I went to the aquarium in June 2010 because it was included in my city pass and was near other attractions I was going to visit. When we first arrived we ate lunch in the cafe. I wouldn't recommend this. The food was overpriced and not that great, you can find much better places to eat nearby along the waterfront.
Then we walked around the aquarium. I was very surprised at how small it was. I'm from Chicago and I expected it to be more comparable to the Shedd, which it is not. They basically have a big wall of fish when you come in, the tide pools, and a small exhibit behind tide pools in one building. In another building they had the bird display, salmon hatchery exhibit, underwater dome, and the mammal’s area (seals). I may have missed one or two things, but that was basically it. You can pretty much walk through it in an hour. They do also have a decent gift shop, I got a few things there.
For me the coolest thing was the tide pool exhibit, you could actually reach in and touch starfish, etc. Lots of kids were clustered around it, so it must have been popular with the little ones. For the salmon hatchery, we were there in June, so too early to really see much with them. In the seal area they had some trainers working with them to do tricks, etc. It was a very small area and people were crowded around a small ledge to watch what was going on. The set up in the mammal area is poor for viewing, if you don't get there right away before the crowd you can't see and you have to stand up to watch. My mom was in a wheelchair and couldn't see at all.
Overall, this seemed more like a small town aquarium then one I would expect to find in a major city like Seattle. It wasn't bad or anything, I guess I just expected more.
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