The Royal BC Museum is a world-class attraction showcasing British Columbia history and seasonal exhibits near Victoria’s Inner Harbour.
The Royal BC Museum
The royal BC Museum has a large collection of West Coast Aboriginal artifacts, indoor full-scale model buildings from the early 20th century, a model ship you can go inside, and scenes of BC nature including taxidermied animals. The museum is interesting, educational and one of Victoria’s best places to visit any time of the year, and especially on rainy days!
Museum Hours & Admission
The Royal 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.
Admission to the museum isn’t inexpensive, but still well worth the cost. Adults are about $27, seniors and students $19, youth $17 and children under 6 are free. 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 around the museum, and indoors there is a section featuring BC Human History, a section showcasing BC Nature, and a giant IMAX theatre that shows wonderful National Geographic-style films on a 25-metre (85-foot) 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, and 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 and 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 a real preserved mammoth on display and lots of educational materials to read and see.
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”, are appropriate for most audiences, 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 cost to see a regular IMAX movie costs about $12 for adults, $11 for students (with ID), $10 for seniors and youth (ages 6-18) and $6 for young children (ages 3 to 5). 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, cost about $50 or so, and 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 Helmken 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.