The Alaska SeaLife Center might look like your average waterfront aquarium, but it’s so much more. The Seward-based facility executes ground-breaking research, provides public education, and serves as a wildlife response center saving animals in crisis. Visitors to the ASLC can see local Alaskan species up close including puffins, Steller sea lions, and giant Pacific octopus, while observing marine researchers and wildlife rehabilitation in action. Open year-round, the center welcomes visitors from across the globe, in addition to local school groups and families.
In the summer months, the center’s Wildlife Response Program peaks with activity, with staff hard at work responding to marine mammals in need all along Alaskan shores. The ASLC exists as the only certified stranded marine mammal response facility in the state of Alaska, rehabilitating animals including seals, sea otters, walrus, and beluga. The goal of the Wildlife Response Program is to release healthy animals back to the wild whenever possible, and the team is proud to be given that opportunity each year.
Research is a constant endeavor at the center with the intention to better understand Alaska’s diverse marine ecosystems. Researchers undertake unique projects, which include monitoring mussels in order to identify the effects of crude oil on the environment and studying ice seals to better interpret the consequences of warming climates in the Arctic. The center’s longest standing research project has been established for well over 20 years and monitors the population dynamics of the largest sea lion species in the world, the Steller sea lion.
Overall, the center offers visitors a personal look into the marine life of Alaska, while promoting the importance of research, education, and wildlife rehabilitation.