A Trip to the Seattle Aquarium and the Gone Alaskan Way Viaduct

We were looking for a rainy day activity and found it at the Seattle Aquarium, where I was wowed by the beautiful sea life there.  I was also impressed by the Seattle waterfront without the Alaskan Way Viaduct – hang on for that story.  First l’ll show some of my favorites from the Aquarium.

When you first enter you see the ‘Window on Washington Waters’ –  a giant tank full of fish and creatures representative of Neah Bay.

If you time it right you’ll see a diver chatting up the audience. Here she’s feeding a wolf eel, which turns out is not an eel at all but a long fish with strong jaws. Docile they said, but I wouldn’t want to be in her flippers!!  🙂

Next was ‘Life on the Edge,’ a look into the tidepools of Puget Sound, with starfish and sea anemones that you can touch.

The giant Pacific Octopus are nearby. I loved watching them though I have mixed feelings at their confinement – always a conundrum. We were told if they show signs of stress they are released back into the wild.  I hope the octopus let them know.  This one weighs 50 pounds though they can grow up to 150 pounds and have arms that can span to 20 feet across!


The most colorful fish are found in the Tropical Pacific exhibit. Is it just me or is the Yellow Tang smiling?

Finding Nemo fish are everyone’s favorite. Don’t you think it’s time for the Clownfish to have a name change?

Finally here’s a look at the Underwater Dome – where you see local fish mostly in gray and silver, much like our weather. This male Lingcod was patiently guarding the eggs laid by Mrs. Lingcod, hiding in what looks like a Styrofoam package below.

After the Aquarium we strolled along the waterfront and stopped to watch the Wheel, which is more solid than appears in this ghost image.

More like this.

Now about that Viaduct!

For 66 years Seattle’s waterfront was marred by an ugly elevated highway that ran next to it.  Part of Highway 99, the Alaskan Way Viaduct was a noisy eyesore that blocked views of the waterfront from downtown. Here’s what it looked like from the Public Market.

And here’s what it looked like from underneath.

But I’m happy to report, it’s finally gone!

After the last earthquake it was deemed seismically unsafe. So after much political wrangling it was finally removed last year, piece by piece, and replaced by an underground tunnel built by a broad named Bertha. True!  Bertha was the giant boring machine that plowed underground for many years, becoming famous when she got stuck but finally broke through!

There’s still much to be done to beautify the area where the Viaduct once stood but we’re finally on the way to having a first class waterfront, where you can catch a ferry, have some fish and chips and enjoy the surrounding area in peace and quiet.

I can hardly wait!  🙂

~ Susanne

20 Comments on “A Trip to the Seattle Aquarium and the Gone Alaskan Way Viaduct

    • Yes, lots of memories. You sure got a nice view of Puget Sound if you were driving on the top tier. But it was really noisy and ugly if you were on the waterfront. I think it will be so much better without it. I can’t wait to see how it goes.

  1. Next time I visit Seattle, I want to go to the aquarium! Since I don’t scuba, it’s the best way for me to see the aquatic wildlife. How calm and soothing.

      • I think I would too. Thanks for the inspiration! The only time I went to Seattle, I joined a whale-watching tour and rode a horse in the beach. Very touristy, but since I’ve always lived land-locked, it was very fun. Good memories. I’m ready to return!

      • Seattle is wonderful in the summer. And while you’re here you’re close to 3 gorgeous National Parks, all worth a visit.

  2. Love aquariums! The one I visited in Chicago also does a great job of educating the public about the environmental damage humans have been doing to our oceans and why we need to be better stewards.

    • I love aquariums too! I’d love to visit the one in Chicago someday. Seattle does similar education, especially pertaining to sustainable seafood.

  3. I am a huge fan of octopuses. They are shy, antisocial creatures as a rule, and I am not happy about them being kept in aquariums. There is an amazing BBC film that tells you so much about them, including the fact that they have a very short lifespan. If you can find it online, it’s magical to watch. I can only get this short clip here.

    Best wishes, Pete.

    • Thanks Pete. I’ll check it out. There were 2 in the aquarium and I loved seeing them. At first. Then I wondered about them being kept in a tank and wished they could be free. The staff mentioned releasing them if they show signs of stress but I wondered how they could really know.

  4. Oh wow was the Viaduct part of the same highway 99 we have in California? I don’t know why I never realized it went that far up🤔

    • Interesting! I never really knew how far south it went either, but I just looked it up and confirmed it was the main highway running north/south from the Canadian border in Blaine, Washington to the Mexico/California border. There are still patches that exist throughout some retaining the Hwy 99 name.

  5. I’ve been to that aquarium in Seattle when visiting my brother’s family, and it is very nice. (Both of my Ohio siblings moved out there!) And I feel like a relative of mine (Kerry Moon) was up for mayor of Seattle (she didn’t win) and wanting to do much for the waterfront. It’s sure looking up–like everything in Seattle. Great post–and gorgeous fish pics!

    • Thanks so much for your comment. Nice that you have a family connection here! I’ve always loved the Seattle waterfront but it will be so much better now that the Viaduct’s gone! I’m looking forward to all the improvements!

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