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Find news and recent press releases about the Aquarium.

November 17, 2016

Media/Calendar Advisory

Santa SCUBA Dives at the Seattle Aquarium

Diving Santa
Noon and 3pm: Saturdays and Sundays, November 26–December 18
Plus noon on December 24

Get in the holiday spirit at the Seattle Aquarium!
Come see Santa diving in the 120,000-gallon Window on Washington Waters exhibit. Bring your camera, take your picture with Diving Santa and stay perfectly dry! Or have your photo taken by our professional photographer so the whole family can be in the picture. Donations will be accepted to help fund DreamNight events at the Seattle Aquarium. DreamNights are evenings dedicated to bringing children who have disabilities, are chronically ill, or who have special needs to the Aquarium for a special night of exploring the undersea world in a safe and relaxed atmosphere.

While you’re here to see Diving Santa, treat yourself to a special seasonal beverage at our café’s espresso bar and enjoy festive music.

Live musical performances at 1pm on:
November 26—Recess Monkey
November 27—Sol Quartet
December 3—The Not-Its!
December 4—Sol Quartet
December 10—Caspar Babypants
December 11—Sol Quartet
December 17—Puget Sound A Cappella
December 18—Sol Quartet
December 24—The Dickens Carolers

Winter hours/prices at the Aquarium:
The Aquarium’s admission gate is open 9:30am–5pm daily, with the exhibits closing at 6pm.
Holiday hours: We’re open Thanksgiving Day (November 24) and Christmas Eve (December 24) from 9:30am to 3pm with exhibits closing at 4pm; closed Christmas Day (December 25).
Admission fees: Adults $24.95; Youth (4–12) $16.95; Children 3 and younger are admitted FREE.

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Tim Kuniholm
(206) 386-4345

October 27, 2016

Photo opportunity/Media adviosry

Aquarium Halloween

WHEN: Friday, October 28, noon

WHAT: Come preview the special, spooky weekend activities taking place at the Aquarium with Aquarium scuba divers carving Halloween pumpkins underwater AND master carver Russ Leno turning a 500-pound squash into a work of art!

WHERE: Seattle Aquarium, 1483 Alaskan Way, Pier 59, Seattle, WA, Window on Washington Waters exhibit. Please use the main Aquarium entrance.

Underwater pumpkin carving is just one of the activities planned for the Aquarium’s Halloween extravaganza October 29–30. Additional photo opportunities include:

  • Master carver Russ Leno wielding sharp knives and tools! He’ll be sculpting additional giant pumpkins on 10/29 and 10/30. Leno has carved all over the world, working in such mediums as wood, ice, sand, watermelons and of course, giant pumpkins.
  • Watch our adorable otters have their own Halloween hilarity with eerie ice toys! Ice toy creators will discuss the creepy craft of creating these cold culinary compositions, and then offer them to our otters in this frighteningly informative demonstration taking place at 1pm both Saturday and Sunday.
  • Not to be outdone, the river otters will get hair-raising pumpkin treats at 12:30pm on Saturday and Sunday. And what will happen at the ominous octopus feedings at noon and 4pm each day?
  • Two Teal Pumpkin stations will be included in the celebration this year, to give peace of mind to parents of children with food allergies.

Hours/prices at the Aquarium:
The Aquarium’s admission gate is open 9:30am to 5pm daily, with the exhibits closing at 6pm. Admission fees: Adults $24.95; Youth (4–12) $16.95; children 3 and younger are admitted free. Tickets are now available online.

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Tim Kuniholm
(206) 386-4345

September 29, 2016

Cedar River Salmon Journey Begins!

Saturday & Sunday, October 1 & 2, 11am to 4pm

Renton Library, Cedar River Park, Cavanaugh Pond Natural Area, and Landsburg Park and Dam.

Trained volunteer naturalists will be on site at four riverside locations around Renton and Maple Valley to provide free salmon viewing programs for the whole family. Join the Cedar River Salmon Journey program to learn about our local salmon that are returning to the Cedar River now, and find out what we can all do to help them. Visitors can expect to see sockeye, plus possibly chinook and coho salmon.

Additional dates: October 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, and 23 from 11am to 4pm.

Background: Since 1998, over 106,000 people have participated in the Cedar River Salmon Journey, learning about our local salmon and the watershed we share with them, plus the challenges salmon face today, including habitat loss and changing ocean conditions.

The Cedar River Salmon Journey is sponsored by the Seattle Aquarium and Seattle Public Utilities with funding from a King County Flood Control District Cooperative Watershed Management Grant, and support from the City of Renton, the WRIA8 Salmon Recovery Council, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District. Further information on the program and directions to program sites can be found on our website at

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Laura Austin
(206) 386-4329

September 28, 2016

Join the Seattle Aquarium for engaging family fun this fall and winter!

