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Pacific Undersea Gardens


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#41 Sparky

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 06:02 AM

In 1972 Bob Wright and his Oak Bay Marine Group acquired this facility. It wouldn't still be there if it wasn't viable or desirable. I'm with VHF on this one. It's still there for a reason.

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#42 gumgum

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 06:52 AM

I'd be curious to know if you've visited. I have and had a terrible experience.

#43 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 06:58 AM

I'd be curious to know if you've visited. I have and had a terrible experience.


I went about 3 years ago and thought it was alright, for kids.
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#44 Greg

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 07:01 AM

I've been there. Once. I'd be curious to know if anyone has gone twice. Victoria gets a LOT of first time visitors. An attraction can be very successful if it does a decent job of marketing itself, has a good location, appeals to families and requires a modest time commitment. And it can do that without actually being very good.

There are, for example, a lot of good restaurants in Victoria, and a lot of restaurants that do very well financially due to tourist trade. Some restaurants are in both categories, but others definitely are only in the last.

Having said all that, it is only subjective opinion, and if the place is able to survive and profit in the free market, power to it. But I don't count it among the examples of Victoria putting its best foot forward to our visitors.

#45 Holden West

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 07:02 AM

I went about 3 years ago and thought it was alright, for kids.

Yeah, but kids are entertained by a cardboard box. The true test is how it stacks up against the Ocean Discovery Centre in Sidney and other ocean attractions. Is it fulfilling its potential? Unlikely, as the owners are clearly considering major renovations.
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#46 Mike K.

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 07:26 AM

It's a disaster compared to the Ocean Discovery Centre. But to be fair, the last time I went to the ODC the tanks and displays weren't as polished as they once were and this left me wondering if they were experiencing financial issues or a lack of experienced staff.

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#47 tedward

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 07:59 AM

I take the kids when we do the "Tourist in your own hometown" thing and they love it but really, the only thing they like is the dive show. We also can't be bothered to get the season's pass they offer for next to nothing around Xmas.

But I have a question about the permit process. Why does the City of Victoria have any say in it? Why is the Harbour Authority not in charge of the harbour?

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#48 Dimitrios

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 08:38 AM

I went with my wife during the 'Tourist in your hometown' thing too. Because expectations were low, we thought UG was ok, but were sure glad we didn't pay full price for it. The dive show mostly was memorable for the diver harrassing some poor octopus to come out of its hole until he gave up. We felt bad for both him and the octopus...

Ironically, because of massively inflated expectations, we were maybe more disappointed by the ODC in Sidney. So were my relatives when they visited. Like, it's ok, but doesn't come close to the fine aquaria of the world - Vancouver, San Diego, etc. It's a decent collection of fish tanks, has some educational stuff, and a fun touch tank. The overblown entrance (fake airlock) is pretty unnecessary. We concluded that the ODC was also good for kids, and a very nice resource for a small town (Sidney).

#49 Kach

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 07:25 AM

Well it looks like the Undersea Gardens is closing. Wow, two old school Victoria establishments announce closing in the same week. Capital 6 and Undersea Gardens. Start the speculation on what will be done with the Inner Harbour space that UG occupies.

http://www.timescolo...a-area-1.662514

#50 Greg

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 08:28 AM

Well it looks like the Undersea Gardens is closing. Wow, two old school Victoria establishments announce closing in the same week. Capital 6 and Undersea Gardens. Start the speculation on what will be done with the Inner Harbour space that UG occupies.

http://www.timescolo...a-area-1.662514


Never helpful to lose tourist attractions in a city that is dependent on tourism for a lot of jobs, but it is hard to get to worked up about this place going.

#51 AllseeingEye

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 08:38 AM

Never helpful to lose tourist attractions in a city that is dependent on tourism for a lot of jobs, but it is hard to get to worked up about this place going.


Exactly; the facility is antiquated, cramped, unremarkable and can't begin to compare to similar attractions I've seen in Hawaii, San Diego or Mexico. It long ago ceased to be a "major" draw and needs to go. Sounds like they will try to absorb the staff into other positions within the OB Marine Group which is good. Otherwise "meh"......

#52 jonny

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 08:56 AM

Never helpful to lose tourist attractions in a city that is dependent on tourism for a lot of jobs, but it is hard to get to worked up about this place going.


I don't agree when said tourist attraction is a total embarrassment. I would guess most people leave Undersea Gardens feeling slightly depressed and ripped off.

Tourists describe Victoria as follows:

"This "beautiful harbor town with great food" is "a pocket of charm and beauty" on the southern end of Vancouver Island. Our readers raved about the setting and architecture, and enjoyed the variety of activities: walking, biking, antiquing, dining at "great seafood restaurants," and visiting museums and the Butchart Gardens. It's a "hidden treasure.""

http://www.vicnews.c...tml?mobile=true

This idea that tourists need bogus tourist attractions or tourist traps is outdated in my opinion.

#53 Mike K.

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 09:13 AM

In recent years we've lost Crystal Gardens (and it's successor BC Experience), the wax museum, and now the Undersea Gardens. It's a bit of a shame we're losing these sorts of attractions as they add a certain vibrance to the downtown area.

