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Puget Sound’s giant Pacific octopus, the largest octopus species in the world, takes centerstage at Seattle Aquarium Octopus Week events through Feb. 24. Along with keeper talks and feedings in the Life of Drifter octopus exhibit, an octopus will be featured in the Window on Washington Waters exhibit diver shows noon Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Feb. 23-24.

Resident octopuses Rain and Squirt will be released into Puget Sound soon; the Aquarium displays the highly intelligent, elusive octopus for only about a year, until they’re mature enough to mate. The two have been residing in separate sections of their exhibit, introduced to each other this week in a Valentine’s Day hearts-and-romantic music event that will hopefully lead to mating, depending on whether Squirt accepts Rain’s advances or breaks his three hearts with a snub and a cloud of ink. A happy ending is short-lived in any case; the male dies soon after mating and the female secludes herself without eating to care for her thousands of eggs, dying soon after the tiny hatchlings arrive.

Octopus-related attractions and events include keeper talks, octopus feedings at noon and 4 p.m. and craft activities for kids. Other Aquarium exhibits display sealife from local waters and exotic habitats around the world, including the Pacific Coral Reef and cowfish, sea horses and other exotic creatures in the Ocean Oddities exhibit. Touch sea cucumbers, hermit crabs, sea urchins, sea stars and other Puget Sound tide pool creatures at the Life on the Edge exhibit and sit and relax in the Underwater Dome with a 360-degree view of hundreds of fish in an ever-changing look at sea life in Puget Sound. Marine Mammal exhibit otters are a visitor favorite, with viewing areas at the surface and below-ground and feeding and keeper talks at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily. The Aquarium’s harbor seals, Barney and Q, are temporarily residing at Tacoma’s Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium while their deluxe new home scheduled to open in June is under construction.

The Aquarium is open daily and includes a cafe and gift shop.

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Madeline McKenzie:

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