Aquarium for all: Open House welcomes diverse families

With generous support from members and donors, each October the Aquarium invites community members to enjoy a special night of learning, inspiration and fun. Attendees come from households receiving support from selected human service organizations in King County. For many, it is their first opportunity to visit the Aquarium.

To make the evening accessible for all, admission is free. Because many of the families are new to the United States, signs are printed in eight languages: English, Somali, Amharic, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Arabic, Chinese and Spanish. Volunteers from the Aquarium and our community ticket partners provide interpretation services in nine different languages. And the evening’s talks are given in English, Cantonese and Spanish—all in the name of removing barriers to engaging with the wonders of the ocean.

The Seattle Aquarium partners with the Environmental Science Center (ESC), which initially created and hosted the Open House event, to produce it. The ESC is also the source for the youth volunteers, students from Highline High School’s Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program, to staff activities and provide interpretation services. ESC also provides much of the evening’s transportation for families and volunteers traveling to/from the event.

Last fall’s event drew 684 people—mostly families, who eagerly explored exhibits and chose from activities including squid and salmon dissection demonstrations, a make-your-own shark headband station, a diver show and more. Thank you for the support that allows as many people as possible to engage with our mission of Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment!

Increasing Aquarium access        

Through social services agencies and community centers run by the City of Seattle Department of Parks & Recreation, the Seattle Aquarium’s community ticket program donates complimentary admission tickets to families who might otherwise experience barriers to visiting us. For more information, visit

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