January 8, 2011

Seattle Aquarium

After all the holiday stuff and snow, we were both ready to get out of the house. I wanted to go up to the Skagit River to see the eagles, but Dan didn't want to be gone all day as he wanted to watch the Seahawks game against the Patriots. He's recently become a Seahawks fan... or something.

On Friday I noticed that the Groupon Deal was for $10 admission to the Seattle Aquarium. SCORE! I picked up two of those coupons and we planned to walk onto the ferry and spend as much time as was necessary to see all the aquarium and then head back home to watch the game on the Tivo.

We walked onto the ferry and rode over with a bunch of Seahawks fans and one brave man in a Patriots jersey. Once we arrived in Seattle, we walked up Alaskan Way to the aquarium.

Dan wanted to take some pictures so I gave him his Groupon paper and I headed inside and sat in front of the big aquarium to look at the map and the schedule.

Seattle Aquarium

Once Dan caught up we headed around the corner into a big room with touch pools and other exhibits. We pet some starfish and poked some sea cucumbers. I discovered that Dan isn't a big fan of touching the anemones. I told him I doubted they would put a man eater in the tank where kids stick their hands all day long.

We checked out the octopuses in the big exhibit there. They have a male on one side and a female on the other, divided by a plexiglas panel. They are going to open the divider on Valentine's Day and hopefully they will end up with some baby octopuses like they did in 2005. They were pretty sleepy, but they moved around just enough to keep us interested for awhile.

They had a really cool Moon Jelly exhibit. I have seen moon jellies at lots of different places over the years, but this was the first time I saw an exhibit like this one. You walk through a big donut shaped tank. It even goes under the floor and there were windows where you could see them under your feet. I thought it was really neat.

Seattle Aquarium

We looked at everything in that big room and even got to play a round of "Stump the Docent". (he won) We learned quite a bit about the waters of Puget Sound too. Then we moved on to look at the other smaller exhibits throughout the aquarium. There was just the right amount of things that made me ooh and ahh.

Seattle Aquarium

Further back into the aquarium there were specialty exhibits about coral reefs and strange sea creatures.

Seattle Aquarium

Then we hit a dead end. Somehow we had missed the turn to Building 2. So we back tracked to find our turn. When we got back to the touch pool room, there was a docent at the shark exhibit. We stopped to chat with him and learned a lot about sharks in our region. Did you know there are sharks that live between West Seattle and Bainbridge Island? I didn't! But I sure will think twice when I'm swimming at Lytle Beach this summer. :)

While we were chatting with him, he asked if we'd seen an Octopus be fed before. The feeding was just starting and Dan and I were able to dash across the room and find spots where we could see the process. My favorite part was when the female grabbed the feeding stick from the employee and wouldn't give it back. It's hard to wrestle with an octopus.

Seattle Aquarium

We stayed around until after the presentation and asked a few questions. Then we headed across the alley to Building 2 to see the rest.

We got in there to see the birds. We watched the puffins splash around for awhile and started to head down deeper into the building. Then I suggested we go eat lunch as I was getting kind of hungry. So back to Building one and upstairs at the front of the building.

It was cafeteria style. Dan ordered an angus burger and I got the cup of chowder and 1/2 sandwich deal. I'm used to getting a tiny sip of soup with these so I was surprised when I got a good sized cup. Dan had to help me finish it.

We found a table in the back corner by the window. We were able to look down Alaskan Way back towards the ferry and over the fountains in the plaza in front of the aquarium. It was a pleasant way to spend our lunch and the restaurant wasn't too noisy or crowded.

After lunch we headed back down to Building 2 and headed past the birds and down towards the "dome". This is a big underwater dome. It's kind of neat looking, but claustrophobic. We were there just a short time before they were going to do a feeding so we grabbed a seat before they were all gone. As people started to gather in there, it got louder and louder. The docents came out a couple of times and asked the kids to use their "inside voices". But then the show started and their microphones over the loudspeaker was MUCH louder than the kids and I started to get one of those awful headaches. I had to leave.

Dan followed me out a minute later and suggested we go outside into the fresh air for a bit. We were out by the marine mammals exhibits and saw some cute seals and otters.

Seattle Aquarium

We made our way around the exhibits and I even made a furry friend. :)

Seattle Aquarium

We meandered around through the exhibits until we had seen it all. The whole thing ended with an exhibit about the native people and the influence of Puget Sound waters on their culture and how we have to not pollute, etc.

Then we were done and started to walk back to the ferry. We got a couple of drinks for the ride home on the boat and we were off. We had a fairly uneventful ride back to the island.

We all lined up on the front deck of the boat to get off. They were just opening the gate to let us off when the Ferry Captain came on the loudspeaker and announced the current score in the football game. ARGH!!! Thanks a lot for the spoiler alert, WSF. Some of us have DVRs you know!!

Luckily Dan didn't hear the announcement and I was able to stand directly behind him and prattle in his hear so he couldn't hear all the people talking about it as we walked down the ramp to get to the car. Even the cab drivers were talking about it as we walked past. I just leaned over Dan's shoulder and gave him a push and said, "Walk! Walk! Walk!" until we were safely in the car. Sheesh!

We got home and had some snacks while we watched the game. I'm glad that Dan didn't get spoiled because that makes him grumpy, but I don't mind it. It was a great game AND we were able to get out of the house too. I would have hated it if we stayed home to watch the Seahawks get trounced. It was a good compromise.

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