Seattle. A hub of technology, commerce, the arts, and nature in this emerald corner of the nation numbering over four million. Visitors, those making the trip to see family and friends and locals alike will delight in the diversity of aquatic life around Puget Sound and in the institutions of the Seattle area. Read on for some of our favorite aquariums around Seattle.
Among icons such as Pike Place Market, The Seattle Great Wheel, and Waterfront Park along scenic Elliott Bay is a building with more than its own weight in famous faces, the Seattle Aquarium! Since 1977, the Seattle Aquarium has inspired generations with a series of immersive exhibits showcasing the flora and fauna of Washington’s waters and the Pacific. Some of these more famous residents at the Seattle Aquarium include the giant Pacific octopus, moon jellyfish, cowfish, harbor seals, sea and river otters, wolf eel and the revered salmon. The highlight of the Seattle Aquarium’s exhibits, however, is the Underwater Dome, a step into a 360-degree view of a 400,000-gallon tank, a chance to enter another side of Seattle.
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
In neighboring Tacoma is a one-of-a-kind spectacle, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, the only combined zoo and aquarium of its kind in the region. Over 9,000 animals from 367 species reside here in a series of exhibits that takes visitors over the Pacific; from the Northwest, up through the Arctic down to the green heart of Southeast Asia, and into the warm waters of the South Seas. Some of the aquatic iconic species here include hammerhead sharks, green sea turtles, Asian small-clawed otters, sand tiger sharks, zebra sharks, California sea lions, and the mighty polar bears. Also of note are the efforts of the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium gardens, an enchanting display of verdant life native to the Pacific Northwest and of exotic biomes from the world over.
MaST Center Aquarium
South of Highland College in the quiet area of Federal Way and Des Moines is MaST Center Aquarium, a great way for visitors with a more intense interest in conservation to get involved in a memorable and impactful way. Here at MaST Center Aquarium, there is as much of an emphasis on the education and protection of the surrounding environment as there is on its beauty. Visitors can see local species such as the Chinook salmon, lion’s mane jellyfish, and blood star, and participate directly in a variety of conservation efforts such as helping maintain the aquarium, operate underwater cameras, researching the local sea slugs, and helping stranded Marine mammals.
Woodland Park Zoo
While not specifically an aquarium, the award-winning Woodland Park Zoo and its attention to aquatic species earn it a solid spot on our list. Chilean flamingos, hippopotami, red-footed tortoises, greater one-horned rhinoceros and the eccentric Humboldt penguins are all here for the public to meet. We recommend a look into the daily activities of the resident penguins and the ingenious engineering that went into the sustainable technologies that sustain their habitat.
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