An octopus gently pushes itself through crystal waters, sea otters twist and flip at the surface as they work through a crab, shore birds perch over pools, and between them all visitors smile in wonder. Seattle Aquarium has attracted millions of guests to its waters with such exhibits since it opened more than 35 years ago. By combining environments for fish, mammal, and avian species, the aquarium captures a slice of the Puget Sound ecosystem, inspiring guests to examine the breadth of life off their shores and how their daily actions impact it. Feedings and daily talks about the animals expand on the wealth of information, whereas touch pools allow many to experience life in the waters in a way they never have before.
In addition to being the ninth largest aquarium in the United States, the Seattle Aquarium is home to biologists who conduct critical research on northern sea otters, the giant Pacific octopus, and other Puget Sound species as part of efforts to contribute to the health of the local marine environment. Focused exhibits work to raise awareness about conservation by imparting an understanding of the threatened orca whale and the sixgill shark—the third-largest predatory shark in the world.
Nestled within a 150-foot floating vessel 5 metres below Victoria’s Inner Harbour, Pacific Undersea Gardens sprawls with an interactive aquarium and dive-show theatre. More than 5,000 animals such as rock cod, red snapper, Pacific salmon, and wolf eels slink and swim through the facility’s natural, protected environment, which guests can peek into from the dry side of numerous viewing windows. As critters flit about in a tidal pond, visitors of all ages gently interact with the sea creatures. In the vessel's spacious theatre area, divers shielded in masks equipped with communications gear chat with onlookers while swimming among sea stars, anemones, and a giant Pacific octopus affectionately named Armstrong. After the show, divers clear their schedules to meet with birthday partygoers, and friendly guides educate school groups and oversee activities such as knighting favourite teachers with a swordfish.