Seattle Aquarium: 2nd Best Tour Hot Air Ballooning

Want to explore the sea and the air? You are in luck.

The best place to check out sea animals is at the Seattle Aquarium attraction. The best Seattle tour to check out the Seattle sites is on a hot air balloon with Seattle Ballooning. It’s quite the experience. on your hot air balloon tour, you’ll be able to see the entire Puget Sound from the air! Guests often ask us about other cool things to do in Seattle besides hot air ballooning. We think the Seattle Aquarium is pretty cool. If you’re the type of person who likes to get lost in a world full of schools, reefs, and other animal habitats with your kids, then this is definitely one place for family fun!

Seattle Ballooning's blue, yellow, orange, and green hot air balloon
Seattle Ballooning’s blue, yellow, orange, and green hot air balloon

The Seattle Aquarium

The Seattle Aquarium is a place with brilliant visuals, fun staff, and visitors that will keep you entertained for hours. The Seattle Aquarium has been around since 1977, and it hosts over 27 million people each year. They are the ninth largest in America by attendance rate, which also makes them one of the top five paid visitor attractions in Puget Sound and the largest in Washington state! This means there’s always something new coming through because they’re just so great at what they do- education-wise too! Besides being a fantastic attraction, this destination yields educational encounters and makes sure no kid leaves without knowing more about our aquatic friends here on earth; including sharks and turtles (which I think we can all agree need some love).

Their mission is “Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment” and is reflected in everything they do—exhibits that explore the ocean’s depths; events to get people excited about marine life and its conservation; research activities like studying kelp forests.

The Seattle Aquarium is a premier resource for hands-on marine experiences and conservation education. Stroll through the Aquarium, or enjoy your newfound knowledge in an interactive class! If you’ve always wanted to know about our world’s one big ocean and Puget Sound, this is the place for you.

Largest Aquarium in the NW

The Seattle Aquarium is the largest public Aquarium in Washington State. The Aquarium is a premier resource for hands-on marine experiences, with more than 500 species of animals representing habitats from around Puget Sound to Antarctica!

In 2007, the Aquarium expanded to included 18k Sq Ft along with a gigantic 120k gallon exhibit. They also added a fantastic gift shop, restaurant, and meeting space. The gift shop has stuffed animals of all your favorite sea life!

The Seattle Aquarium has 10 major exhibits: Birds and Shores, Family Activity Center, Life of a Drifter, Life on the edge, Marine Animals, Tropical Pacific, Puget Sound Fish, Salmon, Under Water Dome, and Window on Washington The most popular exhibit? Marine Mammals!

Seattle Aquarium big tank

Marine Mammals

These exhibits, some of our most popular and action-packed, are home to a fabulous assortment of charming and entertaining marine mammals. Plan to stay for a while as you get the chance to meet one or more of our gregarious playful sea otters who love making friends! Or perhaps you’ll find yourself bonding with adorable river otters that are always up for playtime fun? If you are lucky you might get to see an otter pup or an otter training. The harbor seals like their lazy days in the sun but don’t worry—our playful fur seals will have quickly separated themselves from any other seal at this exhibit once they see all those balls waiting for them, so grab your camera because it’s guaranteed these guys won’t disappoint.

Stroll along the shady paths and explore our exhibit to see all sorts of exciting animals. You can watch them swim underwater, on top of the water from a spot at the edge, or while sitting in one of our comfortable seats! Watch as they play around, eat, groom themselves into perfection before going for their daily talk and animal feeding show – it will be an adventure you won’t forget any time soon!

Don’t miss out on the Seattle Aquarium’s newest exhibit, where you’ll get to see three harbor seals! You can enjoy your time with a great view of these friendly creatures from their habitat. The pool is perfect for them, and they also have plenty of space inside so visitors won’t be in the way too much. They even offer seating up to 100 people, which means everyone will definitely find themselves a fabulous spot!

The researchers don’t just work with the animals at the Seattle Aquarium, but populations in the wild. They have distinguished themselves as a top facility with innovative, cutting-edge breeding programs for different animal species!

Otter saying hi

Bird and Shores

This open-air exhibit highlights habitats along the rough and rocky shorelines of Puget Sound and offers a chance to closely observe today’s bird species. The fresh breeze will be at your face as you breathe in the scent of what is just outside!

Shorebirds are known to be some of the most intelligent birds around, and now you can get a glimpse into their lives with this immersive exhibit. You’ll see alcids make incredible dives while tufted puffins playfully search for food below the surface on these jagged ledges. If that’s not enough entertainment for one day, take your kids out to explore all four habitats – where common murres might dip just under the waterline to find a meal!

The Northwest shoreline is a diverse ecosystem, with many different species of fish and invertebrates. One such creature is the sea anemone – they can be found in tide pools as well as on the floor at depths up to 200 meters below the surface!


Family Activity Center

It’s so cool that you can learn more about killer whales at this educational center. Some people call them orcas, but I think “killer whale” is cooler! The majestic marine wildlife icons of the Pacific Northwest belong to a Southern Resident community group, and they’re local too – we have our own population in Puget Sound! Our Orcas in the NW eat a diet of delicious Chinook salmon.


Life of a Drifter

Did you see the Octopus teacher? That was a remarkable documentary. Imagine the giant Pacific octopus creeping through an aquarium. You can see its many busy arms moving, and you may even get a glimpse of one of their intelligent eyes as they peer back at curious onlookers from either side, glass paneling between the sections it inhabits with ease – there’s no catching these creatures! At Seattle Aquarium, we want to provide Puget Sound visitors like you with up-close views into this mysterious creature’s life in our stunning Giant Pacific Octopus Exhibit.


The Touch Pool

For a hands-on experience, you’ll want to check out the Aquarium’s newest exhibit, “interactive tide pools” – This unique space features interactive exhibits for kids (and adults!) on Puget Sound ecosystems. You can touch sea anemones and hold a sea cucumber. Just be careful of those sea urchins. They are sharp! Due to Covid restrictions, guests may not be able to touch everything in the tide pools.

Touch pool

Underwater Dome

In the Underwater Dome, visitors can get a close-up look at all manner of sea creatures from many different habitats. Window on Washington Waters is home to otters and seals who frolic in their large tanks while they wait for dinner time! The Pacific Coral Reef exhibit showcases various types of fish that live among coral reefs near Hawaii or Australia. Our personal favorite is cuttlefish. They are super cool!

Aquarium Tickets and Booking Information

If you are looking for Aquarium tickets, they start at $26 for non-Washington residents. This tourist attraction is pretty awesome and well worth the money. We suggest booking your tickets online in advance as there are specific time periods. At your time of booking, you’ll find all the information you need.

Ready to book your hot air balloon ride and see the sea animals in the same day?  Do it!

Hot air balloon rising over the trees to show the view of Mt. Rainier.
Hot Air Balloon Pilot Eliav C.
About the Author

Chief pilot of Seattle Ballooning. I get the opportunity to provide luxury hot air balloon rides just South of Seattle in front of Mt. Rainier. When you do what you love, it’s not considered work.

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