A tank diver shows off for visitors in the Seattle Aquarium.
A salmon flung overhead by a grinning fishmonger at Pike Place Market is among Seattle's emblematic scenes. But where did that seafood swim when it was alive? Right below the surface of Puget Sound, as anyone can see these days at the Seattle Aquarium's new 120,000-gallon fish tank called Window on Washington Waters.
The centerpiece of the revamped aquarium—still in the waterfront warehouse it has occupied since 1977—is the 39-foot-long window enclosing a panoply of marine life in the sound's Neah Bay, home to such wonders as giant Pacific octopuses, wolf eels, and sunflower sea stars. Three times every day, divers plunge into the tank and make their way through swaying kelp fronds to feed the display's hungry fish.
The giant tank is not the only improvement. You can buy a plush stuffed seal at the expanded gift shop, savor sustainably harvested seafood in the new café, and check out the touch pools at the popular Life on the Edge exhibit. Then leave with a bit of sea spray on your face from the 50-foot wave tank, where 500 gallons of salt water shoot past purple urchins and green sea anemones to splash on craggy rockwork. (206) 386- 4300, www.seattleaquarium.org.
Photography courtesy Seattle Aquarium Society/Marsha Savery
This article was first published in March 2008. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.