Our Home

The Ocean Pavilion: Seattle’s window to the world’s waters

The Ocean Pavilion will amplify our global conservation efforts and inspire a worldwide ocean ethic by bringing visitors face-to-face with tropical species from the Coral Triangle, a marine biodiversity hot spot in the Indo-Pacific.

Concept rendering showing guests enjoying a view from outside the building into a larger interior exhibit space in the Ocean Pavilion.

Coral Canyon through the Oculus

Interior rendering of the Ocean Pavilion with guests walking through the building.

The Archipelago

Rendering depicting an interior guest area of the Ocean Pavilion with children looking into aquarium habitats.

Coral Reef Encounter

Rendering of a large habitat in the future Ocean Pavilion with guests looking at divers swimming underwater among fish and coral.

Coral Canyon

Concept rendering looking down from the interior second floor of the Ocean Pavilion's main One Ocean Hall area.

One Ocean Hall

Concept rendering showing guests exploring a larger interior exhibit space in the Ocean Pavilion.

One Ocean Hall

Two small fish swimming near multiple different species of coral.

Home to biodiverse ecosystems

The Ocean Pavilion will be home to approximately 3,500 tropical fish and invertebrates, including up to 30 species of coral, all sustainably sourced through partnerships with other aquariums and suppliers per Association of Zoos and Aquariums guidelines.

Blacktip reef shark swimming underwater.

Rays, sharks and mangroves

The Ocean Pavilion will introduce visitors to new iconic species from the Coral Triangle like rays, sharks, and mangroves—threatened by the same human impacts as our beloved Pacific Northwest species.

Concept rendering of the "Oculus"; a feature of the new Seattle Aquarium Ocean Pavilion building.

Inspiring experiences for all

Opening onto the waterfront plaza through windows that look directly into our habitats, the Ocean Pavilion will create inspiring experiences free of charge to all who visit the waterfront.

Anchoring the world’s first planet-positive aquarium campus

The Ocean Pavilion will lead the way to a new era of sustainable urban development.

The Living Building Challenge sets a new standard for urban design and construction to have a positive environmental impact. To date, even the strictest LEED energy and construction requirements have focused on limiting or neutralizing environmental harm. We believe we can do better: We’ll be the first Aquarium in the world to achieve planet-positive standards across our entire campus, including the Ocean Pavilion—one of the most technically complex buildings in Seattle.

The Ocean Pavilion will achieve Living Building certification in critical performance areas known as Petals, with a focus on planet-positive energy use. It will be 100% fossil fuel-free with a goal of net-zero embodied carbon. In future phases of the campaign, we envision an entire Aquarium campus certified in planet-positive water use.

Sustainable Design

We’re creating a world-class, regenerative aquarium—meaning an aquarium that will not just achieve net-zero/neutral impact, but go beyond to achieve positive impact: producing more environmental benefits than harm to help ensure a climate-resilient, sustainable future for all.
Facility Map


  • Indigenous consultants are members of the design team.
  • Overlook connection to Pike Place Market and the downtown core.
  • Public stairs connect to the waterfront.


  • Public open space with expansive views connect us to the Salish Sea.
  • Design honors place and Indigenous peoples.
  • Habitats integrated with Elliott Bay.


  • 70% reduction in energy consumption.
  • 95% reduction in carbon emissions (compared to other aquariums).
  • Project will avoid using fuels that emit greenhouse gases.
  • High-performance glazing and building envelope. Windows bring natural light into Aquarium, reducing need for artificial lights.
  • Building heating/cooling and animal life support systems share energy and recover heat from each other.
  • Semi-closed system conserves energy.


  • Semi-closed life support system conserves water.
  • Green roof with native plantings reduces stormwater runoff.
  • Heating and cooling are distributed with water throughout the building.


  • Reduced PVC piping.
  • No materials that harm the marine environment (vinyl, zinc, copper, mercury, etc.).
  • Low-carbon concrete.

We need to move beyond a paradigm of being less bad, to one where we are being regenerative — and for an aquarium that is an incredibly important message.

Jason McLennan
Chairman of the International Living Future Institute and CEO of McLennan Design

A civic landmark at the heart of Seattle’s reimagined waterfront

We will put ocean conservation at the heart of our city, and in the hearts and minds of all visitors.

