In a city surrounded by water and defined by its way of life, Seattle Aquarium is a delightful portal to the creatures of the underwater world of Puget Sound and the Pacific Northwest coast. Located on the waterfront, Seattle Aquarium is one of the nation's premier aquatic zoos with six major exhibits traversing sea mammals to shore birds.
Opened in 1977 with a major expansion in 2007, Seattle Aquarium is set to double in size within the next 20 years with the renovated harbour seal exhibit to reopen in June 2013. The six major aquarium displays are Window on Washington Waters, Life on the Edge, Pacific Coral Reef, Birds & Shores, the Underwater Dome and Marine Mammals. The most popular drawcard is the effervescent and engaging sea and river otters and fur seals that can be viewed both underwater and at their fun-filled feeding times. Also in the 1.5 million-litre Underwater Dome are fish from Puget Sound including sharks, schools of salmon, skates, sturgeon, brightly coloured rockfish and more.
Elsewhere in the aquarium is the massive Windows on Washington Waters tank for a snapshot of underwater life in Neah Bay with over 800 indigenous fish and invertebrates and thrice-daily talks with divers inside the exhibit. The Life on the Edge display is where you can have an interactive experience with rockpool inhabitants like crabs, urchins, anemones and starfish, while the Pacific Coral Reef exhibit showcases multi-hued tropical marine life in a manmade coral reef. Rounding out the main sights is the open-air Birds & Shores display, which includes seabirds such as alcids (or auks), puffins and murres.
General admission to Seattle Aquarium is US$19.95 for adults, US$13.95 for children aged four to 12 with tots aged three and under entering for free. To get to the aquarium from downtown Seattle, from Pike Market take the Pike Street Hillclimb Walk stairs and turn left onto Alaskan Way - a four-minute journey.