The Estuarium is a marine life discovery center featuring aquariums, interactive activities, and interpretive exhibits. Outside our facility, we can be found on local docks and beaches connecting people of all ages to our delicate and vibrant estuarine ecosystem. The Estuarium also provides K-12 education resources and field trips to local schools. Our volunteer program offers unique hands on opportunities to explore inter-tidal life and inspire community members to take better care of our shared natural resources.
- Meet the Beach: During our Meet the Beach program our dedicated team of volunteers, called Beach Naturalists, connect beach goers with our unique estuarine ecosystem by identifying intertidal life during summer low tides.
- Pier Peer: Year round our trained staff and volunteers run our popular Pier Peer program on local docks after dark in Thurston and Mason Counties. Our trained team provide underwater lights that attract spectacular estuary creatures for you to scoop up and observe. From octopus to anemones, from sea stars to sea slugs, you never know what you’ll encounter!
- K-12 Education: The Estuarium offers extensive educational programming and a variety of estuary and marine ecology topics for Pre-K through 12th grade students. Our programs offer students unique hands-on activities and are linked to the STEM standards, Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Ocean Literacy Frameworks.
- Aquariums: Our facility is home to five tanks featuring an amazing diversity of animals from intertidal and subtidal environments in South Puget Sound. Our animals include sea stars, anemone, shellfish, crabs and more!
- Specimens: Our specimen collection includes preserved creatures from the depths of Puget Sound and an extensive shell collection. Most of our specimens can be handled and observed.
- Video Programming features an exciting array of short videos from local organizations and projects.
- Microscopes: Our lead interpreters aid Estuarium patrons in entering the microscopic world of Puget Sound native flora and fauna using a collection of slides.
- Permanent Exhibits: Exhibits at the Estuarium explore intertidal life in the Puget Sound and the impacts of human life on the ecosystem. Topics range from aquaculture, climate change and pollution prevention, first peoples of the Salish Sea and more!
- Rotating Exhibits: The Estuarium highlights topics during our rotating exhibits complete with special activities! Rotating exhibits often feature special guest speakers, dissections and demonstrations led by our lead interpreters.
The Estuarium relies on our dedicated volunteers to help run our programs and facility. Estuarium volunteers are encouraged to participate during field trips, Pier Peer and Meet the Beach events, assisting in animal husbandry, and serving as interpreters during our weekend open hours. Click HERE to learn more about our volunteer program.
Field Trips and Private Events
Do you have a group (scouts, friends, family reunion, etc.) who you think would enjoy exploring inter-tidal life? Consider booking your own private Pier Peer or Meet the Beach event, or even a one of kind Estuarium tour! Fill out our group services inquiry form and submit it to Center@SSEAcenter.org to book a private event today.
- Families: $5.00
- Individuals: $3.00
- Youth (18 and under): $1.00
Admission is always free for Estuarium members.
Hours of Operation:
Open every Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 – 4:00 PM.
Street parking is free after 5:00 PM during the week, and is always free on weekends!