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.
  • 1,288 volunteers gave 103,346 hours of service to the Aquarium in 2017. The donated value of this time is $2.4 million.
  • The Aquarium's combined annual operating budget of $18 million is generated through tickets, concessions income, memberships, grants and private contributions.
  • Over 25 million visitors since opening in 1977.
  • 859,823 visitors in 2017, with 47 percent of those being Washington state residents.
  • Over 1.8 million school children participants in 40 years; in the 2016-2017 school year we served nearly 40,000 students from 586 schools in 117 districts.

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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.
  • Plans for the new Ocean Pavilion expansion project are underway as part of the City-approved Aquarium master plan. The $113 million expansion project is aligned with the City's Office of the Waterfront and the Friends of the Waterfront projects and will help expand upon the Aquarium's conservation efforts. 

Seattle Aquarium

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