The Seattle Aquarium is a small public aquarium located on Pier 59 on the Seattle Waterfront. Originally opened in 1977, the Aquarium has hosted over 19 million visitors since its opening, with over 800,000 visiting in 2007 alone. The Seattle Aquarium is highly recommended as a kid-friendly attraction that caters to families with ten major marine exhibits, a caf, and many activities for kids of all ages to enjoy.
One of the newest exhibits at the Seattle Aquarium is the Window on Washington Waters, a 120,000 gallon windowed showcase that is modeled on the Neah Bay rock blades. Thrice daily shows feature divers who move among the salmon, sea anemones and rockfish while talking to visitors and answering their questions.
In 2002, the Aquarium launched Life at the Edge as part of its 25th anniversary celebration. The interactive exhibit features the denizens of Seattle's coastal tide pools on the wide video screen and in two exhibit pools that include "touch zones'' where visitors can reach in to the water and get to know such inland sea creatures as the sunflower sea stars and aggregating anemones.
The Aquarium's largest and most impressive exhibit is the 360-degree Underwater Dome. There, visitors are completely surrounded by the ocean and its residents at the bottom of a 400,000 gallon tank. Visitors can watch divers feed the denizens of the sea at 1:30 pm daily, and enjoy the sight of sharks, skates, sturgeon, rockfish and ling cod living in a naturalistic environment.
Another attraction at the Aquarium is the Ocean Oddities exhibit, where visitors are delighted with some of the oddest sea creatures that grace the Pacific coastline. The residents of the oddities exhibit include cowfish and dragon fish and potbellied sea horses, as well as the flashlight fish, glowing away in dark corners beneath the water.
Beyond those exhibits and others, the Aquarium offers other attractions and activities for local residents and visitors. One of the most admission tickets to the Aquarium is a combination ticket that includes a one hour Seattle Argosy Harbor Tour, making a visit to the Aquarium a full day out for the family. The Aquarium also recommends its own Aquarium Caf,, recently opened on the second floor of the Aquarium, where visitors can enjoy a wonderful view of Elliot Bay on the outdoor terrace, or enjoy their lunch overlooking the New Puget Sound Great Hall and the Window on Washington Waters exhibit.
The Aquarium participates in numerous conservation activities, including the Seafood Watch, a project to help consumers determine whether their seafood choices hurt or help the environment. It also sponsors Aquarium summer camps for youth and a citizen beach naturalist corps for volunteers who enjoy doing outreach on Seattle area beaches.
The Seattle Aquarium is open daily from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM, though holiday hours vary. Admission varies and is available as part of a City Pass package or in combination with an Argosy Harbor Cruise. For more information about admission, group rates and hours, contact the Seattle Aquarium at 206-386-4300.
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