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8 Things to Know About the Seattle Aquarium

seattle aquarium

Are you planning a trip to the Seattle Aquarium?

Whether you’re a local or visiting from out of town, the aquarium is a great way to spend the afternoon. It has tons of different activities that suit families or even solo visitors.

It makes sense that Seattle would have a great aquarium. The city sits on the beautiful Puget Sound, with quick access to beautiful waterways

Keep reading for our in-depth guide to everything there is to know about the aquarium.

Things to Know Before You Visit the Seattle Aquarium

The Seattle Aquarium is one of the highlight attractions in the Emerald City. When you’re planning your trip, here are eight things you should know before you go.

1. It’s Centrally Located

If you’re a visitor to the area and you’re staying in downtown Seattle, odds are you’re not too far from the aquarium. It’s located right on the waterfront in the historic Pike Place Market neighborhood. It’s also neighbors with other iconic Seattle landmarks, such as Pike Place Market and the Seattle Great Wheel.

This central location makes it an easy stop on your Seattle tour. It’s easy to get to, and you can easily make a full day of your visit by exploring other sites along the pier or the amazing restaurants nearby.

2. There Are Ways to Save on Tickets

Admission to the aquarium can get expensive, but there are a few ways to save money. Children under the age of four receive free admission, and anyone under 13 also receives a discounted ticket. Discounts are also available for military veterans, seniors, and people with disabilities.

If you’re looking to save a little money on other experiences after your aquarium visit, check out our guide to the best free things to do in Seattle.

3. It Has Great Reviews

Although the aquarium is a bit pricey, you can rest assured that it’ll be worth the investment. The aquarium consistently gets great reviews from visitors. In fact, US News & World Report named it number 7 on its list of best things do to in Seattle.

Before you go, make sure you read reviews on sites like TripAdvisor and Google. All of them have informative reviews of the aquarium, and you might just learn a great tip that will help you plan your trip.

4. It’s Family Friendly

While a trip to the aquarium is fun for anyone of any age, it’s especially great for families. The aquarium’s family activities center is just one of the many reasons why.

The center teaches children and parents all about Orca whales and combines both entertaining and educational experiences. Orcas are currently an endangered species, so this exhibit focuses on promoting the conservation efforts that scientists are making.

5. There’s a Wide Variety of Exhibits

It’s best to plan almost an entire day for your visit the aquarium. It has tons of different exhibits and experiences to offer. Some of these change throughout the year, so visit their website before your trip to stay up-to-date on what they’re offering at the time. Typically the exhibit line up includes:

Puget Sound Fish

Seattle sits on the beautiful water of the Puget Sound. This exhibit allows visitors to explore what’s living just beyond the aquarium walls.


The Seattle Aquarium isn’t just about what lives in the water. There is also an exhibit that highlights the many different types of seabirds that live around the Pacific Northwest.

Tropical Pacific Fish

While the Puget Sound and the environment that surrounds Seattle are definitely a focus of the aquarium, there are tropical options as well. For those who like more exotic exhibits, the tropical Pacific fish area is the one for you.

The Pacific Ocean is home to a wide variety of tropical fish and plant life. This exhibit features tons of different corals, tropical fish, and even jellyfish to see.

Marine Mammals

If fish aren’t really your thing, there’s a great marine mammals exhibit to explore. Here, visitors get a chance to see otters and seals. This exhibit does require some patience, however, as it’s one of the most popular at the aquarium and tends to get crowded.


The Pacific Northwest is famous for salmon, so no trip to the aquarium is complete without learning more about these amazing fish.

The staff at the aquarium are extremely knowledgeable and make every exhibit that much better. You’re guaranteed to leave the aquarium with a lot more knowledge than before.

6. It’s Also a Research Center

A visit to the Seattle Aquarium isn’t just a fun activity, it’s also an educational experience. As we’ve mentioned throughout this article, the aquarium is dedicated to conducting research and helping with conservation efforts for some engendered marine animals.

Specifically, the aquarium helps protect sea otters and orcas. They also promote helping our oceans in general and serve as ocean policy advocates. It’s good to know that your price of admission and any donations you make are going to a good cause.

7. There’s Food Available On-Site

If you’re planning to spend a full day at the aquarium, you’ll likely get hungry and you can enjoy a meal at the on-site cafe.

If the cafe that’s on-site doesn’t fit your needs, there are plenty of options around the city. Like we mentioned before, the aquarium is centrally located downtown, close to tons of world-class restaurants and even the famous Pike Place Market.

8. Parking Can Be Difficult

Reviewers commonly complain about how difficult parking can be at the aquarium. Although the aquarium has a central location, this often means that parking is expensive and that there isn’t much of it available.

The aquarium can give you a small discount for parking at nearby garages. But if you’re spending the whole day there, parking will get expensive quickly. If you’re making a shorter trip, there is 4 hour metered parking nearby.

The cheapest option is to take public transportation. There are a lot of different metro bus routes that go through the area, and most of them can get you within a 15 walk of the aquarium. Seattle is a very walkable city, so we encourage you to embrace walking and get some exercise.

Check out Seattle’s free Waterfront Shuttle!

Want to Learn More about Seattle Attractions?

Seattle is a beautiful city full of tons of tourist attractions. The Seattle Aquarium is just one gem in the crown of Seattle’s many tourist friendly features.

To learn more about what you can see and do in Seattle, check out this article on our favorite things to do in the area that are unique and a little unexpected.

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