Seattle Aquarium Pier 59

Seattle Aquarium Pier 59

The Seattle Aquarium will take you “under the water” and give you a “real feel” for the marine life in Puget (pew-jet)  Sound.  Come join us as we stroll through the Under-the-sea,  Seattle Aquarium.

In fact, you ‘otter’ come and visit the  sea otter during feeding times.  These little balls of fun and fur will touch your hearts as you watch their antics.

Joe...Joe...wake up! People are here and it's time to eat...again!

Joe…Joe…wake up! People are here and it’s time to eat……..again!

The Tide Pool

One of the most popular exhibit is the tide pool where you’ll be able to have that “real feel” of these animals.  Why not come and see for yourself?

Join us at  the waterfront off Alaskan Way and look for the Giant Wheel.  After finding the Wheel, you can’t miss the Seattle Aquarium with it’s view and dock, extending out into the Sound on Pier 59.

Need an address?  1483 Alaskan Way Seattle , Wa.  98101  or just call (206) 386-4300 and you’ll be able to find all the information you’ll need to make your visit in Seattle enjoyable.

Seattle's Wheel and nearby Aquarium

Seattle’s Aquarium and nearby Wheel

An Enjoyable Short History Lesson

Being located on the waterfront, it was only a matter of time before Seattle created the Seattle Aquarium.  Initially it was owned and operated by the Department of Parks and Recreation beginning in 1977.  However, in 2010, the nonprofit Seattle Aquarium Society took over management.

The Aquarium averages some 800,000 visitors annually.  With conservation and instructions for future marine interests, students and visitors alike, come to learn about their impacts on local marine life.

The gift store and cafe are handy for a little break and a memorabilia of the aquarium so you can remember your visit to Seattle’s waterfront Aquarium.  🙂

The Window On Washington Waters

One exhibit you’ll enjoy is the 120,000 gallon tank that was designed and built in 2007.   It’s purpose is to duplicate the waters off the coast of Washington.  It has a variety of  local marine life.  Keep an eye open for the Sea anemones, salmon and even some rockfish.

Oh, and don’t forget to wave at the divers in this huge water tank as they entertain visitors during the day!

Come See The Crashing Waves Exhibit

If you enjoy watching and/or hearing the soothing sounds of the ocean waves on a beautiful beach, then the Crashing Waves Exhibit will really give you that peaceful, restful atmosphere.

The tidepool exhibit will give you that “up close and personal” experience.  You’ll get the “feel” of it very quickly.

The Tidepool

The Tide pool & Life on the Edge Exhibit

Life of a Drifter features a large glass “donut” where you’ll quickly be surrounded by ‘moon jellies’ and  giant Pacific octopus along with the nearby and very handy, 13 foot touch-tank.

The Pacific Coral Reef keeps us informed about the local marine life that surrounds the reefs.  It will give us a peek into coral reef life.

Strange But True

Oddities that live in and around the Puget (pew-jet) Sound and Elliott Bay waterfront, can give us much enjoyment along with many ‘oohs and aahs’ when we see the pinecone fish, the cowfish, flying gurnards, potbellied seahorses and even the short dragonfish.

Harbor seals, Northern fur seals, sea otters and river otters can be seen also.

The Marine Mammals and “Killer Whales”

The Orca Family Activity Center a.k.a. Killer Whale exhibit, will help us to understand these highly intelligent  creatures.   Being social, you’ll learn how they stay together and see how their hunting techniques and vocal behaviors are passed on to succeeding generation.

Often times we can see these magnificent animals in the wild when on the ferry boats.

Viewed as a threatened or endangered animal because of habitat loss, pollution or capture for marine mammal parks along with conflicts with some local fisheries, you’ll want to see how you can help.

Feels like you can reach out and touch them

Feels like you can reach out and touch them

The Underwater Dome

As you enter this underwater room with it’s 400,000 gallon water tank, you’ll be transfixed by the clarity of the water and the glass.  Sharks, salmon, Lingcod, sturgeon, skates along with more rockfish will be seen here.

Still want to reach out ?

Still want to reach out ?

The “Other Zoos”

The Seattle Aquarium has so much to see that you may not be able to see it all in one day.  However, don’t let that stop you from a return visit.

But what about all the other animals and interesting sites of Seattle and it’s surroundings ?

The Woodland Park Zoo is located nearby for those of us who enjoy getting out of doors.

If you’re up for a short drive and would like to see a real frontier Fort along with more animals,  then the Point Defiance Zoo would be another great place to visit.

It's nap time

It’s nap time.  Thanks for stopping by.      🙂

Written by:  Tom McDaniel SHARE this site 🙂

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Seattle Ferry Boats, an Adventure in Themselves.

Cascade Mountains in background of Seattle Ferry Boats

Olympic Mountains in background of modern day Seattle Ferry Boats

It’ been said, “Once a sailor, always a sailor.”  But you say, “I’m not a sailor!”  Well, the next best thing to it is to catch a ride on one of the Seattle Ferry Boasts.

