The Seattle Aquarium is located on the waterfront at Pier 59, 1483 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98101. It is among the top five paid visitor attractions in the Puget Sound region. The Seattle Aquarium operates as a nonprofit 501c3, through a long-term operating agreement with the City of Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation.
Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Seattle Aquarium is the ninth largest aquarium in the U.S. Since opening in 1977, well over 20 million visitors have visited the aquarium’s marine exhibits.
Tickets are $30 for adults (13+) and $20 for kids (4-12), so it can make for an expensive day, especially if you are a family on a budget. Fortunately, there are several ways to get free or low cost tickets.
About Seattle Aquarium Exhibits
The Aquarium’s species collection is featured within six major exhibits: Window on Washington Waters, Life on the Edge, Pacific Coral Reef, Underwater Dome, Birds & Shores and Marine Mammals. Biologists at the Seattle Aquarium conduct critical research on a variety of Puget Sound species. The Aquarium’s sea otter conservation program consolidates the institution’s efforts related to sea otter research.
Some of our favorite exhibits at the Seattle aquarium include an undersea dome with a 360º view into a 400,000-gallon tank filled with hundreds of fascinating Puget Sound fish, otter and seal exhibits, a salmon exhibit, orca whale exhibit, octopus exhibit, and coral reef exhibit, among many others. There is also a family activity center and interactive exhibits, a gift shop, and café.
The Aquarium is actively engaged in the Central Waterfront and Elliott Bay Seawall planning process based upon replacement of the Alaskan Way Viaduct with the new SR 99 tunnel creating new public spaces along the waterfront.
The renovation of the harbor seal exhibit, opened in June of 2013, was the first step in a 20-year strategic plan, which includes a goal of significantly increasing the physical size of the museum and establishing the aquarium as the centerpiece of the Seattle waterfront.
How to get free or low cost Seattle Aquarium tickets
Seattle Aquarium partners with the City of Seattle and human service organizations in King, Pierce, and Snohomish County to offer qualifying individuals and families free or reduced fare tickets to see the aquarium exhibits through their Connections program. The goal of the program is to provide opportunities for everyone to experience the Aquarium, regardless of circumstance.
Here are ways you can obtain Seattle Aquarium tickets:
Use your Seattle library card. The Seattle Public Library (SPL) Museum Pass program allow SPL aand associated cardholders* to reserve a family pass to the Aquarium. You must reserve a pass for a specific date, and there are a limited number of passes available each day. So plan to reserve a pass well in advance of the date you wish to visit. For more information, visit Seattle Public Libraries museum pass program.
*Note that you can get a free SPL card if you live, work, own property, or go to school in Seattle, Bothell, or most of King County (except city of Yarrow Point and Hunts Point), or if you have a Library card issued by any of the following library systems: Everett, Kitsap, Pierce County, Puyallup, Sno-Isle, or Timberland.
As a resident of the City of Seattle. Visit your nearest Department of Parks and Recreation community center and inquire about Aquarium tickets. All City of Seattle community centers have access to Aquarium tickets. If you are having a problem getting in touch with someone, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a member of a partner organization, you may be able to obtain tickets. This includes organizations such as the Boys & Girls Clubs, YWCA, public health facilities, DSHS offices, King county government offices, city governments throughout King County, and many, many other organizations that serve children and families. If you are a client at a partner organizations, inquire with them about obtaining Seattle Aquarium tickets. For a complete list of partner organizations, visit: http://www.seattleaquarium.org/document.doc?id=1835.
Volunteer. If you have time to give, volunteering is another way to get in on aquarium and marine action for free, and the behind-the-scenes opportunity is priceless.
Volunteer Opportunities at Seattle Aquarium
Every summer, the Aquarium trains over 150 Beach Naturalist volunteers to visit local beaches during low-tide weekends and engage families in hands-on exploration of their local marine environment while increasing their understanding of how their everyday actions affect Puget Sound. Besides a visit to the aquarium, the Beach Naturalist program is another great way to learn about local sea life.
Seattle Aquarium also has a youth volunteer program, Youth Ocean Advocates, which aims to increase awareness and conservation of Puget Sound in teens as well as their families; and to leverage the influence of teens to reach out to the public in new and vibrant ways. Volunteering is another great way to not only see sites for free, you get a behind-the-scenes look that can’t be purchased–at any price.
For more information Seattle Aquarium volunteer opportunities for youth and adults, visit: http://www.seattleaquarium.org/volunteer
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