Visitors to the Seattle area are immediately taken by the interesting life and scenery that surround the city compliments of the Puget Sound. Offering a unique cast of marine life and playing an important part of the ecosystem of the Pacific Northwest, the Puget Sound is truly remarkable, which is why it is the focus of the Seattle Aquarium. With the simple mission to Inspire Conservation of Our Marine Environment, the Seattle Aquarium delivers a unique local experience and devotion that is evident in every aspect of their operation.
Money Saving Tip! Seattle Aquarium is included on the Seattle CityPASS. If you are sightseeing in Seattle, then you can save a lot of money with a pass.
About the Seattle Aquarium
Since 1977, the Seattle Aquarium has been one of the top tourist attractions in the greater Seattle area, hosting some 22 million visitors over that time at the pace of about 800,000 per year. Initially owned and operated by the city’s Parks and Recreations Department, in 2010, ownership transferred to a 501 c3 organization called the Seattle Aquarium Society. Throughout the years, the Seattle Aquarium has made a name for itself because of its regional emphasis on the Puget Sound as well as its dedication to the education and conservation of that area.
The Seattle Aquarium’s collection is contained within six separate exhibits spread out over 400,000 gallons of tanks and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). These exhibits include Birds & Shores, Life on the Edge, Marine Mammals, Pacific Coral Reef, Window on Washington Waters, and Underwater Dome.
In addition, since being turned over to non-profit management, the Aquarium has developed a 20 year strategic plan which aims to double its size by the year 2030, further pushing it towards becoming the centerpiece of the revitalized Seattle waterfront. The first phase of this plan, the renovation of the harbor seal exhibit, debuted in June 2013.
In addition to its exhibits, the Seattle Aquarium is dedicated to community outreach and education. Since the focus of its exhibits is on native marine life in the Pacific Northwest, this makes that outreach all the more important. As such, the aquarium hosts tens of thousands of school groups each year, having educated upwards of 1.6 million kids since opening in 1977. In addition, the anchor of Seattle Aquarium’s daily operations is its 1,000+ volunteers who educate visitors, staff desks, and serve as liaisons to the public generally.
These volunteers are supplemented by an impressive team of biologists, marine veterinarians, and other animal experts who focus their research and conservation on the Puget Sound alone. The Aquarium has also teamed up with University of Washington and the National Science Foundation in an effort to promote the bonds between scientists, volunteers, and the general public. To that end, each summer the Seattle Aquarium hosts a Beach Naturalist training institute through which volunteers are taught to engage the public through hands-on experiences at local beaches.
Seattle Aquarium: The Main Attraction
The Seattle Aquarium is located on the city’s waterfront at Pier 59, in the shadow of the Seattle Great Wheel, and is a centerpiece of the revitalization effort of that area which is set to follow the replacement of its Seawall and the removal of the Viaduct that currently cuts the area off from the bustle of downtown.
The aquarium is open seven days a week, closing only on Christmas Day and for fundraisers. Admissions fees allow guests access to all six of the aquarium’s exhibits as well as its interpretive experience shows which are offered in different areas throughout the day. Prices are divided among adults (13+) and youth (4-12); children under 3 are admitted for free. The location of the Seattle Aquarium on the waterfront also allows guests to easily combine a trip to the aquarium with a water tour of the area provided by Argosy Harbor Cruise, an experience which can be added to an aquarium admissions ticket. Group rates are offered for parties of 20 people or more.
In addition to the main exhibit hall, the aquarium also includes a newly-added café and gift shop. There is also a rotating schedule of events and other programs which include summer camps for youth, fundraising opportunities, and private parties.
Why the Seattle Aquarium is a Must-See
The mysteries of the Puget Sound help to make Seattle the city it is in terms of culture and geography. As a key champion in the education and preservation of this important marine area, the Seattle Aquarium is the premier place to learn about the Puget Sound. What’s more, the aquarium provides a few hours of fun and entertainment that have the fortunate benefit of educating visitors about the important role that of the Puget Sound and the animals who live there.