This May, I took a somewhat spontaneous trip to Washington (I say somewhat spontaneous because I intended to travel, so I knew I was going, but I just wasn’t sure of the time and place). I don’t travel to the west coast often, therefore it was my first time in Washington state, so I took the safe route for sight seeing and went with the Seattle CityPass. Thus my first visit in Washington was…
Seattle Aquarium, located in Seattle, Washington
The Seattle Aquarium is located on the waterfront, near Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market. Admission to the aquarium is $21.95 for adults (ages 13-over), and the hours are from 9:30am to 5pm. The aquarium was part of the Seattle CityPass, therefore what I consider my admission to be is different from the above price.
A bit about the Seattle CityPass before I dive into the aquarium. The Seattle CityPass costs $64 for admission into 5 of Seattle’s attractions. The pass actually lists 7 attractions, 4 of which are split into groups of 2 and from the 2 groups, you pick 1 attraction per group to visit. (For more information about the attractions, visit the CityPass website.) In addition, there are discount coupons in the pass for various other things. The CityPass says that you will save 47% on admission prices using the pass, which you will if you visit all 5 attractions and if you pick the more expensive ones from the 4 attractions where you can choose.
For me, the Seattle CityPass was a good deal because it was my first time in Seattle and I didn’t really have an itinerary, so I got a glimpse of what the city had to offer for a reduced price, and not to mention the regular aquarium admission was nearly a third of the CityPass price (my friend insisted on visiting), thus I might as well pay a little more and see more. If you visit all 5 attractions, then the adjusted aquarium admission cost is $11.65. However, I didn’t do the Argosy cruise tour that was part of the pass, therefore, my adjusted aquarium admission was $14.50, which is a 34% reduction of the original price, still a pretty good deal. In addition, I used the other discounts in the booklet, so a I saved a bit more here and there. So all in all, the Seattle CityPass worked out well for me because I wanted to see and nearly saw everything included the pass. (Note: I’m not being paid to endorse the Seattle CityPass, all of the above are my own opinions)
The easiest way to travel around Seattle without a car is probably by bus, which is Seattle’s main form of public transportation. (You can try walking everywhere, but Seattle is hilly, on a steep block, you can’t see the top of the block from the bottom.) Seattle’s bus system was quite confusing for me, luckily I had my friend guiding me around, so I didn’t have to take the bus alone or I might have gotten lost. (But I plan to master it next time I go to Washington, I would like to be able to travel independently.) That’s all the ramblings about Seattle, now back to the aquarium.
As you enter the Seattle aquarium you will be mesmerized by its Window on Washington Waters exhibit. The exhibit has a variety of sea life and it is so big that it makes you feel like you are actually underwater. The Seattle aquarium is a standard aquarium, a tad on the small side, but the aquarium managed to fit in plenty of exhibits. I say small because I’m judging based on the sea jellies exhibit (The aquarium near me had a building devoted to sea jellies, therefore the Seattle sea jellies exhibit is small in comparison.) and on the general layout. Other aquariums have more empty space and long hall ways between exhibits, however the Seattle aquarium exhibits are almost on top of each other; you can literally walk two steps from one exhibit to the next. But that is a really good use of space and I commend them for that, and for their creativeness with the exhibits. For example, the touch pools, where you can touch a sea star and other sea creatures, are typically placed against the walls, but in the Seattle aquarium, the touch pool is in the center of the room, away from the walls, inviting the visitors to go and touch. Although I said the sea jellies exhibit was small, the way the jellies were displayed was original; a ring you can walk through and see the jellies floating about.
In addition to fishes, the aquarium has an exhibit dedicated to native shorebirds (the only bird I knew was the puffin, my first time seeing one in real life). There were also marine mammals, such as the seals and otters. The aquarium has an underwater dome exhibit that covers the sea life in Pudget Sound (the body of water and region the aquarium is located at). It was a really nice experience, to see fish swimming all around (first aquarium with an underwater dome. I’m waiting to go to one with an underwater tunnel.)
My friend and I spent about an hour and a half to see the whole aquarium. The aquarium is quite charming, a bit on the small side, but contains enough to keep the visitors entertained. It wasn’t that crowded, probably cause I visited on a weekday in May. For the original listed price, I would have felt a little ripped off because the aquarium is small compared to others, but for the price I paid with the CityPass, it was a good deal. So buy a CityPass if your new to the city, or find an online deal (it’s quite pricey without a coupon), and go visit the Seattle aquarium to see the sea life in Pudget Sound. (And don’t miss the view in the area.)