Winter activities at Seattle Aquarium and Woodland Park Zoo.

Share story

Winter is a great time to visit Seattle Aquarium without the big crowds, and it’s open daily throughout the ongoing seawall project.

In consideration of the construction project, an app is available with information on how to get up to three hours of free valet parking while visiting waterfront attractions through Feb. 28. Easy access to the aquarium is available through the Pike Place Market Garage, an elevator ride below the market, and metered street parking is also available nearby, free on Sundays.

Six major exhibits house aquarium creatures, starting with Window on Washington Waters, a huge, floor-to-ceiling seascape filled with hundreds of fish and invertebrates indigenous to our local Puget Sound waters, with interactive diver programs at 10 and 11:30 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. daily to answer questions from visitors.

Seattle Aquarium

Time: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, exhibits close 6 p.m.

Cost: $22.95/adult; $20.95/ages 65+; $15.95/ages 4-12, ages 3 and younger free; discounts for active military with ID and their dependents. See Aquarium website for information on community organizations providing free tickets to low-income and special-needs individuals, and free passes available for Seattle Public Library cardholders.

Location: 1483 Alaskan Way, Pier 59, Seattle

Octopus Week: Feb. 13 to 21

More info:206-386-4300 or seattleaquarium.org

Woodland Park Zoo

Time: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, zoo grounds open until 5 p.m.

Cost: $13.75/adults; $11.75/ages 65+; $9.25/ages 3-12 years, ages 2 and younger free; parking $6/day

Location: 5500 Phinney Ave. N., Seattle

Valentine’s Day for animals: 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Feb. 13

More info: 206-548-2500 or zoo.org

Otters and seals in the Marine Mammals exhibit are among the aquarium’s most popular attractions, with views from both above and below the water to watch the animals play, eat, groom and interact. Seating areas provide visitors with comfortable spots to observe the sea otters, river otters, harbor seals and fur seals, with daily animal feedings and keeper talks.

Walk through a lit crystal ring full of luminous moon jellies to enter the Life of a Drifter exhibit, featuring giant Pacific octopuses, one of Puget Sound’s most fascinating sea creatures and the world’s largest octopus species. Shy, elusive giant Pacific octopuses have up to a 20-foot arm span, change their color at will to express their moods and even change their texture to mimic their surroundings. Aquarium biologists are hoping their male and female giant Pacific octopuses will be in a romantic mood when they meet for the first time at Octopus Blind Date Feb. 14, part of Octopus Week events Feb. 13 through 21 that also include release of octopuses into Puget Sound that visitors can watch through a video feed Feb. 15 and 20.

Seattle’s other home to wild creatures, Woodland Park Zoo, is also a great place to visit in winter, with lower admission rates through April and events including Valentine’s Day-themed treats for animals Feb. 13. The zoo has a Rainy Day map of its dry and covered attractions for a fun visit no matter what the weather, and a blog with all the latest news, including the recent announcement that the popular Night Exhibit of nocturnal animals, closed since 2009, is reopening in 2018. Watch for news this month on a naming contest for the zoo’s new baby gorilla, born Nov. 20 and thriving in round-the-clock care in a den behind the scenes of the gorilla exhibit.

Daily zoo activities include Willawong Station bird feeding, rides on the historic carousel, penguin feeding experiences and indoor Zoomazium activities for kids.