Seattle Aquarium Ocean Pavilion


The Seattle Aquarium is attempting to take a bold first step to advance our conservation mission within and beyond our walls through the creation of the Ocean Pavilion. This ambitious project represents a reinvention of the Aquarium experience and will create a defining civic gem within Seattle’s future waterfront park.

From Seattle to the Indo-Pacific coral reefs, the Ocean Pavilion represents our shared future—and our shared responsibility to understand, celebrate and take action to preserve our one ocean. This is our best chance to shed light on the urgent threats facing our ocean, mobilize a new generation of marine conservationists and create something remarkable for our city in the process.

Seattle will be reconnected to the ocean through the Ocean Pavilion—a tremendous investment in public and private dollars that will help connect downtown, Pike Place Market and the waterfront as an iconic gathering place for all. Our relationship to the water started with the Coast Salish people and is at the heart of our values as a city today: of sustainability, innovation and respect for the natural world.

The Ocean Pavilion will be transformative for the Aquarium, for the waterfront, and for Seattle. It will:

    • Accommodate a 40% increase in expected attendance and visitors, which requires an approximately 48,000 square foot building and multi-modal pathways
    • Provide a continuous connection with the existing Seattle Aquarium to facilitate movement of visitors, volunteers, and staff, and to support Aquarium programming
    • Provide opportunities for public open space and enjoyment of the shoreline
    • Create a space that supports the Aquarium’s mission of Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment and provides the public with a global ocean experience

Together we can shape a new ocean story with the power to drive lasting change—in a place where people discover their own meaningful relationships to the ocean and are inspired to take action.

Request for Comments on the Scope of the Environmental Impact Statement

DESCRIPTION OF PROPOSAL: The proposed action would create a new structure located east of the existing aquarium on Alaskan Way and the future Waterfront Promenade. The proposal would be adjacent to the City of Seattle’s Overlook Walk, enhancing the pedestrian experience between the waterfront and the Pike Place Market. The proposed structure would include the development of approximately 50,000 gross square feet of public aquarium exhibits and associated support space. No construction in Elliott Bay would be required. Alternatives will be considered, including the configuration of the proposed structure, public open space and rooftop waterfront viewing space, as well as options for an off-site animal care facility.

PROPONENTS: City of Seattle through Seattle Parks and Recreation (City) and Seattle Aquarium Society

LOCATION OF PROPOSAL: The project area would be located within public property and bounded to the east by Alaskan Way and to the west by the future pedestrian promenade along the waterfront. The northern boundary of the project area would be at Pine Street and the approximate southern boundary would be at Pike Street. The off-site animal care facility location would be determined during preparation of the environmental impact statement (EIS).


EIS REQUIRED: The lead agency has determined this proposal is likely to have a significant adverse impact on the environment. A State Environmental Policy Act EIS is required under Revised Code of Washington 43.21C.030 (2)(c) and will be prepared. The lead agency has preliminarily identified the following areas for discussion in the EIS: transportation, construction, water quality, land use, public view protection, and historic and archaeological resources.

SCOPING: Scoping is an opportunity for interested stakeholders to provide input on the content and emphasis (the scope) of the EIS. The City invites agencies, tribal governments, and members of the public to provide input on the EIS scope relating to alternatives, probable significant adverse impacts, potential mitigation measures, and licenses or other approvals that may be required.

HOW TO COMMENT: Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Seattle Aquarium issued a Determination of Significance and Scoping Notice in May 2018. The public was provided an opportunity to comment during the public comment period and at a public scoping meeting held on May 24, 2018. Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Seattle Aquarium will be publishing the Draft EIS in late-summer/early-fall of 2018. Comments on the Draft EIS will be accepted during the public comment period during via email, written letter, or at the Draft EIS public meeting (date TBD).

MEETING DATE: Draft EIS Public Meeting Date TBD

WRITTEN COMMENTS: Send written scoping comments, requests to be added to the mailing list, or requests for sign language interpretation for the hearing impaired or other special assistance needs, by email at, or by mail at:

Seattle Aquarium EIS Scoping Comments
c/o Anchor QEA
720 Olive Way, Suite 1900


    • Concept design: 2017

    • Schematic design: 2018

    • Overall EIS: 2018

    • Draft EIS scoping: May 2018

    • Draft and final EIS publication: 2018

    • Design development: 2018-2019

    • Permitting: 2019-2020

    • Ocean Pavilion construction: 2021-2023

*Timeframes described in the Project Schedule are subject to change.


Seattle Aquarium Ocean Pavilion scoping boards — 5-24-18

Seattle Aquarium Ocean Pavilion Presentation — 5-24-18

Seattle Aquarium Ocean Pavilion Scoping Summary Report — 6-22-18

Waterfront at dusk

The Ocean Pavilion will serve as an important connector between downtown, Pike Place Market and the waterfront.**


**Preferred alternative of new Ocean Pavilion

Outside view of Ocean Pavilion looking north

The Seattle Aquarium's new Ocean Pavilion.**