It’s a blast!  Ever seen the newer movie version of  Titanic?  Remember the scene when Kate Winslet goes to the front of the bow and stands on the rails?

The ocean air blowing in her face and the wide open ocean before her?  Well, it’s not quite like that, but very, very close.

Rather than bore you with all sorts of statistics about the ferry boats and how they work, I’ll just give you a brief history of them, in capsule form.

Officially known now as: Washington State Ferries, or WSF. It boasts  the largest ferry system in the U.S.  It not only serves eight counties, but also all of British Columbia, Canada.

The 22 vessels carry more than 10 million vehicles and some 22 million passengers each year.  Why not be a walk-on passenger and see what it’s all about?

The “Mosquito Fleet”

It’s unofficial history began way back in the very early 1900’s with a small group of privately owned steamers that would carry people to their destination.  This group of steamer’s were know as the “Mosquito Fleet.”

mosquito fleet

A typical “Mosquito Fleet” steamer. circa 1900

It was not until after WW II and the problems with striking union worker’s, that the state finally realized that this ferry system was a lifeline for many communities and that some type of regular commute must be put in order for this continuingly growing demand for ferry services across Puget Sound (pew jet).

Finally, in 1951, WSF came into existence.  However, it did not take very long for the state to realize that their ferry boats were too small for the demand!

After the small owner operated transportation services were done away with, a  much larger class of boat was built.  It was known as The Evergreen State-class vessel.

Quickly, it too, was deemed to be too small.  Then the Super-ferry class vessels came into existence, then the Jumbo-class and finally in about 1999, the Jumbo Mark II-class ferries were built.

How long until they are outdated?  Only time will tell.  But why is it that they can not keep up with the demand?

 It’s a long story but it has to do with: when people from around the U.S. come to visit Seattle, they stay!

The "Fleet" lined up in circa 1909

The “Fleet” lined up in circa 1909

Cast Off !

OK, enough of that.  Let’s get to the ride with the Seattle Ferry Boats.  If you’ve not been on a ferry, I would suggest going as a walk on.

Not only is it less expensive, but if you take your vehicle, you must off-board it when you land, then when you want to board again, you will be waiting in the (usually) very long lines along with other cars, to drive aboard.

It’s much simpler to just walk on board as a passenger.  Also, there are many places locally, once you get to your destination,  that you can either grab a taxi, or rent a vehicle or motorcycle to go sightseeing.  Keep that in mind when you board.

You have pretty much free reign of the ferry, all except where the cars are loaded.  No one is allowed there until it’s time to unload.

You can go out on deck, up to as near the bow as allowed,  over to the rails, up to the top deck, the middle deck or even the lowest passenger deck.  Whichever you choose, you will love the view.

Speaking about the beautiful view, be sure and take lots of pictures as mementos of your visit here.

Seattle Ferry Boats as seen today.

Seattle Ferry Boats as seen today.

There Be Whales In Them Thar Waters, Captain !

Off in the distance, you’ll see the Olympic Mountains, usually snow capped year round.   And, if you  are in the right place at the right time, you can see a pod of Orcas (killer whales) working their way through Puget (pew jet) Sound on their way up to Alaska to get to their hunting grounds for the Alaskan Salmon.

sea orca ferry

A pod of Orca’s seen from Seattle Ferry Boats.

On the other hand, locally,  you can see harbor seals playing througout the Sound, usually year round.  But remember, though the seals “look” friendly, stay back from them when on land.  Remember, these are wild animals, and as always, wild animals do bite.

Pest ?

The local fishermen view the harbor seals as a “pest” as they invade the fishing areas when fishing season comes around.  I can recall when the authorities were notified by the professional fishermen that the seals were eating up their livelihood.  All types of noise makers were used to scare them off.  Nope, nothing seemed to work.  The seals just ignored the sounds.  Many wanted to just shoot them.  Sorry, but that is NOT going to happen!  So what was the solution?  Leave them alone.  Simple.

Cute Little Harbor Seal :)

Cute Little Harbor Seal 🙂

 

So Long To An Old Friend

There are many ferry’s to choose from now, however, my favorite was the former, Princess Marguerite.  The Princess was designed for comfort for it’s passengers.  However, she is long gone, since 1997,  within the breaking up shipyards of  Alang, India.  🙁

Beautiful Princess Marguerite. Photo: Will Borden

Beautiful Princess Marguerite. Photo: Will Borden

On a lighter note, be sure and check the time schedules of the ferry’s.  Work traffic would not be a good time to board.  Wait till a weekend or during the middle of the day.  Much more enjoyable and fewer people to deal with.  Which ever way you choose to go,  the Seattle Ferry Boats will give you a trip you will always remember.

If you enjoyed this brief mental “picture”, be sure and share  🙂