Quick facts

Seattle Aquarium

  • The Seattle Aquarium operates as a nonprofit 501c3 through a long-term operating agreement with the City of Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation.
  • Accredited by the Assocation of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), it is the ninth largest aquarium in the U.S. by attendance and among the top five paid visitor attractions in the Puget Sound region.
  • Opened in 1977, the Seattle Aquarium expanded by 18,000 square feet in 2007 with $42 million of new exhibits, a gift shop and food service as well as meeting and event facilities.
  • The Aquarium's species collection is featured within six major exhibits: Window on Washington Waters, Life on the Edge, Pacific Coral Reef, Underwater Dome, Birds & Shores and Marine Mammals.
  • The Aquarium employs approximately 100 full-time staff.
  • 1,235 volunteers gave 97,812 hours of service to the Aquarium in 2016. The donated value of this time is $2.3 million.
  • The Aquarium's combined annual operating budget of $16.8 million is generated through tickets, concessions income, memberships, grants and private contributions.
  • Over 25 million visitors since opening in 1977.
  • 848,462 visitors in 2016, with 47 percent of those being Washington state residents.
  • Over 1.8 million school children participants in 40 years; over 40,000 in 2016.

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Of interest

  • Biologists at the Seattle Aquarium conduct critical research on a variety of Puget Sound species including: sea stars and sea star wasting disease, giant Pacific octopuses, sixgill sharks and northern sea ottersall in an effort to contribute to the health of our local marine environment.
  • Partnering with local divers, the Seattle Aquarium biologists conduct an annual octopus census to establish local population trends.
  • Every summer, the Aquarium trains over 150 Beach Naturalist volunteers to visit local beaches during low-tide weekends and engage families in hands-on exploration of their local marine environment while increasing their understanding of how their everyday actions affect Puget Sound.
  • The creation of a Marine Conservation Network, convened by the Aquarium, opened up new opportunities for marine conservation leadership through focusing on building stronger awareness and action to protect Puget Sound and the oceans.
  •  The Seattle Aquarium's youth volunteer program, Youth Ocean Advocates, includes the "Puget Sound: We Love You" campaign, which aims to increase awareness and conservation of Puget Sound in teens as well as their families; and to leverage the influence of teens to reach out to the public in new and vibrant ways.
  • The Aquarium's sea otter conservation program consolidates the institution's efforts related to sea otter research, husbandry and education. 
  • A new harbor seal exhibit, completed in 2013, was the first step in the institution's 20-year strategic plan, which includes a goal of increasing its footprint by nearly 70 percent.

Seattle Aquarium

Robert W. Davidson, President & CEO
1483 Alaskan Way, Pier 59
Seattle, WA 98101