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.
The craft masters at Seattle Glassblowing Studio & Gallery guide pupils to artistic bliss by expounding on a spectrum of steps needed to create intricate pieces. Whether joining 10–25 fellow artisans in a group workshop or forming a clique in a one- to two-person private class, students turn provided materials into bowls, cups, and decorative piles of glass shards. Professional glass wielders safely impart etiquette and basic techniques such as gathering glass on a rod and shaping it into colorful geometric forms.
The shop's instructors also offer their own artistic services, including custom commissions such as functional lighting and installation pieces. Damaged glass heirlooms undergo repairs in the cold-working shop, where artisans restore shattered pieces and polish away dullness left behind by covetous pawing.
Today's side deal gets you one-day admission to the Seattle Bug Safari on Western Avenue for $4 (an $8 value). Feel your deep-seated phobias for multi-legged exoskeletons evaporate after making the acquaintance of 54 fascinating, exotic insectoid species—from behind the safety of thick glass, of course. Check the site or call ahead before dropping in, as Seattle Bug Safari is closed to the public during Groupon-exempt field trips.
Velocity Art and Design, an aesthetically oriented emporium, provides visitors with a range of eccentric home essentials, including jewelry, lamps, clocks, office décor, and other eye-pleasing wonders capable of turning houses into homes and homes into at-home galleries. The artfully designed Ferm Living owl kids' apron ($34.25) brings whimsy to breakfast prep, and earthy, human-brushed Labokoff prints ($28 each), vibrant Fluf wool punch pillows ($135) and playful Blow Up wall clocks spruce up panic rooms and family rooms alike. No matter what guests seek in-store, Velocity's staffers aim to remain attentive, inventive, and open to discussions about the world of art and design.