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.
After seeing the fish mongers in Pike Market you owe it to yourself (and the fish) to hike down the hill and visit the aquarium. Here you'll be able to see the very same creatures alive and well in a naturalistic exhibit. You'll also be able to get aquainted with the various animals -- invertebrate, avian and mammalian -- you'll see when you go out to the coast.
As always, you'll enjoy the aquarium most if you've done some homework. Before coming to Seattle you should definitely read a book on the natural history of Puget Sound. The deep, cold waters of the sound, combined with our temperate rainforest climate create a unique environment worthy of study and protection. Seattle's long history of fishing and environmentalism make us the perfect place for an aquarium along the lines of the great Monterey Bay Aquarium with an entirely local focus. Unfortunately, we don't yet have an angel like the Packard family to make this dream a reality. So come to the aquarium with only moderate expectations: the interpretation of exhibits is not the best. But the animals are still there for you to get aquainted with.
Admission is $11.
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.
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
Includes more than 380 species of birds, fish, invertebrates and marine mammals. Interesting features are the 400,000 gallon underwater dome (shown), pacific coral reef, tide pool exhibit, sea otters, water shed and salmon stream.
Open: Daily 10-5
Memorial Day to Labor Day: 10-7
Admission: $9.00 adults
Children: 6-14 $8.00, 3-5 $4.25
Auto Club (AAA) discounts
IMAX theatre next door
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.
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.
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.
Let's begin with hours and prices. I warn you, the entrance fee for the aquarium is very pricey, but worth it. Adult 13 and up cost $11.00, Youth 6-12 are $7.00, Child 3-5 are $5.00 and Child 2 and under are free. The aquarium is open from 10-5 every day of the year, reduced hours on holidays are 10-3 I think. Ok, the Aquarium is home to a variety of native species such as salmon, sea and river otters, beavers, seals, snakes, squirells, frogs, puffins and other native birds, and a number of interesting fish and starfish.
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!
My first visit to an aquarium, as Nic wanted to see the Sea Otters. A great place to start the day after the mandatory coffee. Bought the Seattle City pass, to include five other Seattle attractions.
The fish tanks were beautiful, but the Sea Otters stole the show.
Open: Memorial Day - Labour Day 10am to 7pm. Rest of Year 10am to 5pm
Also the Imax Omnidome is worth a vist. We saw "The Eruption of Mount St Helen: Then and Now", good for a history of the mountain area.
$7.00 for one film but see a second film the same day for $2.00.
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.
One of my favorite characteristics of this town is the accessability of the waterfront to the downtown. Only a couple of blocks from the business and historic center of Seattle, the waterfront offers an aquarium, several fine eating establishments and various water shuttles and ferries.
This aquarium is smaller and more intimate than some of the other big ones (Monterey, especially) and as such is not quite as crowded nor sophisticated. However, it's an 'honest' aquarium with good information and fun sea critters to watch.
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
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