The Sitka Sound Science Center is a non-profit research and education facility located right on the water in Sitka. It offers local classes and events, but also a large touch tank for visitors as well as salmon research facility.
This is a small but very nice hands-on experience center for families to get to know some of the residents of the cold ocean water of the Pacific in an up-close manner.
There is art and a neat game that is Plinko-inspired for kids to see if their salmon egg would survive to become a fish. This was a big hit with our Pre-K aged son.
The touch pool area had step stools and experts on hand to explain what they were seeing and a bit about each creature. There is also a baby orca skeleton on display -- which looked to me like an ancient aquatic dinosaur!
Overall, the center is an inexpensive way to get to see and touch sea creatures, especially if you've been coming up with nothing in tide pools along the beaches. (Or for things like sea cucumbers, that are hard to find "in the wild.") It's a quick and easy stop in downtown Sitka, included in the town walking tour. Great for kids!
Disclosure: My family received complimentary admission while visiting. All opinions are our own. Thank you!
For just $5, kids can have access to the largest touch tank we've seen at the Sitka Sound Science Center. This is a research and educational facility, and there are scientists and volunteers on-hand to tell you what you're looking at (and touching). Our kids spent the better part of an hour exploring the touch tank, which includes all sorts of intertidal creatures. There are also a few exhibits and a salmon research facility and hatchery which works to keep wild Alaskan salmon running. It's very educational if you don't know much about salmon in Alaska.