Aquarium, Seattle

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  • Grunt Sculpin hide in Giant Barnacle shells
    Grunt Sculpin hide in Giant Barnacle...
    by glabah
  • puffins and other Puget Sound sea birds
    puffins and other Puget Sound sea birds
    by glabah
  • long tank of Seattle Aquarium viewable on sidewalk
    long tank of Seattle Aquarium viewable...
    by glabah
  • glabah's Profile Photo

    Seattle Aquarium: see Puget Sound Life up close

    by glabah Updated Aug 7, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Seattle Aquarium in old waterfront building
    4 more images

    NOTE: Pets and baloons are not allowed into the Seattle aquarium. Tickets are not valid for re-admission after you have left the building.

    Half of the Seattle Aquarium is located inside an extremely heavily remodeled old waterfront building, while a semi-outdoor section of the aquarium is located next door on the north side of the main building in a much more modern concrete buidling.

    A small taste of what you will find inside the Seattle Aquarium may be found on the sidewalk side of this modern concrete edifice. From the main entrance to the aquarium, walk north along the waterfront. Here you will find a small triangular courtyard, and along the west wall of the courtyard there is a tank that is very easy to miss filled with a few of the creatures that you will find inside the aquarium, but on display in a place that anyone can view them.

    The price of $17 seems a little on the steep side, but the aquarium is an extremely popular destination and with the huge number of people that visit here you may be glad of that high entrance fee: imagine how many people would come here if the entrance price were lower! In fact, when I showed up in the morning, it was well before the opening time of 9:30, and already there was a fairly significant line in front of the building. I simply decided to explore other areas of the waterfront (including the nearby Ye Olde Curiosity Shop) before actually going in.

    You will pay your admission at the front entrance, and be handed a map. Pay close attention to the map as there are a number of visitors that seem to have missed entire sections of the aquarium, and for the entrance price you will want to have visited the entire facility.

    The first thing that you come to after paying your entrance fee will be a huge wall of fish, perhaps two floors high, swimming in a tank that provides an interesting color display. The kids really like this display, and it will be difficult to find a place to sit and watch in the area near this wall. I'm not sure exactly what the fascination is with this wall of fish, but possibly it is the light and sound shows that happen in this huge tank.

    There is a tidal pool along the wall next to the tank that is also a popular place for the children to watch. Bursts of water from time to time simulate wave action. However, the tank is a bit high for most children. It is more at an adult viewing height.

    After the gift shop, there is a fairly good sized room with two open tidal pools where people can touch certain types of sea life, including star fish. One of the tidal pools has some tidal action.

    This room also features a number of smaller displays including a circulating jellyfish display that puts various color lights behind the jellyfish to illustrate how the light passes right through the jellyfish.

    The passageway on the right goes further back into the building, and through there you will find another hands-on display that allows kids and adults to try on scuba diving equipment.

    At the back of this building, you will find an entire section of the aquarium that is devoded to the University of Washington's work under the waters just off Hawaii. There are a number of unique fish here, plus some collections of very colorful live coral.

    Several areas on the north side of the building have doors that allow you to enter the walkway between the two buildings, and enter the more modern concrete building that houses the Pacific Northwest collection. This includes under water life of Puget Sound and a fish ladder that connects part of the aquarium directly to Puget Sound so that if there is any fish life that decides to enter the aquarium of its own will, it is able to do so. There are also several species of sea bird that live in this building, plus several mammels, including sea otters, river otters, seals and sea lions.

    There is a cafe on the second floor near the front entrance, but it is not separate from the rest of the aquarium and therefore requires paid admission to visit.

    The aquarium gift shop has a number of Seattle and sea life items for sale, and has a separate entrance on the north side of the main building for those who want to see what the store has, but don't want to pay the $17 admission price.

    Mid-morning (about 10:45), the otters are fed, and that is where I took the sea otters being fed video. The otters are most fun to watch during and after being fed.

    I think the admission price is well worth the price for at least one visit, as there are things here that describe what you will find in Puget Sound. There is a good colletion of local items here, and the unique fish from Hawaii display is good information for those who haven't visited Hawaii, and a taste of what may come for those who are considered a trip there.

    However, it does seem like a bit of money for what is here, in terms of considering weather I would want to go back there.

