Home Museums, Historical Sites and Other Tourist Attractions Victoria’s Royal British Columbia Museum

Victoria’s Royal British Columbia Museum

Royal BC Museum

The Royal BC Museum is a world-class attraction showcasing British Columbia history and seasonal exhibits near Victoria’s Inner Harbour.


This article contains the following information about the Royal BC Museum:

Hours & Admission | Location | About the Museum | Imax Theatre | Tips and Advice | Other Information


The Royal BC Museum

Visitors can see a large collection of West Coast Aboriginal artifacts, a model ship you can go inside, and scenes of BC nature at the Royal British Columbia Museum. The attraction is interesting, educational and one of Victoria’s best places to visit any time of the year!


Museum Hours & Admission

This BC Museum is usually open nearly every day of the year, with the exception of major statutory holidays like Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Summer hours between late May and early October are usually Sunday to Thursday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and Fridays and Saturdays from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm. All other times of the year it is usually open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm Mondays to Wednesdays and from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm from Thursdays to Sundays.

Admission to the museum isn’t inexpensive, but still well worth the cost. Tickets are valid for the entire day you choose. These are the ticket prices as of January, 2024:

  • Adults – $29.95 (ages 19 and over)
  • Seniors (ages 65 and over) – $19.95
  • Students (ages 19 and over with valid ID) – $19.95
  • Youth (ages 6 to 18) – $16.95
  • Children (ages 3 to 5) – free

IMAX movies at the museum cost extra – see below for details.

(Note: Rates, hours and other details are subject to change.)


Museum Location

At 675 Belleville Street, the Royal BC Museum is 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 also features First Nation totem poles and a traditional big house.

Just off Belleville between the Royal BC Museum and back of Thunderbird Park are Helmken House and St. Anne’s Schoolhouse. They are an original historic home and school building that are also open to the public and affiliated with the museum.


Museum Carillon and Inner Harbour
Netherlands Carillon


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 are sections covering BC Human History and BC Nature. There is also a giant IMAX theatre that shows wonderful National Geographic-style films on a 25-metre wide and six-storey-high screen.


Outdoor Features

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 outside and behind the museum. There is the Netherlands Carillon as well, which is the 27-metre (90-foot) tall tower at the corner of Belleville Street and Government Street. The structure was a gift from the Dutch and plays music at different times.


BC Human History Section

The Human History section 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. (The gallery was renovated in 2023.)


BC Museum Totem Poles
First Nations Gallery


BC Natural History Section

The Natural History section at the museum includes large displays of forests and an ocean beach complete with sounds and life-size stuffed animals. There is lots of educational material to read and a couple of games to play to help you learn more about the exhibit. Inside this part of the museum there is also an almost perfectly preserved mammoth!


Royal BC Museum Mammoth
Museum Mammoth


IMAX Theatre

The IMAX Theatre at the Royal BC Museum is an impressive movie theatre. It shows educational films as well as box office Hollywood hits on a giant screen.

Typical films include National Geographic-style shows about places 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, visit the IMAX Victoria website.

IMAX feature films are usually rated “G,” making them appropriate for basically all audiences. They are amazing visually 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 (as of January 2024) are outlined below:

  • Adults (ages 19 and over) – $11.95
  • Seniors (ages 65 and over) and Youth (ages 6 to 18) – $10.25
  • Students (ages 19 and over with valid ID) – $10.75
  • Children (ages 3 to 5) – $5.40

Full-length Hollywood movies and 3D films usually cost about $3 to $4 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.


Museum Sea Lion Display


Tips & Advice

Below are suggestions to help you make the most 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 $69.25 per adult. They also provide 20% off 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 that is now a National Historic Site and museum. Located at 1050 Joan Crescent, it’s just a short drive away.


Other Information

For more information see the Royal BC Museum website.

Other articles that may be of interest include the following:

For a list of places to learn about history and culture in the Lower Mainland, see the website vancouversbestplaces.com.