Ucluelet Aquarium

Vancouver Island

This excellent catch-and-release facility on the waterfront focuses on illuminating the marine critters found in the region's local waters, which can mean anything from alien-looking sea cucumbers to a squirming, and frankly mesmerizing, Pacific octopus or two. But it's the enthusiasm of the young staff that sets this place apart, along with the ability to educate on issues of conservation without browbeating. A great kid-friendly facility – expect to walk away with renewed excitement about the wonders of ocean wildlife.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions