Go nose-to-nose with seals at Seattle Aquarium

  • By Andrea Brown Herald Writer
  • Thursday, June 20, 2013 12:22pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

Barney, Q and Siku snagged one of the best condos in Seattle.

Their new digs have killer waterfront views and an indoor pool.

The only thing they don’t have is privacy.

Visitors to the Seattle Aquarium get a front-row view of the three harbor seals’ living room without getting wet.

The $6.5 million addition was completed earlier this month. Gone is the chain-link fence previously sealing the habitat.

Clear acrylic walls offer a unique glimpse of the roly-poly whiskered mammals doing their thing above and below the water.

These aren’t showbiz seals. They don’t bounce balls off their noses or jump through rings. They eat fish and swim around. When tired, they kick back on the dry rocks — “haul out,” as it’s known in seal speak.

The project expanded the seals’ lounge, pool and the Pier 60 boardwalk.

“It’s a better experience for them and for us,” aquarium spokeswoman Laura Austin said.

Benches seat 100 people or three classrooms of schoolchildren.

During the three daily shows, trainers tell about the importance of seals to Puget Sound and entertain questions. For the seals, it’s a free lunch of fish and sometimes a tooth brushing afterwards.

“They are trained to participate in their own health care,” Austin said.

Here’s who’s who: Barney is a spotted silver-gray 28-year-old male. Q is a dark-colored 14-year-old male. Eight-year-old Siku, a petite gray-and-black female, is on breeding loan from Point Defiance Zoo &Aquarium in Tacoma

During the nine month remodel, the seals stayed at Point Defiance Zoo.

For Q, it was a working vacation.

“While there, Q impregnated two of their harbor seals, and two pups were born in recent weeks,” Austin said. “That’s good. It’s a cooperative breeding program.”

Very cooperative, it seems.

Will Siku be next?

Seattle Aquarium

The aquarium is at 1483 Alaskan Way, Pier 59, Seattle. Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (exhibits closie at 6 p.m.).

Admission: Adults $21.95; youth, ages 4 to 12, $14.95. Children 3 and younger are admitted free.

Harbor seal shows: 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. daily. An interpreter is on hand from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Talks and feedings at the fur seal and sea otter habitats are at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. daily.

For more information: www.seattleaquarium.org or call 206-386-4300.

Also at the aquarium

  • Window on Washington Waters: A 20-by-40 foot tank in the lobby is home to about 800 fish and invertebrates indigenous to local waters. It is designed to replicate the Neah Bay seascape. Divers answer questions in sessions at 10 and 11:30 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. daily.
  • Family Activity Center: Story time at 11 a.m. daily, with marine-themed stories.
  • Life on the Edge: Visitors can get their fingers wet in the touch tanks where they can stroke a sea cucumber and feel the prickly spines of a sea urchin. Meet the octopus sessions are at noon and 4 p.m. daily.
  • Dome Room: The undersea dome is like being in a fish tank. Salmon, lingcod, sharks, rockfish, sturgeon and skates circle the dome. Divers feed the fish at 1:30 p.m. daily.

More in Life

This beefy ex-cop has a delicate hobby: intricate paper-cut art

You can see Tom Sacco’s creations at the upcoming Everett Art Walk.

Slow-roasted vegetables make sumptuous sauce for pasta

Make the basic but good spaghetti with red sauce blissfully better with this recipe.

Mocking meatloaf: One man’s loaf is another man’s poison

Some don’t like it and some do. Here are six meatloaf recipes to try.

Roasted Brussels sprouts can be the apple of picky eater’s eye

Toasted sesame seeds and diced apple add flavors that compliment the sprouts’ earthiness.

Arlington eagle fest wants your nature-themed artwork, haiku

Local residents of an artistic bent are invited to submit… Continue reading

Dylan Farrow says she wants to bring down Woody Allen

The 32-year-old said in an upcoming interview that she is telling the truth about him abusing her.

Kendrick Lamar, Sam Smith and U2 added to Grammys performance roster

Also unveiled is a performance by pop star Miley Cyrus and superstar piano-rocker Elton John.

Former NBA basketball star Dennis Rodman listens to a guide at the Sci-Tech Complex in Pyongyang, North Korea, last summer. Rodman was arrested Saturday on suspicion of DUI in Southern California. (Kim Kwang Hyon / Associated Press file)
Rodman checks into rehab after DUI arrest

His agent says he’s dealing with his longtime struggle with alcoholism.

Hau Tran sings as Vietnamese seniors eat at Homage’s Center for Healthy Living on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018 in Lynnwood, Wa. Each weekday the center offers its room for various cultures to get together for activities and lunch while speaking their native languages. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Seniors of four cultures gather for food, fitness and fun

Homage’s Center for Healthy Living offers a venue for programs in the seniors’ native languages.

Most Read