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Opening August 29: The Seattle Aquarium’s Ocean Pavilion

Step out of the Pacific Northwest and into a warm, bright and vibrant underwater world teeming with life. Join us to discover the wonders of a reef ecosystem in the Coral Triangle—a region in the Indo-Pacific so rich in biodiversity that’s it’s been called “the Amazon of the ocean”! You’ll come face to face with 3,500 animals and plants: sharks, rays, schooling fish, mangroves, nearly 30 species of coral and so much more.

As a complement to the habitat experience, the Ocean Pavilion will tell an unforgettable story about Earth’s one ocean through state-of-the-art digital storytelling. Guests of all ages will come away with a deepened understanding that all waters are connected. That our fate and the ocean’s are one and the same. And that, together, we can make a difference for the ocean we all depend on.

Tickets available now!

Get your tickets today to experience our new Ocean Pavilion expansion on August 29! Tickets include access to the entire Seattle Aquarium campus.

Aquarium membership gives you unlimited, free access to our entire campus—including the Ocean Pavilion once it opens on August 29.

An eagle ray against a transparent background.
Spotted eagle rays

These shark and skate relatives are found in the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific. True to their names, they glide through the ocean like soaring birds and travel from estuaries (where rivers meet the sea) to coral reefs to open waters, up to 200 feet below the surface.

Rendering depicting guests in front of The Reef, a new large habitat featured in the Seattle Aquarium Ocean Pavilion.


Experience an underwater canyon that arcs overhead! The multiple viewpoints of this spectacular, multi-story habitat—the Ocean Pavilion’s largest—offer opportunities to view a thriving reef community from above, across and below. Marvel at sharks and rays cruising through the water (the Indo-Pacific leopard sharks you’ll meet will be part of a world-first endangered shark breeding program to restore their wild populations). Watch schools of brightly-colored fish swimming as one. Learn about animal care and conservation through daily talks and presentations. And develop a deeper appreciation for the importance of sharks and coral reefs through hands-on activity stations.


Visit a shoreline mangrove forest above the surface and a coral reef below! You’ll be enthralled by this two-level, living portrait of coral reef builders. Don’t miss the mangrove lagoon, where you can see these incredible trees up close and learn about how they thrive in salt water—with small rays and schooling fish darting between their roots.


Found throughout the Indo-Pacific, these fish get their names from the barbels, which resemble whiskers, on their lower jaw. With sensory receptors that can help locate prey by touch and taste, the barbels help goatfish find food in the sand or crevices in the reef.

Three goatfish swimming against a transparent background.

One Ocean Hall

Journey to the far reaches of the ocean through 360º video and interactive displays that spotlight marine ecosystems from around the world in this central atrium space. Powerful imagery projected across the floor and walls will transport you into the homes and habitats of marine creatures large and small. See coral spawn. Explore a kelp forest. Discover bioluminescent life in the ocean’s deepest recesses. And more.

Rendering of guests throughout One Ocean Hall, a large central multi-media experience within the main area of the Seattle Aquarium's new Ocean Pavilion expansion.
Rendering depicting guests looking at multiple habitats featuring different tropical marine life in the Seattle Aquarium's Ocean Pavilion At Home in the Ocean space.

AT home in the ocean

Get up close to species like clownfish, seahorses, leaf scorpionfish and more in this grouping of intimate habitats. Younger guests will love exploring the nearby Coral Reef Encounter, a crawl-through space where they’ll come face-to-face with reproductions and digital versions of reef inhabitants.

Indo-Pacific leopard shark against a transparent background.
Indo-pacific leopard shark
Once abundant in the Coral Triangle, these sharks are now nearly extinct due to overfishing and habitat loss. In 2020, the Seattle Aquarium—along with partners around the world—launched the ReShark coalition with the goal of restoring shark healthy populations, starting with Indo-Pacific leopard sharks in Indonesia.
Rendering depicting guests looking at the Jelly Nursery, a new featured area of the Seattle Aquarium's Ocean Pavilion expansion.

Jelly Nursery

Ever wondered about the life cycle of a jelly? This series of small habitats focuses on the various stages of jelly development, with Aquarium interpreters at the ready to explain the science of rearing these ancient, intriguing animals.

Rendering depicting guests at the Discovery Lab program space, listening to a Seattle Aquarium staff member, inside the Aquarium's Ocean Pavilion expansion.

Discovery lab

This flexible programming space provides opportunities to learn from Aquarium experts and participate in hands-on activities.

Excited about the ocean pavilion? Others are, too.

Play Video about Rendering of the front entrance of the Ocean Pavilion with guests looking up at the Oculus into an animal habitat. Why is the Ocean Pavilion exciting? Dr. Sylvia Earle explains.
Rendering showing guests outside the front entrance to the new Ocean Pavilion. A small child points up towards the Oculus, a window to a large underwater habitat where tropical fish and rays are shown swimming.
The Seattle Aquarium campus, as seen be drone, looking towards Pier 60, Pier 59 and the under construction Ocean Pavilion with downtown Seattle behind the buildings.
Rendering showing guests inside the Ocean Pavilion's new One Ocean Hall space, with views into different habitats and interactive videos playing along the walls and floor.