October 2016–January 2017

Seattle Aquarium, 1483 Alaskan Way, Pier 59, Seattle, WA

Toddler Time
From dressing up like a wolf eel to fish-print painting and water play with ocean animal toys, Toddler Time keeps even the busiest of bodies engaged and entertained. A myriad of developmentally age-appropriate, hands-on activities await for tots to explore.

In our classrooms on select Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays. For children ages five and under; must be accompanied by an adult. FREE with Aquarium admission.

Drop in for any length of time 9:30am–noon
October 9, 10, 11, 23, 24, 25
November 6, 7, 8, 20, 21, 22
December 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13
January 8, 9, 10, 22, 23, 24
February 5, 6, 7, 26, 27, 28

Cedar River Salmon Journey, select weekends in October
FREE family-friendly salmon viewing programs!

Watch our local salmon spawning in the Cedar River, learn about their adventures and discover what we can all do to improve watershed health. Volunteer naturalists will be stationed from 11am to 4pm on October 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22 and 23 at four locations along the Cedar River in the Renton and Maple Valley areas. Carpool if you can—these sites have limited parking. For a flyer with directions or to get more information visit

Halloween fun at the Seattle Aquarium, October 29–30
Get your Halloween celebration started early! Put on your costume and join us for creepy games and activities, face painting, fun treats and two kinds of pumpkin carving demonstrations—on land with master carver Russ Leno and underwater with our Aquarium divers.

Discover Science Weekend, November 11–13
Bring the family to explore science together through exciting interactive experiments and presentations. Meet scientists and researchers from the Aquarium as well as other organizations in the community to learn about current projects, as well as why and how the research is being conducted.

Lightning Talks
Discover Science Weekend kickoff event
Thursday, November 10, 7–10pm at the Seattle Aquarium

Join us for an exciting opportunity to learn about marine science research from local scientists during Lightning Talks, part of our larger Discover Science Weekend. Scientists will give five-minute glimpses into a variety of topics while inspiring guests to take an active role in marine conservation. Desserts will be served; no-host bar. Admission to the Seattle Aquarium included. Registration open October 1 at

Diving Santa, Saturdays and Sundays, November 26–December 24
Come to the Aquarium and get in the mood for the winter holidays! Meet Diving Santa, take a photo and treat yourself to a seasonal beverage at our café’s espresso bar. With special holiday concerts featuring local Puget Sound groups on select weekends.

Winter Fishtival, December 26, 2016–January 2, 2017
Join us for hands-on activities, special talks and opportunities to learn more about the marine animals at the Aquarium and in Puget Sound. Each day will feature a different sea animal and activities. Included with Aquarium admission, no reservation necessary.

Hawaii in Your Own Backyard, January 14–16
Take a break from winter, dress up in Aloha wear, and join us at the Aquarium to explore a little of the tropics. Discover some of the unique sea life that originates only in the Hawaiian Islands.

Hours/prices at the Aquarium:
The Aquarium’s admission gate is open 9:30am to 5pm daily, with the exhibits closing at 6pm. Admission fees: Adults $22.95; youth (4-12) $15.95; children 3 and under are admitted free.

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Tim Kuniholm
(206) 386-4345

May 31, 2016

Seattle Aquarium Staff Selected to Explore the Ocean Aboard Titanic Shipwreck Discoverer Dr. Robert Ballard's Exploration Vessel Nautilus

Educators and students participate in groundbreaking STEM initiative exploring deep-sea biology, geology, and archaeology in the Eastern Pacific

(Seattle, WA)-Lindsay Holladay from the Seattle Aquarium has been selected as a 2016 Science Communication Fellow and will sail aboard Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus during its 2016 expedition. Lindsay will join the Corps of Exploration aboard E/V Nautilus in June as they explore the Cascadia Margin to locate a WWII-era wreck, map unknown methane seeps, and explore areas off the Washington and Oregon coast that have never before been seen by human eyes.

Seventeen educators and 22 students from around the world have been selected from a competitive pool of applicants by the Ocean Exploration Trust (OET) to participate at sea during the 2016 Nautilus Exploration Program expedition. OET, a nonprofit founded by Dr. Robert Ballard in 2008, has the mission to explore the ocean, seeking out new discoveries in the fields of geology, biology, maritime history, archaeology, physics and chemistry while pushing the boundaries of STEM education and technological innovation. The selected educators and students hail from schools, universities, after-school programs, science centers, aquaria and nonprofit organizations in 20 states in the US and Australia. They will join the Nautilus Corps of Exploration during sea-going expeditions from May through September in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

Lindsay says, “I’m thrilled to be part of the team exploring our local Cascadia Margin, the geologically active and mineral-rich zone around our colliding tectonic plates. I hope my role will help bridge viewers from around the world to the cutting-edge science occurring thousands of meters below the surface.”