    You should check the schedule of events to see if there is a special event happening during the time of your visit. Maybe it is something you want to go to, or maybe it is something you want to avoid due to the crowds.

    Along with the photos, I also recorded the following videos at the Aquarium:

    + Sea Otters Being Fed

    + River Otters Grooming Eachother

    + Jelly Fish Light Show

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  • joiwatani's Profile Photo

    See the different Octuposes at Seattle Aquarium

    by joiwatani Written Feb 7, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Seattle Aquarium
    4 more images

    The Seattle Aquarium is very interesting because they show different kinds of aquatic animals at a certain particular day. They have "Special for the Day" kind of. This week, they are showing different kinds of Octopuses- from the smallest to the biggest. There are also different colors of octuposes.

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  • machomikemd's Profile Photo

    Seattle Aquarium

    by machomikemd Updated Oct 4, 2008

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Entrance!

    One thing to decribe the Seattle Aquarium, lots of Sea Otters! The Seattle Aquarium features exotic fishes, sea mammals and other ocean life like the sea lions, harbor seals and even come face to face with a shark.

    Hours: 9:30am to 5pm daily, Last entry at 5pm, exhibits close at 6pm

    Aquarium Only
    Adult (ages 13 & over) $15.00
    Youth (ages 4-12) $10.00
    Child 3 and under Free

    Aquarium & Argosy Harbor Cruise
    Adult (ages13 & over) $28.00
    Youth (ages 6-12) $17.00
    Child (ages 4-5) $10.00
    Child 3 and under Free

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  • AprilT's Profile Photo

    Seattle Aquarium

    by AprilT Written Jan 31, 2007
    Seattle Aquarium
    3 more images

    We didn't have the pleasure of visiting this attraction, but it looked like a nice aquarium and the line was really long, showing how popular it is. In this area, there are lots of great shops and restaurants, such as Red Robin on the pier, the great Pirate Shop where you can also get souvenirs and Christmas ornaments as well as all the pirate goodies you could ever want, Elliott's, and next to the pirate shop, you'll find another arcade and the greatest cookies ever made at the bakery next door.

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  • leafmcgowan's Profile Photo

    Seattle Aquarium

    by leafmcgowan Written Dec 29, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    A beautiful addition to Seattle's downtown area, Puget Sound wharf location, just down the hill literally from Pikes Place Market. A great place for kids and adults alike to learn about sea life - from fish to seals and see the beauty that is underneath and above the ocean's surface. Rating 3 1/2 stars out of 5.

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  • PinkFloydActuary's Profile Photo

    The Seattle Aquarium

    by PinkFloydActuary Written Apr 20, 2006
    Sea otter kicking back and relaxing

    This is located just west of Pike Place, along the bay. It's a little smaller than some of the big city aquariums, but I found it to be a pretty good one overall. There is focus on sea animals of the region, but there are also exhibits on seahorses, tropical fish/sharks, and an octopus. You'll probably only need two hours or so to make it through and see everything. Among the highlights are the sea otters, who are a lot of fun to watch.

    The location is pretty good, as you are just a steep staircase away from Pike Place. Adult prices are about $12, $8 for kids. Hours vary by season. For more detailed information, check out the website: http://www.seattleaquarium.org/

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  • shadowmon's Profile Photo

    aquarium was cute

    by shadowmon Written Feb 22, 2006

    I went to the aquaruim, because everywhere I go I seem to do that. It was a small, but nice aquarium. Saw lots of species that I havent seen in other aquariums at the time, but I guess I am spoiled by all those colorful tropical reef fish!

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  • lashr1999's Profile Photo

    Aquarium

    by lashr1999 Updated Jul 8, 2005
    seattle aquarium

    The aquarium houses more than 380 species of birds, fish, invertebrates, and marine mammals. Some of the most interesting features are the 400,000-gallon beautiful panoramic tank, tide pool exhibit, sea otters, water shed, and salmon stream. There is an IMAX theatre next door.

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  • Minnieg's Profile Photo

    Under the sea creatures

    by Minnieg Written Jun 23, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Have you ever been up-close to a colorful inhabitants of the sea?? Seattle Aquarium offers an amazing experience of the deep ocean.. touch a sea star fish and watch a playful river and sea otters, a giant pacific octopus, sea horses and the beautiful sharks right before your eyes!

