The Royal BC Museum is a world-class attraction showcasing British Columbia history and seasonal exhibits near Victoria’s Inner Harbour.
ROYAL BC MUSEUM COVID-19 UPDATE
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Royal BC Museum was closed for a number of weeks in the spring of 2020. Fortunately, it reopened in stages since then, and most of the museum was ready to explore in early September. As of August 2021, the museum is still open but at a reduced capacity. This means that all tickets need to be purchased online, with designated entry times.
For more information about revised hours and safety procedures, see the Royal BC Museum website.
This article contains the following information about the Royal BC Museum:
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. The museum is interesting, educational and also one of Victoria’s best places to visit any time of the year!
Museum Hours & Admission
This BC Museum is usually 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.
As of August 2021, during the times of COVID-19, the museum is open daily from 10 am to 6 pm. However, the first hour is reserved for first responders, people who are vulnerable, and seniors.
Admission to the museum isn’t inexpensive, but still well worth the cost. These are the ticket prices as of August 2021:
- Adults – $26.95
- Seniors (over 65) & Students (over 19 with ID) – $18.95
- Youth (6-18) – $16.95
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 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, 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 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 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 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.
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.
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 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 August 2021) are outlined below:
- Adult – $11.95
- Seniors and Youth – $10.25
- Students (must be over 19 and have ID) – $10.75
- Child (aged 3-5) – $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 also 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 that 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.
Other articles that may be of interest include the following:
- Victoria’s Inner Harbour
- Victoria’s Miniature World
- Craigdarroch Castle
- Best Attractions in Victoria