Having opened in 1977, on Seattle’s prestigious waterfront on Pier 59, it continues to showcase the local aquatic wildlife of the Pacific Northwest’s Puget Sound along with some more exotic varieties.
The first Seattle Aquarium opened in 1938 on Pier 54 at what is now known as “Ivar’s”, a local eatery specializing in seafood, chowder, and fish and chips. As a one-room aquarium, Ivar Haglund (also the aquarium’s owner) also did public displays like strolling down the waterfront with a river otter in a baby carriage. It has since closed, but the current one eventually replaced it in 1977.
Although it can’t compete with the “awe” factor of Southeast Asia’s Siam Ocean World, or even Vancouver’s Stanley Park Aquarium, it stays true to the locale, basing most of the exhibits on fish found in the Puget Sound.
The fish tanks are Fisheye friendly, although some of the fish are quite speedy, they’ll let you put your camera up to the glass and hold it there on bulb mode, and you can get some pretty neat shots of fish tank decorations.
Besides the conventional fish tanks and the cylindrical ones, other attractions that can be found here are:
- Crashing Waves Exhibit: a pool where you can touch anemones, urchins, sea stars, and sea cucumbers.
- Birds and Shores: an outdoor exhibit with puffins and other cute sea-faring birds.
- An Underwater Dome: a sphere surrounded by local sea-life interrupted only by concrete beams.
- Marine Mammals: super-cute river otters!