As members of the Corps of Exploration, educators and students will stand watch alongside scientists and engineers, as well as participate in live interactions with shore-based audiences via Nautilus Live, a 24-hour web portal bringing expeditions from the field to future explorers on shore via telepresence technology at and via social media.

OET promotes science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education around the world using the excitement of exploration and innovation to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. In 2014, OET began targeting its suite of education and outreach programs to specific communities through an exciting new initiative, the Community STEM Program (CSP). The CSP allows partner communities to engage community members in all of the educational programs OET offers, which are designed to guide young students to early career professionals and educators through a series of programs focused on STEM fields and vocations, increasing the impact the programs can have in any individual location. OET’s focus on the CSP represents a new approach that forges relationships across community partners with the common goal of increasing STEM literacy and proficiency.

“One of the major goals of our Nautilus Exploration Program is to inspire the next generation of explorers in STEM fields,” said OET Vice President of Education, Outreach and Communications Alison Fundis, adding, “We are very excited to provide educators and students with the direct experience of ocean exploration, while allowing them the opportunity to share that experience with their peers around the world.”

The 2016 Science Communication Fellowship, an initiative of OET, will bring together 17 formal and informal educators from around the world as a part of the Nautilus Corps of Exploration. Fellows are charged with the responsibility of engaging students and the public in the wonders of ocean exploration and sharing discoveries from the 2016 mission as well as aspects of daily life aboard a working exploration vessel. Fellows receive four days of intensive training at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography, and then spend two to three weeks aboard E/V Nautilus between the months of May and September as it explores the Eastern Pacific Ocean. An equally important aspect of the program is for fellows to bring the expedition and excitement of ocean exploration back to their home communities after they have returned from sea by incorporating their experience into classroom lesson plans, community presentation events, and through informal educational opportunities.

“We’re excited for Lindsay’s participation in the Nautilus cruise and even more excited for her to bring what she’s learned back to our students and visitors,” said Jim Wharton, director of conservation and education at the Seattle Aquarium.

Lindsay will participate in live audio commentary and question-and-answer sessions through the Nautilus Live website ( while aboard the ship; she will also engage events and activities upon her return. Global audiences can tune in to the website, Facebook or Instagram at NautilusLive, and on Twitter as @EVNautilus to follow their expedition. **The Seattle Aquarium will host a live interactive program with Lindsay on World Oceans Day, Wednesday, June 8 at 10:30am.

About the Ocean Exploration Trust
The Ocean Exploration Trust was founded in 2008 by Dr. Robert Ballard to explore the ocean, seeking out new discoveries in the fields of geology, biology, maritime history and archaeology while pushing the boundaries of STEM education and technological innovation. The international program is launched from aboard the Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus, offering live exploration to participants on shore and the public via live video, audio and data feeds. The major 2016 expedition and education sponsors are the NOAA Office of Exploration & Research, the Office of Naval Research, NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, the University of Rhode Island, CITGO, and additional private donors. Follow us online at, on Facebook and Instagram at NautilusLive, and on Twitter as @EVNautilus.

About the Seattle Aquarium
The Seattle Aquarium is one of Washington State’s leading environmental education and stewardship institutions, and the region’s gathering place for discussion and sharing information about marine conservation. It maintains a number of research initiatives in cooperation with federal, state, zoological and university partners. The Aquarium is located on Pier 59, at 1483 Alaskan Way.


Tim Kuniholm
(206) 386-4345

May 31, 2016

Calendar Advisory:
Kick off summer fun at the Seattle Aquarium and on local beaches!

Meet us at the beach! 2016 summer Beach Naturalist program
Join trained volunteers and explore our local beaches and the amazing animals that live there! Beach naturalists will be stationed at 12 different beaches on low-tide days throughout the summer. Visit for dates, times, locations and driving directions.

World Ocean Weekend, June 11–12:
Celebrate the world’s one big ocean with us and learn to be an ocean hero! Everyone, no matter where they live, can help keep the ocean clean and healthy. We'll show you how with a variety of hands-on activities and special demonstrations. We’ll also have a special show featuring Captain Barnacles and Kwazii Kitten—Octonauts: To Your Stations!

Hours/prices at the Aquarium:
The Aquarium’s admission gate is open 9:30am to 5pm daily, with the exhibits closing at 6pm. Admission fees (as of June 1, 2016): Adults $24.95; Youth (4–12) $16.95; Children 3 and under are admitted free.

