Sea otters are a favorite at Seattle Aquarium
For local families in search of something to do, there's a cute bright spot on the Puget Sound horizon. Seattle Aquarium, home to dozens of fascinating marine critters, announced that it is reopening to the public on Tuesday, Feb. 9. Hooray!
Before we get to all the new safety procedures in place that make a visit to the Aquarium possible, let's pause and appreciate some of the awesome animals that live there. These animals represent the incredible marine ecosystem of the Puget Sound. Think of these animals as our next-door neighbors whose neighborhood needs our protection.
Here's a sampler of the cool creatures you can see and learn about at the aquarium.
- Sea otters: I've asked it before and I'll ask it again: Don't you wish you could snuggle these thick-furred friends?
- Tufted puffins: Tufted puffins dive in the ocean to gobble up small fish and crustaceans. If they have chicks, they carry huge mouthfuls of food back to their nests.
- Dogfish: These versatile sharks will capture your interest. One fun fact: Females give birth to pups that begin hunting right away!
- Harbor seals: Learn more about these whiskery friends you've likely spotted in the wild.
- Giant Pacific octopus: This species is our hometown octopus. Visit the aquarium and watch the film "My Octopus Teacher" for a window into octopuses' incredible intelligence.
Visiting Seattle Aquarium in 2021
Here's the rundown on what you need to know to visit the aquarium now.
- Book your timed tickets in advance and note that pricing has changed a little (more on that below). Walk-up sales are allowed if space permits. Members can make reservations online.
- Arrive during your timed arrival window and stay as long as you like.
- Face coverings are required for all visitors ages 5 and older, and highly recommended for ages 3–4. (There are no medical or other exceptions to this rule.)
- You'll follow a one-way path through the exhibits and you must maintain distance from other visitors.
- Touch pools are open for looking, but not for touching. There are no animal feeding presentations at present.
- The aquarium's café is open at 25 percent capacity; guests may also bring their own food and eat it in designated areas. Bring your own water bottle to fill at refilling stations, as drinking fountains are closed.
Seattle Aquarium has changed its pricing system, linking pricing to how far in advance you buy admission tickets, as well as to the popularity of the date and time you choose. If you buy tickets farther in advance and choose a less-popular weekday time, you can save a bit.
Fortunately, the ticketing page clearly spells out the prices. Right now, adult tickets available for February range in price from $20.95 to $28.95 for Washington residents. Note that you'll pay the adult price for your teens ages 13 and older. Ticket prices for youths ages 4–12 are generally around $6–$8 less than adult/teen prices, starting at $14.70 for Washington residents. Ages 3 and younger enter free, and non-Washington residents pay a few dollars more.
Seattle Aquarium members enter free but must make a reservation online.
Not ready for an in-person visit?
Seattle Aquarium has fun animal fact sheets, virtual field trips and live cams on its website that families can dive into from home.
More Seattle-area family-friendly destinations are opening:
Be sure to plan ahead as most all of these attractions require advance ticketing. And please follow all the rules to a T so more places — such as schools! — will eventually be able to open.