Designed To Benefit People And Planet

This world-class space is unlike any other setting in North America. It will help millions of Aquarium guests discover how each of us has an important role in restoring ocean health. Create new public space and increase accessibility between Pike Place Market and Waterfront Park by connecting to the new Overlook Walk. Support our growing work to restore healthy populations of endangered marine species. And model next-generation, sustainable urban design.

A few highlights:

  • No-cost experiences for the public: Look up and see the ocean! The outdoor plaza leading to the Ocean Pavilion’s front doors will provide an overhead view into its largest habitat, allowing all comers to witness a reef ecosystem without purchasing a ticket. Art installations near the building’s entrance and on the public rooftop will enhance a day on the waterfront for locals and tourists alike (see next section for details).
  • Green design: The Ocean Pavilion is a testament to our commitment to sustainability. For example, it will operate 100% fossil fuel-free and recirculate 96% of the salt water in its habitats. And its exterior features Forest Stewardship Council-certified, sustainably sourced Alaskan yellow cedar, procured from an Indigenous-led company. Learn about the rigorous green building certifications we’re pursuing and find details about the building’s sustainability features in our web story.
  • Accessible from top to bottom: The Ocean Pavilion will support sensory and access needs to create an inclusive experience for visitors of all abilities. In addition, a multi-modal, ADA-accessible pedestrian pathway will enable easy movement between Pike Place Market, the new Overlook Walk and the city’s new waterfront park—with gently sloping ramps and a public elevator.

Your gift helps advance our conservation mission

Daniel Friday, glass artist, demonstrating how he makes glass salmon in front of a live audience.
An artist creating a hand carved wooden paddle during a live demonstration at the Seattle Aquarium.
Native plants growing in a natural green space on the Seattle Aquarium's Ocean Pavilion rooftop, which is part of a public space connecting the Aquarium and the Waterfront to Pike Place Market.

Indigenous Knowledge Shapes Design Of The Ocean Pavilion

For more than 10,000 years, the Coast Salish people have stewarded the lands and waters of the Pacific Northwest. They continue to do so today. The Seattle Aquarium honors our location in this revered space and our ongoing collaboration with Coast Salish peoples and the urban Indigenous community as we reimagine our role as a 21st-century aquarium.

Co-creation with members of the Indigenous community has guided our Ocean Pavilion project for years. Early work included partnering with Colleen Echohawk (Pawnee and Upper Athabascan), founder of Headwaters People Consulting, to establish cross-cultural collaboration between local Coast Salish and urban Indigenous leaders and our design and architectural team. And consultant Robin Little Wing Sigo (Suquamish), director of research and strategic development for the Suquamish Tribe, traveled with our team to help open cross-cultural conversations in Indonesia.

Collaboration with Indigenous community members will also be evident in and around the new building:

  • An installation by local glass artist Daniel Joseph Friday (Lummi) will provide an inclusive welcome to the Ocean Pavilion—see the vision for it in this video. Friday was chosen by an all-Indigenous selection panel led by Asia Tail (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and member of the urban Native community).

  • Paddles symbolize the universal connection between people and the ocean—and the Ocean Pavilion will display paddles made by Indigenous paddle carvers from the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, Samoa and the Indo-Pacific.

  • Also inside the Ocean Pavilion, you’ll find a seasonal migration wheel of the Salish Sea created by visual artist Paige Pettibon (Confederated Salish and Kootenai).

  • On the building’s public roof, you’ll discover native plantings designed with guidance from traditional ecological knowledge-keeper Valerie Segrest (Muckleshoot), co-founder and principal at Tahoma Peak Solutions—as well as sandblasted images led by Owen Oliver (Quinault/Isleta Pueblo) of Headwater People Consulting.
Exterior of the Seattle Aquarium's new Ocean Pavilion building viewed from the front and side, while under construction, showcasing the buildings cedar wood paneling siding and large front glass windows. Construction equipment surrounds the building while work continues on completion.

Ocean Pavilion Planning And Progress

The Seattle Aquarium’s Ocean Pavilion, the first of several planned steps to expand our campus, has been a years-long process with many committed partners, generous donors and diverse collaborators along the way. Visit our progress page to learn more.

Website maintenance

Please note: Our ticketing and membership systems will be offline for approximately two hours starting at 10pm Pacific on Wednesday, July 10. During the maintenance window, online ticketing and membership will not be available.

Thank you for understanding.

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Two sea otters at the Seattle Aquarium floating on the water in their habitat, holding onto each other demonstrating a rafting behavior.

With your help, the Seattle Aquarium builds connections with our community to inspire conservation and curiosity for marine life. When you make an end-of-year gift by December 31, you'll be joining us in protecting our shared marine environment—now and for generations to come. Thank you!

An adult sea otter at the Seattle Aquarium looking upwards with its front paws resting on its front.

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Sea otter at the Seattle Aquarium laying on its back, raising its head and front paws.

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