The aquarium promotes marine conservation and instructs over 800,000 visitors each year, including 50,000 students, to learn about their impacts on marine life. It also conducts research on marine life. In June 2013, an 18,000-square-foot (1,700 m2) expansion opened that includes a new 2,625-square-foot (243.9 m2) gift store and café, as well as two new exhibits: Window on Washington Waters and Crashing Waves.
Salmon in the underwater dome at The Seattle Aquarium.
View of Seattle Aquarium along Alaskan Way, Seattle
The salmon ladder
Window on Washington Waters is a 120,000-US-gallon (450,000 l) tank created as part of the 2007 expansion. It is meant to replicate the coastal waters of Washington state from about 5 to 60 feet (1.5 to 18.3 m), and feature native marine life including salmon, rockfish, and sea anemones. There are dive shows which take place several times a day. Divers wearing special masks are able to converse with visitors.
The Crashing Waves Exhibit is a 40-foot (12 m) wave tank that replicates Washington shores from the intertidal zone to a depth of about 5 feet (1.5 m).
Life on the Edge was opened in 2002. Two large exhibit pools that include touch zones allow visitors to see the tidepool life of Washington's outer coast and of Seattle's inland sea.
Life of a Drifter includes a 12-foot (3.7 m) high glass "donut" where visitors can be surrounded by moon jellies, a multi-species display featuring the giant Pacific octopus, and a 13-foot (4.0 m) touch table where visitors can view some of the area's drifters including juvenile rockfish, sea stars, and plankton.
Pacific Coral Reef is a man-made coral reef in a 25,000-US-gallon (95,000 l) tank that contains fish that live in and around reefs.
Birds and Shores consists of three separate areas. Northwest Shores is an area which shows birds in a variety of habitats of the coastal Northwest. Alcids has diving birds such as tufted puffins and common murres. There is also a Shorebird exhibit.
The Marine Mammals area includes exhibits for harbor seals, Northern fur seals, sea otters, and river otters, as well as the Orca Family Activity Center. The Orca Family Activity Center is meant to educate visitors about orcas, particularly those belonging to the Southern Resident Community residing in Puget Sound.
The Underwater Dome is an exhibit viewed from a mostly transparent spherical undersea room in a 400,000-US-gallon (1,500,000 l) tank. It was built as part of the original construction and opened in 1977. The tank exhibits species that would be found in Puget Sound including salmon, Lingcod, sharks, sturgeon, skates, and rockfish.