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“Gardens and fish ... free!”

Hiram M. Chittenden Locks
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$70.00*
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Seattle in One Day: Sightseeing Tour including Space Needle and Pike Place...
Ranked #9 of 462 things to do in Seattle
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Attraction details
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (locally known as the Ballard Locks) is a waterway system that connects the saltwater of the Puget Sound to the fresh water of the Ship Canal, which sits about 20 feet above sea level.  Boats enter the locks, the gates close and the water rises or falls to the level of the destination waterway.  Watching boats pass through the locks, exploring the 7 acres of botanical gardens and looking for fish on the fish ladder is fun and free entertainment that draws locals and tourists alike.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children
Reviewed October 22, 2011

There is no charge at this location, and you'll find a pleasant botanical garden. The working lock is cool, but the main attraction is the fish ladder. Come in late summer for that -- I came in October and only saw one fish, which wasn't on the ladder.

1  Thank Richard K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,643 - 2,647 of 2,749 reviews

Reviewed October 18, 2011

We squished a quick visit to the Locks in at the end of our day, so we didn't stay for long, and we were far too late to catch a tour, which I think would've been a great addition to our visit.

We did enjoy learning about the lock system and the salmon ladder through the signs posted and the audio piece in the salmon ladder viewing area. I thought the viewing windows were great, and though someone told us not to expect to see salmon in the ladder, we did!

The surrounding gardens looked beautiful as well. Wish we could've stayed longer to enjoy them. All in all, this is free and totally worth the visit. We did have a car, which made getting here easy, so I can't comment on the ease of visiting via public transportation.

1  Thank wildorchid416
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 11, 2011

The Locks are a favorite place to visit when I am in Seattle. The Salmon Ladder is great for kids- there are glass windows along the side so you can watch the salmon climb the ladder. The steady stream of boats of all sizes entering the locks and the salmon ladder make this an entertaining way to spend a few hours.

1  Thank Atl30309
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 22, 2011

We visited on an absolutely gorgeous and sunny Seattle day. There really was so much to see. From the botanical gardens to the constant stream of boats in and out of the locks, to the fish ladders and the non-stop hum of float planes overhead. We have two little boys and they were both pretty interested in all of it. We saw some pricey yachts, some fishing boats, all ranges, coming in and out...a great slice of maritime life.

We were there over Labour Day weekend and it was relatively quiet. We found great vantage points to see all the cool stuff and there is a gorgeous, brushed-steel sculpture of waves that made for some great family shots...all without a horde of people around.

In a big city, it was wonderful to find a place right in the heart, and yet far away from the crowds.

1  Thank jess152
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 18, 2011

The locks themselves are interesting, free, and open late. At the far end, there is a salmon ladder. We caught the tail-end of the salmon run so we saw about half a dozen salmon in 30mins swimming upstream through the ladder viewing area.There are 4 large windows where you can view the salmon swimming upstream.

Thank photodiver12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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