Touch Tank

As you enter the Rocky Coast Gallery, you'll see the Discovery Touch Pools, better known as the Touch Tank, on your right. These tanks are open so you can touch any of the creatures inside, which include anemones, sea cucumbers, sea stars, and hermit crabs that can be found in the ocean all around Alaska. (Just don't pick them up—use two fingers when touching.) And while some of them may look scary, nothing can hurt you. You can receive a hug from a spiny sea urchin, tickle a plumose anemone, run your fingers through the tentacles of Christmas and Crimson anemones, feel the deceivingly soft spines of a sea cucumber, and maybe even catch a glimpse of a Crescent Gunnel. And ask questions to the nearby interpreters; it's great hands-on education.

At the end of the Touch Tank is an aquarium that houses a giant Pacific octopus, though sub-adult isn't giant yet; he weighs less than 20 pounds. Eventually, though, he could grow to be 15 feet across (with arms outstretched) and weigh as much as 80 pounds. Check out the Octopus Encounters each afternoon for an amazing experience with a giant Pacific octopus!

Getting There