We LOVE the Alaska Sea Life Center and make it a point to visit any time we travel to Seward. Ticket prices are donations towards maintenance of the aquarium and science center, so you can feel good knowing your money is going a great distance!
We traveled (safely) during the COVID-19 crisis, so masks were required and social-distancing was implemented. It still was a great time for our group!! We had all ages with us and everyone had a good time, even with these inconveniences.
The Alaska Sea Life Center (ASLC) is a "public aquarium with marine research, education, and wildlife response." They are a blast to follow online as they rescue sea life from the Prince William Sound. (My favorite story currently is about a rescued sea otter who had a zip tie imbed in its paw. You can read that here.)
The Sea Life Center is a delightful mix of information, exhibits and entertainment. They have displays about many of the creatures that live at the ASLC, as well as information to better our impact on our world's oceans.
I mean, does it get any better than watching cute little fish swim around?? Each tank includes many species, easily labeled on plaques nearby to help your (or the young scientist with you!) observe.
Screens are sprinkled throughout the displays, easily updated with current information (that feels like an ocean pun, which makes me happy) and are often interactive. In addition, because the ASLC is an active research center, displays are updated regularly. We visit roughly once a summer and each year there are new things for us to see and do!!
Hello, fishies!! The ASLC rescues all of the habitants of the property - meaning that none are farmed for display. You can even view the center's rescue and rehab journals here.
One of my favorite aspects of the ASLC is the touch tanks - especially with kiddos. We were prepared to have to walk on by as the touch tanks hadn't been opened to the public yet - until that day!!! The kids were thrilled to be able to explore. Their little learning minds are like sponges and they enjoyed (gently!) touching many of the creatures inside. Star fish, sea anemone and sea cucumbers were easily identified, but there were many other things to observe and interact with.
Another favorite feature of the ASLC is the small aviary. You can enter (they were monitoring only two groups at a time due to COVID-19 during our visit) and watch all sorts of birds interact. Harlequin Ducks, Common Murres, Horned Puffins, Tufted Puffins, King Eiders, Black Oystercatchers, Long Tailed Ducks, Pigeon Guillemots, Red-legged Kittiwakes, Rhinoceros Auklets, Smews, Spectacled Eiders and Steller's Eiders ALL can be found in the exhibit!!! We were juggling too many kiddos (and keeping their masks on) to take any good photos of the residents of the exhibit, but I think it would be really fun to visit the ASLC website and try to identify and find each of the birds!!
As you continue through the center, you can step outside overlooking the bay for this incredible view!!
And, my favorite exhibit of all, the Stellar Sea Lions. There are TONS of exhibits I didn't get to show you - including lots of information surrounding the Sea Lions themselves - but you can just feel the awe of onlookers when these giant mammals swimming by. The Sea Lions have an outdoor exhibit with viewing as well, directly above the one pictured here. But on this day, this friendly stellar was happy to have his picture taken with his fans under the sea.
If given the chance, I hope you visit the Alaska Sea Life Center in Seward, Alaska!!