We arrived in Seward on a particularly rainy, windy afternoon. With not many indoor activities to choose from, we tried out the SeaLife Center with hopes of filling a couple of hours until our hotel check-in time. Having recently moved to Alaska from Connecticut, where our home aquarium was the Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration, we realized how spoiled we had become. The Mystic Aquarium has many of the same animals on exhibit as the SeaLife center- stellar sea lions, seals, a touch tank with sea stars and anemones. But the Mystic Aquarium is much more engaging for young children (and also has beluga whales, a star attraction). The SeaLife Center seemed like it may be a good place for the cruise ship passengers who frequent Seward, with tons of information to read, but the lack of children's exhibits and interpretive staff was disappointing. For the cost (over $50 for two adults, one child, and one free under-3), we were only able to squeeze an hour out of our kids before they were ready to leave. If you have an older group who can take the time to read about each exhibit, it may be more worthwhile. I would be interested in hearing about older children's impressions of the center.
Alaska SeaLife offers a significantly better than average aquarium experience and a long list of hands on experiences and encounters for an extra fee. In our opinion the extra fees are worth it--where else can you have an encounter with a puffin or octopus. Each encounter has an age minimum ranging from age 6 to age 12 and there is a group minimum, but on the day we went there were enough other interested patrons this was not hard to meet.
We loved the sea lions--the exhibits are fantastic. The self guided tour is perfect for families of all ages.
Their website has a live feed video of the Stellar Sea Lions which is cool to watch (and have kids watch in preparation of the visit). If you are a homeschooler or just like additional information for your kids there are both teacher and student resources on their website, which I believe enchanced our visit.
Alaska SeaLife Center is about conservation and rehabilitation. It is very educational and enjoyable.