With Butchart Gardens now charging over $30 for summer admission some people forego visiting the gardens altogether, and the RBCM isn't exactly a cheap attraction at $16 per person. So where to next? We have no serious aquarium, no year-round or summer long expedition/thrill park, no lookout platforms like the Space Needle, Harbour Centre, Calgary Tower, etc., and the other tourist attractions haven't changed since the day they opened (I mean is there anything different about miniature world of 1980 and miniature world of 2013?).

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#54 sebberry

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 09:24 AM

(I mean is there anything different about miniature world of 1980 and miniature world of 2013?).


They're now required to post warning signs on the dangers of lead paint in the old miniatures?

That's all I can come up with.


Why do you think this is? We're a huge tourist city, why are all these tourist destinations closing?

Perhaps people don't choose Victoria as a tourism destination, but rather are here because their cruise ship docked here?

If we didn't have the cruise ships, would people still visit Victoria for what we have to offer or would they go to other more widely recognized tourist destinations?

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#55 Kach

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 09:30 AM

I feel tourism is changing. I don't think we really need "tourist traps" like mentioned above any more to DRAW folks to Victoria. Sure, they are a nice secondary "to do" while here, but I imagine most are drawn to Victoria these days more for the outdoor recreation/tourism values than anything else (well maybe to feel "a bit British" as well). I would suspect Butchart Gardens is still a big draw though.

All of this is just my own personal perception...I really haven't done any thorough research into what brings people to Victoria.

#56 HB

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 09:32 AM

The only reason this town is a tourist town is because of the cruise ships and that only makes it a tourist town from May till sept. The rest of the year the town is fairly dead like right now . Just have a look at the bare streets.


The cruise ships are not coming here as a tourist destination either they are coming here because they have to... they have no choice. Victotria just happens to be located in a convenient location for the cruise lines.
It makes sense for them and they get to make some extra revenue from admission profits.

They are coming here because of the Jones Act no other reason

The only crusie ships that come here are ones out of Seattle of San Fransisco.

You will never see a Vancouver ship coming here.

The gravy train started when cruising to Alaska became Hip.

#57 jonny

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 09:42 AM

In recent years we've lost Crystal Gardens (and it's successor BC Experience), the wax museum, and now the Undersea Gardens. It's a bit of a shame we're losing these sorts of attractions as they add a certain vibrance to the downtown area.

With Butchart Gardens now charging over $30 for summer admission some people forego visiting the gardens altogether, and the RBCM isn't exactly a cheap attraction at $16 per person. So where to next? We have no serious aquarium, no year-round or summer long expedition/thrill park, no lookout platforms like the Space Needle, Harbour Centre, Calgary Tower, etc., and the other tourist attractions haven't changed since the day they opened (I mean is there anything different about miniature world of 1980 and miniature world of 2013?).


I take it you didn't read my post just above yours? People surveyed care about the setting, food, charm, walkavility and architecture. They don't care about paying to look at an octopus in a tank.

#58 HB

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 09:47 AM

That may be innacurate statement because the Shaw Ocean Discovery centre is very popular destination and ther have "an octopus in a tank"

#59 Greg

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 09:52 AM

In recent years we've lost Crystal Gardens (and it's successor BC Experience), the wax museum, and now the Undersea Gardens. It's a bit of a shame we're losing these sorts of attractions as they add a certain vibrance to the downtown area.

With Butchart Gardens now charging over $30 for summer admission some people forego visiting the gardens altogether, and the RBCM isn't exactly a cheap attraction at $16 per person. So where to next?


Crystal Gardens is the only thing on that list that I miss. But I don't think people come to Victoria to wander around indoors at underwhelming attractions. I think they come here to hang out on the causeway, eat outdoors on sunny patios, run, bike, paddle, and generally enjoy the high quality of life. Folks also come for specific events, such as JazzFest, and to enjoy things like the Buskers Festival. I think those events add more vibrancy than the aforementioned attractions.

And while we are reliant on cruise ships, I think some are overstating their importance. A lot of visitors arrive here through the Clipper, the Coho and the airport. For those folks we are a destination, not an incidental stop, and we should probably be most concerned about what attracts those cohorts.

/Also, Bug Zoo FTW...

#60 jonny

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 09:57 AM

The only reason this town is a tourist town is because of the cruise ships and that only makes it a tourist town from May till sept.


Really? Care to post some data that backs up this claim?

Quickly looking at some data from Chemistry consulting, approximately 461,000 cruise ship passengers and 166,000 crew "visited" Victoria YTD August. Meaning these people were on ships that docked in Victoria. We have no idea how many actualy got off the ship, and I would guess many stayed on board.

There are over 4,500 hotel/motel rooms in Victoria. YTD occupancy to the end of August was 67%. Most rooms have two occupants. YTD to the end of August is 243 days. 243 days X 4,554 rooms X 2 occupants X 67% = 1,482,873 occupants.

Divide this by two if you like as I'm sure many visitors stay for more than one night, but I hardly see any data which indicates "The only reason this town is a tourist town is because of the cruise ships and that only makes it a tourist town from May till Sept."

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