Victoria on Vancouver Island.
Crazy how that happens!
You know… we often don’t realize the amazing things to do and places to visit right in our backyard.
Which begs the question… what’s in your backyard? Many of us spend so much time dreaming about vacation locations and experiences far from home, while at the same time the people in that same dream location are dreaming of vacationing in your backyard. No, not in your backyard literally… although that would be interesting to have a family from Croatia camping out behind your house.
Anyways, a little food for thought…and now, onto the Royal BC Museum!
Where do I even begin? I have heard for years how the Royal BC Museum was amazing, but had no idea why.
I actually asked our friends at the museum whether there would be things the kids would enjoy. HA!
Looking back now, I can’t believe I actually asked that.
From the moment we stepped into the exhibits, we were fascinated, enthralled and entertained.
The best way to describe the Royal BC Museum is to say you don’t just look at an exhibit and aimlessly walk around… you are literally IN the exhibits touching, seeing, smelling and interacting with history.
Often multiple senses are being tantalized simultaneously and that’s what makes this museum truly amazing.
Here are 7 reason why your whole family will absolutely LOVE the Royal BC Museum and why it is a MUST for any Victoria vacation or Vancouver Island local.
1. Transport Back In Time
We haven’t invented time machines yet…that I know of… so this is the best next thing we have to feeling what it would be like to be part of our past. I loved watching my kids pan for gold and walk through a mining shaft! They loved it so much we went back for more a couple times. One of our other favourite exhibits was a hotel from the late 1800’s in “Old Town”. I thought for sure when I walked up the hotel steps I would be met with a false staircase and a locked door. But no! It kept going up and soon we found ourselves on the second floor dreaming of being a hotel guest from the late 1800’s.
2. See a Woolly Mammoth!
Watch out kids! It’s coming right for us! It was very cool to see a Woolly Mammoth the way they used to be when they roamed around Vancouver Island. We were very surprised to find real ice on one of the walls of the exhibit, we thought for sure it was fake… that is, until our 5 year old’s busy hands made contact. Just another place where the museum goes above and beyond to help the exhibits come to life.
Factoid Alert: The oldest and best specimen of a large-mammal fossil ever to be found on Vancouver Island was a 17,000 year old fossilized tooth of a woolly mammoth found on an island beach in the Greater Victoria area.
3. First Nations Vancouver Island History
The Frist Nations People settled on Vancouver Island well before the white man arrived. In this exhibit you can learn all about what life and culture was like by exploring villages that date back 9000 years, along with walking among real totems!
4. Lifetime Memories
The exhibits are so great, even a child who cannot yet read is able to understand what is going on. Our youngest took a long look through the glass at a model of a forest being logged. He then proceeded to describe for me, in detail, what was happening. As he moved along the wall and looked from one glass case to the next, he was able to tell me the entire process of a tree being cut down, put in the train, shipped down the water to the mill, and cut into boards to be sent all over the province. He was so proud of his ability to be the teacher for a change. And truthfully, I was delighted as a parent to see his enthusiasm for learning. And that’s how this museum translates to everyone. Learning is made fun.
The largest screen in all of British Columbia can be found at the IMAX right inside the Royal BC Museum. You can’t go wrong with a movie screen that is six stories tall and 85 ft wide!
We enjoyed the movie “Jerusalem” for our date night. By the end of the movie we felt like we had been in Jerusalem! We were taken on a breathtaking and visually stunning tour of the world’s oldest and most intriguing cities. It was the perfect movie to watch as we enter into this Christmas season.
For our family IMAX experience we chose “Journey To The South Pacific”. We loved this one too and it was perfect for the whole family. We took an adventure to the “lush tropical islands of remote West Papua with Jawi, a young island boy on a journey of discovery to a magical place where he encouragers whale sharks, sea turtles, manta rays, and other iconic creatures of the sea”.
Also playing right now is the Grand Canyon Adventure! We watched a little of that one from the projector room of the IMAX while on our tour. It looked incredible.
6. NEW Exhibits Rotating Into the Museum All The Time
About 3 times a year one of the exhibits rotates out of the museum and a brand new one moves in. The Royal BC Museum has hosted past exhibits like “Vikings”, “Race To The End Of The Earth”, and Canadian War Museum art collections. We thoroughly enjoyed the 2014 Wildlife Photographer Of The Year exhibit on our visit. The kids loved pulling us around from photo to photo explaining why it was their favourite.
Any guesses on what Gretta and the kids are looking at below?
It lives on the sea floor using the orange feather-like organs on its head to detect its prey of sea squirts. It uses this food to produce toxins that are released in a slimy defensive mucus when it is threatened. Its bright colours signal the toxic danger to others. Just one of the amazing pictures we got to see! This picture was taken in Indonesia by Alex Mustard.
7. The Escalators
Yes, that’s right. The escalators. They had to be our kids’ ALL time favourite museum attraction. With two very big and long escalators to experience we couldn’t keep our kids off of them! That’s right. Your museum tickets also get you an all access, all day pass on the escalator ride! That is until you get kicked off by the nice security guards moving you along. Not saying that happened. Goes to show you what impresses a country kid nowadays! It’s also a good reminder to enjoy the simple things of life and to look at the world through the eyes of a kid more often.
Royal BC Museum
• Handy thing to know – There is a coat and bag check area. And don’t worry about your stuff because the ladies at the coat check area will die first before giving you your belongings without a ticket 🙂
• Where to eat? If you want to stay in the museum there is a café and a snack concession stand for the IMAX. Tourist prices of course. You can always wander outside the museum and find places close by. We brought a bag lunch and sat on some comfy couches together.
• Prices: Family Pass $45 – Full Price List
While our experience at the Royal BC Museum was complimentary, you can rest assured that my thoughts, opinions, and findings are my own as always.