The Royal BC Museum is a world-class attraction showcasing British Columbia history and seasonal exhibits near Victoria’s Inner Harbour.
ROYAL BC MUSEUM TEMPORARILY CLOSED
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Royal BC Museum was closed for a number of weeks in the spring of 2020. As of June 19th, it is once again partially open. When it resumes operations, however, it won’t be business as usual.
The museum plans to reopen in a number of phases. As of June 19th guests can explore the 2nd floor Natural History Gallery and Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit. Beginning on August 1st the First Peoples Gallery will also open its doors. It won’t be until September 7th though that the rest of the museum will reopen, or at least that’s the plan all things going well. The IMAX Theatre, however, will remain closed until further notice.
For more information about the status of the attraction see the Royal BC Museum website.
The Royal BC Museum
This museum has a large collection of West Coast Aboriginal artifacts, a model ship you can go inside, and scenes of BC nature. The museum is interesting, educational and one of Victoria’s best places to visit any time of the year!
Museum Hours & Admission
This BC Museum is open almost every day of the year, except for major statutory holidays like Christmas and New Year’s Day. Summer hours between late May and early October are usually Sunday to Thursday from 10 am to 5 pm and Fridays and Saturdays from 10 am to 10 pm. All other times of the year it is usually open from 10 am until 5 pm every day of the week.
Admission to the museum isn’t inexpensive, but still well worth the cost. These are the ticket prices as of early 2020:
- Adults – $18.00
- Seniors (over 65) & Students (over 19 with ID) – $11.00
- Youth (6-18) – $11.00
IMAX movies at the museum cost extra – see below for details.
(Note: Rates, hours and other details are subject to change.)
At 675 Belleville Street, the Royal BC Museum is located in the heart of Victoria’s Inner Harbour on the corner between Victoria’s two most famous landmark buildings – the BC Legislature and the Empress Hotel.
In front of the museum on the corner of Belleville and Douglas Street is tiny Thunderbird Park which features First Nation totem poles and a big house.
Just off Belleville between the Royal BC Museum and back of Thunderbird Park are Helmken House and St. Anne’s Schoolhouse, an original historic home and school building that are also open to the public and affiliated with the museum.
About the Museum
For a city the size of Victoria, the Royal BC Museum is a large and impressive museum.
There are a few things to see outside the museum, and indoors there is a section featuring BC Human History and a section showcasing BC Nature. There is also a giant IMAX theatre that shows wonderful National Geographic-style films on a 25-metre wide and 6-storey-high screen.
Some of the museum is outdoors including Thunderbird Park and its First Nations structures. The historical buildings of Helmken House and the St. Anne’s Schoolhouse are also located behind the museum outside. There is also the Netherlands Carillon which is the 27-metre (90-foot) tall tower at the corner of Belleville Street and Government Street that was a gift from the Dutch and plays music at different times.
BC Human History Section
The Human History section indoors at the Royal BC Museum includes a First Nations Gallery featuring Aboriginal artifacts and information. It also features a Becoming BC Gallery which showcases BC’s early pioneer, fishing, maritime, logging, colonial and 20th century history.
BC Natural History Section
The Natural History section at the museum includes life-size displays of forests and an ocean beach complete with sounds and stuffed animals. There is also lots of educational materials to read and a couple of games to help you learn more about the displays.
The IMAX Theatre at the Royal BC Museum is an impressive movie theatre that shows educational films as well as box office Hollywood hits on a giant screen.
Typical films include National Geographic-style shows about things like the Grand Canyon and other natural wonders, the history of flight, marine life, exotic animals, ancient historical sites and dinosaurs. To see what’s showing currently, see the IMAX Victoria website.
IMAX feature films are usually rated “G”, making them appropriate for most audiences. They are amazing visually to watch and last about 45 minutes. IMAX Hollywood movies are regular full-length films, cost slightly more than what you’d pay at a normal theatre and are impressive on the giant screen.
The costs to see a regular IMAX movie are outlined below:
- Adult – $11.95
- Seniors and Youth – $10.25
- Students – $10.75
- Child (under 6) – $5.40
Full-length Hollywood movies cost about $3.25 extra and 3D films are an additional $1 or so.
If you’ve never seen an IMAX movie before, you should go. They are usually excellent.
Tips and Advice
Below are suggestions to help you make the most out of your visit to the museum.
TIP #1: If you live in Victoria and like IMAX movies, consider getting an annual pass when they come out in early January. Annual passes are good for the calendar year and cost about $50 or so. They provide free admission to regular IMAX films and discounts to Hollywood ones.
TIP #2: Don’t forget that some of the museum’s exhibits are outside on the museum grounds, including Helmcken House and the St. Anne’s Schoolhouse.
TIP #3: If you like history, also consider visiting Craigdarroch Castle which is a beautiful old mansion which is now a National Historic Site and museum. Located at 1050 Joan Crescent, it’s just a short drive away.
For more information see the Royal BC Museum website.