The state of Washington is a haven for wildlife especially around Puget Sound, which is an inlet of the Pacific Ocean. Of course there is nothing that compare to seeing the abundance of wildlife species in their natural habitat, but heading to the Seattle Aquarium on a dark, rainy day certainly gives a pretty close alternative. Everything from sea otters to a giant pacific octopus are on display here so I highly recommend heading here to expand your knowledge of the Pacific wildlife scene.
Aquariums – Good or Bad
Aquariums frequently come under a lot of criticism by conservationists due to claims that the animals are essentially being kept in captivity but I prefer to look at the alternative viewpoint, especially when you see the animals and for the most part they appear to be healthy and happy with their surroundings.
Conservation and Sustainability
The Seattle Aquarium have a variety of conservation initiatives focused on preserving and enhancing the marine environment not only in the Seattle region but also by showcasing the variety of exhibits to global visitors. The hope is that others will gain inspiration to develop similar initiatives in all corners of the world.
It’s not just about conservation though and the Seattle Aquarium also emphasizes the importance of sustainability. I am certainly a proponent of developing initiatives to help the marine eco-systems today but it’s imperative that we don’t do anything that may compromise future generations.
I love hearing that the Seattle Aquarium is committed to meeting these sustainability needs through the following four fundamental concepts (Seattle Aquarium.org, 2014):
- Our mission, Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment;
- Our leadership in the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) to prompt all members to have an operational sustainability plan;
- Committing to wise green practices that can reduce our utility expenses over time;
- Sharing conservation practices that can be implemented at home by our visitors and community.
I think this really emphasizes their position on this important topic but rather than continuing to discuss the argument of whether aquariums are eco-friendly establishments, I would rather share our experience at the Seattle Aquarium and hopefully provide a clearer picture to support our judgment.
Admission and Lobby Area
The Seattle Aquarium is one of the attractions available if you purchase a Seattle CityPASS and I would again highly recommend considering this option if you want to see the aquarium along with other landmarks in Seattle. There was no line to enter the aquarium so this was a smooth process of simply showing the CityPASS, the customer service desk providing us with a map and off we went on a self-guided tour.
The lobby area has a huge glass window that is called the ‘Window on Washington Waters’ and contains a large variety of fish species among other marine life. It is a really spectacular opening to the tour and certainly puts you in the right frame of mind as you continue exploring.
I was really impressed by the ‘Crashing Waves’ exhibit that features a representation of ocean life with the replication of waves gushing through the wave tank. It’s cool to see how the school of fish react to the waves crashing through and this exhibit alone indicates how the Seattle Aquarium are going above and beyond to recreate the near natural environment for the marine life.
As you walk through the variety of exhibits showcasing some of Puget Sound’s finest fish species, one of the coolest experiences is the underwater dome. Head down a short tunnel before stepping into a 360-degree tank full of various species, including sharks so be on the lookout as one may be swimming directly above your head!
The underwater dome also has a bench that wraps around the perimeter so you can take your time by taking a seat and peering through the glass as the different marine life passes by. This was definitely one of the highlights of the Seattle Aquarium and is yet another reason that makes this stand out from other aquariums around the world.
The World of Seals and Otters
The Seattle Aquarium is home to a collection of mammals that provide an action-packed and memorable experience for all visitors. Both the seals and various otter species have mischievous characters that make them an ideal audience for visitors to the aquarium.
We spent almost an hour watching the otters scrambling around their exhibits and even though this is an outdoor exhibit there is enough cover to provide an enjoyable experience regardless of the weather.
There are various viewing spots for these animals and whether you prefer to perch in front of the glass windows to see these pesky mammals swimming or watch them from the seating area, I would highly recommend spending some time in this part of the aquarium.
It is certainly fitting that the seal and otter exhibits provide the conclusion to your tour around the aquarium because you leave with amazing memories of seeing these animals in action.
We have visited various aquariums over the last year but I have to say that the Seattle Aquarium is by far the best experience we have encountered. The animals all look happy in their environment and it’s clear that the main focus is on their welfare rather than providing a tourist attraction. Take some time to check out the Seattle Aquarium – the otters alone will make your visit worthwhile!
For more pictures of our trip to the Seattle Aquarium, check out our Seattle Photo Gallery.
Disclaimer – We would like to thank Visit Seattle for providing us with 2 CityPASS booklets for our trip. These are solely our personal opinions/experiences and we were not financially compensated for this post.