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  • jamiesno's Profile Photo

    Seattle Aquarium

    by jamiesno Updated May 29, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Seattle Aquarium

    Here is a picture of the Aquarium I got from the Washington State ferry. I also walked by it a couple of times when exploring the waterfront.

    Unfortunately for me it closes at 5:00 pm in May and with my around the clock schedule the doors where all locked when I got there.

    So that is my only tip go there earlier! On the web site you'll see it does look like a nice facility.

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  • davequ's Profile Photo

    Seattle Aquarium

    by davequ Written Apr 18, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Aquarium on back of Pier 59

    And just about a 1/4 mile ~ 3 streets down on Pier 59 is the Aquarium.
    Two levels of otters, sharks, fish hatchery etc.

    A good touristy thing to do and kids will dig it.

    Another good place also to duck in if it sprinkles on you.

    Right in the middle of a bunch of shops and places to eat as well, so it's a good "midday" stop for lunch.

    Tickets are $12, between $5 and $8 for kids.

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  • Seattle Aquarium

    by BigJon Updated Jan 27, 2005
    Seattle Aquarium Jellyfish

    The Seattle Aquarium isn't as big as the ones in Chicago or San Francisco, nor does it have large mammals such as dolphins or orcas, but it is a decent place to spend a couple hours.

    The aquarium is on a pier along the Seattle waterfront. It offers good views of Seattle and the Puget sound.

    The aquarium is a decent place for kids. There are several places where you can touch sea creatures such as starfish and even sea cucumbers. There are also some areas for kids to try on scuba gear and another play area.

    One of the highlights is a large underwater area where you can look around and up to see sharks, eels, flounder, and other fish swimming around.

    Outdoors there are seals and otters with occasional shows (you have to stand to watch though).

    The picture shows one interesting exhibit in the aquarium. There is a circular glass tank that contains jellyfish swimming in a circle.

    Admission is currently (Jan 2005) $12 for adults, $8 for kids, $5 for young kids, and under 2 free. For about 1/3rd more, you can also see an IMAX film on the premises.

    Saving money:
    - The Entertainment book often has a 2-for-1 coupon.
    - Sometimes the coupon books at the airport have coupons or other visitor centers have coupons.
    - If you are going to visit many Seattle attractions, check out this site for savings: http://citypass.com/city/seattle.html

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  • Anthro's Profile Photo

    Seeing Seattle's Sea Aquarium

    by Anthro Updated Sep 28, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Fishes in Seagrass

    I would rate this aquarium as one of the best I've ever been to, even better than Monterey Bay! There are so many wonderful exhibits, so many beautiful pieces of sea-inspired art, I can't choose what I liked the most. There is even a salmon ladder to show visitors the vigorous journey salmon take upstream. It is great for kids and visitors of all ages. As an added bonus, this place was included in the City Pass, so we saved money on admission. We went during the morning, just before the crowds, so we had the place to ourselves.

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  • Brehone's Profile Photo

    Excellent Aquarium

    by Brehone Written Jun 4, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Seattle Aquarium is excellent. I used to be a kindergarten teacher and every year we would take our classes to visit this amazing center. I have been to several aquariums along the northwest and would say this one deffinitely ranks high on the list.

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  • theserene1's Profile Photo

    Seattle Aqaurium

    by theserene1 Written May 27, 2004
    scary lookin sturgeon

    Right down from the Argosy Cruise ticketing booth is the aquarium. It was a good experience over-all (but i come form Singapore where our zoo and under-water world are top notch).

    There is the obligatory 'feeling pool', where you get to touch all the squishy creatures like sea-stars, sea cucumbers(?) and other weirdo looking things. The water in those pools are really really cold so be sure to have someone on hand to wipe off the water (on their clothes) and stuff 'em under their armpits to warm those hands up in a jiffy!

    The jelly-fish, seadragon and scorpion fish exhibits are my favourites. It was really fun too, trying to chase 'em fish around the tank (with the camera-no flash of course) just to get a good shot. I had a blast! I actually deduced the fish were doing it on purpose.

    Ooo ooo, the underwater dome is a great area, though a little foreboding looking- 400'000 gallons of water surrounding you. You'll see heaps of larger fish like sturgeons, sharks and what-not. You'll also find salmon hatchling tanks, otters and seals... These are in a partially-open area so try to go on the day when it isn't raining... I wasn't so lucky.

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