The Pacific Northwest is home to some of the world’s most diverse and fascinating aquatic life, so it’s no surprise that visiting the Seattle Aquarium is a favorite activity for many tourists. It’s ranked as one of the five most-visited paid attractions in the Puget Sound area and is one of the top 10 most-visited aquaria in the United States.
We especially enjoy the Seattle Aquarium for its interactive experiences. The “Life on the Edge” tide pool exhibit is one of the few places we’ve ever visited that actually encourages visitors to get hands-on with the aquatic life. Kids and adults alike can feel sea cucumbers, sea urchins, sea stars, and more. The Aquarium is also well-staffed with engaging guides and caretakers who are eager to explain the displays and answer questions.
Thinking about including the Aquarium in your Seattle plans? Here’s everything you need to know for your visit.
How to get to the Seattle Aquarium
The Seattle Aquarium is located at Pier 59 on the Seattle Waterfront, just north of the Seattle Great Wheel ferris wheel and a short walk from iconic Pike Place Market.
From Pike Place Market, use the Pike Street Hillclimb staircase to descend from Western Ave to Alaskan Way. Elevators to the Waterfront are also available by following signs to the Pike Place Market Parking Garage.
What animals are at the Seattle Aquarium?
The Seattle Aquarium is home to more than 10,000 animals representing a wide variety of species. Our favorites include:
- Marine mammals: Sea otters, river otters, fur seals, harbor seals
- Coastal birds: Puffins, murres, oystercatchers, auklets, long-billed curlew
- Large fish: Salmon, halibut, dogfish, rockfish, lingcod, sturgeon
- Puget Sound fish: Wolf eel, pipefish, prickleback, sturgeon poacher
- Tropical animals: Corals, giant clams, pufferfish, triggerfish, seahorses
- Other marine life: Octopi, jellyfish, hermit crabs, sea anenomes
Don’t miss the regularly scheduled animal feedings, which are very entertaining and include narration from an Aquarium interpreter. As of 2018, the Underwater Dome feeding takes place daily at 1:30 PM. Other animals, such as seals, otters, and octopi, are fed multiple times each day. Check the Aquarium schedule for details.
When is the Seattle Aquarium open?
Seattle Aquarium hours are 9:30 AM to 6 PM daily. Last entry is at 5 PM.
How much does the Seattle Aquarium cost?
Your admission to the Seattle Aquarium supports the facility’s animals and helps fund conservation efforts and education. As of 2018, admission fees are:
- Adult (ages 13+): $29.95
- Youth (ages 4-12): $19.95
- Children (ages 3 and under): Free
A $2 discount is available for Seniors (65+), persons with disabilities, and active military with ID.
If you’re visiting multiple attractions in the city, consider the Seattle CityPASS (affiliate link), which offers admission to the Seattle Aquarium as well as four other sites: the Space Needle, Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour, Chihuly Garden and Glass or Pacific Science Center, and Museum of Pop Culture or Woodland Park Zoo. The CityPASS is $89 for adults (13+) and $69 for youth.
Is the Seattle Aquarium worth visiting?
Though we wouldn’t call it an essential tourist stop, the Seattle Aquarium is a wonderful place to visit if you have time in your vacation plans. It’s not as large as some other aquaria around the country but still provides several hours of entertainment. The Aquarium also houses one of our favorite gift shops in the city (who can resist a stuffed animal harbor seal?) The convenient location makes it an easy addition to a day downtown, and guests are free to come and go throughout the day with a hand stamp. We recommend it to visitors with children or those looking for a break from the busy waterfront.