Monday, March 31, 2008

The Seattle Aquarium - Nature's Toilet

This weekend I visited the Seattle Aquarium.  I will not tease you with my opinion of it and will just state it bluntly.  I'd rather look for living creatures in my downstairs toilet than visit the Seattle Aquarium again.  If you visit Seattle, please STAY AWAY from this so-called attraction.

The aquarium expects you to fork over an admission cost of $15 for an adult to get in...and it doesn't take long once you're in to wonder why you ever bothered.  You're greeted with a large entry hall that has a large wall tank toward the back.  You'd expect a breakdown of what you're looking at inside the tank somewhere or even perhaps using some multimedia headphones with some slick voice like James Earl Jones telling you what obscure mollusk you're looking at but basically  you're left with just a big boring tank of fish and junk.  Wow.  Where do I get a refund?  Well wait...maybe it gets better.

Head down a hallway and a large part of the area you're standing in is dedicated to things that live in a tide pool.  The aquarium itself is built on Pier 59 in downtown Seattle so most of what you're seeing in this large area is stuff that's probably living beneath the facility itself.

Here in this tide pool area you can touch the living creatures.  I watched one poor starfish get pawed over by several different kids in a span of five minutes.  I'm sure if the creature is able to think and feel at all it wishes for death every moment.  I know I was.

A circular "doughnut shaped" tank contained Jelly Fish and a propelled current within moved the jellyfish through past the watchful eyes of many.  I was finally seeing something interesting until the person I was with pointed out one small problem with the exhibit.  All but about two Jelly Fish looked dead.  I told myself they were probably sleeping and moved on...and looked at the similarly sleeping Octopus. 

SHARK!  Finally something cool.  The six-gilled shark which is native to Puget Sound.  The wall had a cutout of the creature showing its size so you could measure yourself up against this impressive creature.  Hanging from the ceiling was a full-scale model of the big where is it?  Hmm, must be around here somewhere.  As you're looking around you see that you're standing next to the shark exhibit.  It's a mock-up of an underwater research lab containing three empty chairs facing some monitors looping footage of sharks.  That's it.  Wanna see a shark?  Then go to some other aquarium because AT THIS AQUARIUM THEY EXPECT YOU TO PAY 15 BUCKS TO SEE AN EXHIBIT OF WHAT IT WOULD LOOK LIKE TO LOOK AT SHARKS...not the actual sharks themselves.  Bullocks.

The Orca (Killer Whale to non-northwesterners) exhibit was similar and my expectations were already being flushed down nature's toilet far enough to know that I'd probably only be looking at a picture of a whale...something I could do on any website.  Here let me replicate the whale exhibit at the incredible Seattle Aquarium:

There you of charge.  Keep your $15 and stay away from this absolutely worthless aquarium.


ronald said...

I went to the Seattle Aquarium when I was a kid back when I lived in the Puget Sound area. What you described is pretty much what I remember. I guess they haven't updated it much.

robert the grump said...

I've been in this corner of the universe since the Space Needle was on its first coat of paint. I remember the privately owned aquarium that was on this site before they built the current, public version.

That aquarium would probably be in violation of hundreds of laws if it existed today, but it was fun. They had a tank of obnixous seals that you could feed. They competed in a frenzy for the fish you threw them. One giant, dominant male would slap the others around and take everything. Then he'd jump on his platform and start ringing a bell with his flipper - unless you gave him more.

If you didn't get the message, he'd hurl his fat body in the air, and slam onto the platform with a huge thud, followed by impossibly loud barking. I loved that guy.

Outside, in a tank that shouldn't have held anything bigger than a couple of koi, they had a Beluga whale. You could touch his jello-like skin and he'd open his mouth and let you pet his tongue or brush his giant molars. He was as friendly as a dog.

Today, that act would be reviled across the city and PETA would be standing in front of the place with torches and pitchforks.

Everyone cheered when that aquarium was closed down and replaced with the uber expensive, tax-funded, no-fun version you went to. That's the price of ecological sanity and political correctness.

Ah, the good old days.

Esther said...

I would say that you spending $15 for me to get a laugh from your outraged post was well worth your expense. ;oP

Gino said...

i HAVE to see that orca exibit.

Anonymous said...

The aquarium is especially egregious when compared to the world-class Woodland Park Zoo...I guess all the zoological numbnuts were assigned to Pier 59...