Step inside one of the province’s iconic attractions and take in Royal BC Museum, where until November 11 you can explore the world of the Vikings, in the first North American stop for this international exhibit from the Swedish History Museum. Wildlife Photographer of the Year returns for its third annual exhibition, this year celebrating 50 years of images. Marvel at 100 large-scale, back-lit photographs that include some of the world’s most respected nature photographers and wildlife experts in this annual competition is run by the Natural History Museum, London, and BBC Worldwide celebrating the beauty and magnificence of the world in which we live, as well as acting as a stark reminder of the fragility of nature.
Also at the Royal BC Museum is the six-storey tall screen of the IMAX Theatre, showing both the ever-popular IMAX movies as well as Hollywood movies given a whole new look with the theatre’s state-of-the art technology. Check with the current online schedule to find out what’s playing, from the finest IMAX films to feature-length Hollywood titles.
Across the road, overlooking the Inner Harbour in the historic Steamship Terminal is one of Victoria’s newest attractions, The Robert Bateman Centre. Take time to explore this definitive collection of the Canadian artist’s celebrated work, which is used to support a dynamic program of public events.
No matter what your age, who can resist such family-friendly escapes as Miniature World, at the Fairmont Empress Hotel and the nearby Bug Zoo, home to all manner of cool creatures? Miniature World offers exhibits fascinating to young eyes, depicting scenes from literature and history – the turn-of-the-century “under the bigtop” display is remarkable – while at the Bug Zoo, knowledgeable entomologists make the intriguing insects interesting to all.
Just a few minutes from downtown is the historic Craigdarroch Castle, built in 1890 by coal baron Robert Dunsmuir for his family. While he died before it was finished, the stunning result of his vision today welcomes guests year-round who marvel at the beautifully preserved and restored site. Winter highlights include a full calendar of Christmas activities, and of course a full celebration of Robbie Burns Day in January!
Around the Inner Harbour, into the community of Esquimalt, continue your exploration of the region’s maritime history at the CFB Esquimalt Naval & Military Museum, at Naden on Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, where four themes run through the displays: Canada’s Navy on the West Coast; The Canadian Women’s Army Corps (CWAC); The Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service (WRCNS); and The West Coast Defences.
On the Peninsula
Enjoy a scenic drive out the Saanich Peninsula to take in the tropical splendour of the Victoria Butterfly Gardens, home not only to stunning garden displays and thousands of free-flying butterflies, but also an array of birds, colourful koi and more.
And in lovely Sidney-by-the-Sea, the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre is the place for budding oceanographers of all ages. Explore the Salish Sea, just steps away, through vast tanks, interactive displays and kid-friendly exhibits. Don’t miss the octopus!