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Tim Kuniholm
(206) 386-4345

March 31, 2016

Virginia Mason partners with Seattle Aquarium to provide hyperbaric oxygen therapy for rescued sea turtle

Tucker, sea turtle receives treatment at Virginia MasonSEATTLE—A rescued sea turtle undergoing rehabilitation at the Seattle Aquarium became the first nonhuman treated in the hyperbaric oxygen chamber at Virginia Mason Hospital earlier this week when medical experts and marine wildlife veterinarians collaborated in an effort to compress internal gas bubbles that prevent the reptile from diving or remaining under water.

The 70-pound olive ridley sea turtle, named Tucker by aquarium staff who have cared for him since December, is undergoing tests at the Seattle Aquarium this week to determine if hyperbaric therapy—which involved breathing 100 percent oxygen for about 2 ½ hours—corrected his buoyancy problem. The turtle cannot be safely released back into the Pacific Ocean until he is able to dive normally, which is important for him to find food and avoid predators and other threats, such as boats.

While at the Virginia Mason Center for Hyperbaric Medicine on Monday, the 20-year-old turtle was closely monitored by a team of experts that included Seattle Aquarium veterinarian Lesanna Lahner, DVM, MPH, and James Holm, MD, medical director at the Center for Hyperbaric Medicine. Drs. Lahner and Holm, and hyperbaric nurse Alyson Barger, RN, were inside the hyperbaric chamber with Tucker from the start of therapy through completion. The turtle was watched closely with a heart monitor and assisted with breathing via a tube in his airway. He was provided sedation and tolerated the treatment well.

"We are honored that the Seattle Aquarium team contacted us about using hyperbaric oxygen as a possible treatment to help Tucker on his road to recovery,” said Dr. Holm, who is board-certified in undersea and hyperbaric medicine and has been a scuba diver for 40 years. “We have treated many scuba divers over the years for a gas bubble disease known as decompression sickness, which is also called ‘the bends.’ This is the first time we have been asked to assist in the care of a sea turtle, which are excellent divers themselves.”

Hyperbaric oxygen has been tested as a treatment for decompression-like sickness in sea turtles, according to a study from Spain published in the October 2014 edition of Diseases of Aquatic Organisms. But this is believed to be the first time the therapy has been used for a sea turtle in the United States with Tucker’s specific ailment.

During treatment sessions, the hyperbaric chamber is pressurized with air to about three times the normal atmospheric pressure. Patients breathe 100 percent oxygen, enabling their blood to carry up to 15 times the normal amount of oxygen to organs and tissues. This can help “crush” bubbles, as well as provide high tissue oxygen levels to restore normal tissue function.

In December, Tucker was found stranded and near death on the Oregon Coast far from his usual warm-water Pacific Ocean habitat off Southern California and Mexico. He has been undergoing treatment and rehabilitation at the Seattle Aquarium to correct the effects of severe pneumonia. Hand-fed and nurtured by the aquarium staff, the turtle has regained weight and a normal body temperature. However, a CT (computerized tomography) scan showed gas bubbles may be trapped in his body, making him too buoyant to dive successfully and find food on his own in the wild.

“I am thrilled that Virginia Mason and its amazing team were willing to bring Tucker the sea turtle into the hyperbaric chamber,” said Lahner. “Not only will the treatment potentially help him to be released back into the wild, but it has provided us valuable information about the diving physiology of sea turtles as we were able to closely monitor his vitals and blood gases throughout the entire procedure.

“This has been an exciting collaboration of veterinary medicine and human health care providers,” she added.

Virginia Mason is the region’s leading provider of hyperbaric oxygen treatment for conditions such as carbon monoxide poisoning and decompression sickness, a potentially life-threatening hazard of scuba diving. Its Level 1, 24-hour hyperbaric medicine program is one of the few in the United States accredited “with distinction” by the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society.

In addition to decompression sickness and carbon monoxide poisoning, the Virginia Mason Center for Hyperbaric Medicine treats medical conditions such as diabetic wounds and tissue damaged by radiation during cancer therapy. “Treatment of radiation tissue injury is our most common indication,” Dr. Holm said. “The condition requires multiple treatments and has excellent outcomes.”

The center provides about 8,000 hours of patient treatment annually. The tube-shaped hyperbaric oxygen chamber, measuring 10 feet wide and 46 feet long, can accommodate as many as 16 human patients at one time.

The Center for Hyperbaric Medicine was established more than 40 years ago and has been in its current location at Virginia Mason Hospital since 2005. The program’s medical staff members have published nearly 100 articles about hyperbaric medicine in a variety of medical journals.


Media Contacts:
Gale Robinette
Virginia Mason Health System
(206) 341-1509

Tim Kuniholm
(206) 386-4345




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