The Seattle Aquarium is at the center of a once-in-a-generation transformation of Seattle’s downtown waterfront. With this campaign, we’ll double our capacity for conservation and introduce several new tropical species to the Aquarium for the first time. We’ll fully renovate all our spaces to help reconnect Seattle with the Salish Sea.

Prominently positioned and fully integrated into the new Overlook Walk that will connect Pike Place Market to the waterfront, the Seattle Aquarium campus will be a highly visible, accessible and integral part of the new downtown Seattle experience.

With free, live outdoor interpretation with our staff, we will bring ocean conservation education to millions more people every year – even if they never buy an Aquarium ticket. Visitors to our campus will have the opportunity to look out over Puget Sound, enjoy watching salmon swimming beneath the piers and native shorebirds in flight, and learn about how they can play a part in restoring a healthy ocean for the future.

Exterior rendering showing the front of the Ocean Pavilion building with people walking the waterfront on a sunny day.

Ocean Pavilion entrance

Exterior rendering of the new Ocean Pavilion building as seen from an angle above the building.

The Salish Steps and Rooftop

Exterior rendering of the new Ocean Pavilion building as seen from above the water next to the Aquarium.

The Salish Steps

Rendering of the new Ocean Pavilion building placed into a skyline photo of downtown Seattle.

Seattle Aquarium Campus

Overlook Walk

Concept rendering of a large window looking into the Ocean Pavilion

Anchoring Waterfront Park

Concept rendering of the public rooftop space on the Ocean Pvilion

Public space on the roof top

Conceptual rendering of families crossing Alaskan Way to get to the entrance of the Ocean Pavilion.

Alaskan Way’s new location

The Ocean Pavilion will be a powerful experience that people of all abilities can share.

The Seattle Aquarium is committed to sharing our mission with all people of all abilities, and the Ocean Pavilion will reflect that commitment in its design, exhibit experience and more.

Accessibility is a priority in the following elements of the project:

Increased waterfront accessibility

Gently sloping ramps, public open space and a prominent elevator on the Ocean Pavilion’s rooftop connect Pike Place Market and the downtown core to the water.

Accessible internal pathways

Circulation within the Ocean Pavilion is designed to provide access to everyone.

An inclusive exhibit experience

The Ocean Pavilion has been designed in collaboration with experts at the Institute for Human Centered Design to ensure the exhibits are attuned to the full spectrum of visitor abilities and sensory and access needs.

Access to “behind-the-scenes” work

Showcasing the science of conservation and animal care, the Ocean Pavilion will provide direct access to the Seattle Aquarium’s mission at work for people of all abilities.

The Ocean Pavilion is a major step toward a truly regenerative Aquarium, but our vision extends far beyond one building.

As we inspire a shared ocean ethic we will transform our entire campus with planet-positive spaces that connect us more deeply to marine life, and regenerate the health of our one world ocean. By incorporating sustainability values into all of our physical spaces, we will live out our mission—Inspiring Conservation of our Marine Environment—at a whole new level.

Water color rendering of the Seattle Aquarium main building and Ocean Pavilion as seen from the future waterfront parkway looking out towards Elliot Bay during sunset.

The Ocean Pavilion Project Team

The Seattle Aquarium thanks its diverse team of dedicated professionals for their partnership in bringing this project to life.


Project Management

Exhibit Design

General Contractor

Colleen Echohawk
Co-founder, Headwater People Consulting
Tribal engagement liaison and consultant

Daniel Friday
Friday Glass
Member of the Lummi Tribe

Owen L. Oliver
Northwest culture and environment consultant, Headwater People
Member of Quinault (Chinook) Indian Nation & Isleta Pueblo

Walter Celestian Pacheco
Cultural Liaison, Muckleshoot Tribe

Sara Siestreem
Artist support on public art commission
Hanis Coos tribal member, enrolled in the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians

Valerie Segrest
Regional Director, Native Food and Knowledge Systems, Tahoma Peak Solutions
Member of Muckleshoot Indian Tribe

Robin Little Wing Sigo
Director of the Suquamish Research & Strategic Development Department
Member of Suquamish Tribe

Asia Tail
Artist and consultant on Native art procurement
Citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and member of the Urban Native community

Join Us

Want to hear how you can be a part of our campaign?

We thank and honor the hundreds of donors and partners who have already made a critical investment in this vision. Fill out the form to learn more about supporting our mission.

Let's Talk