This year’s summer season started with a splash. Almost 2,000 people arrived on Friday, May 25 to feed the seals,
view Pacific Northwest sea life, and to celebrate the Seaside
Aquarium’s 75th Anniversary. Admission prices were rolled
back for the day to 1937 prices: 15 cents for adults, 10 cents
Inside, the walls along the tanks were festooned with
newspaper articles in chronological order from the 1930’s
to 2012, sharing the history of the Aquarium and its
inhabitants. A display on all things 1937 (including the
introduction of Spam) provided a context for the Aquarium’s
establishment. Seventy-five different prizes were given away
in drawings held throughout the day.
A whopping 1,483 adults and 502 children, both locals and
visitors from as far away as British Columbia, came to share
good wishes and fond memories of the
beach and the Seaside Aquarium. General
Manager Keith Chandler said he spent
the day listening to enthusiastic stories
about fishing, clamming, and the
(continued. on p.2)
From Natatorium to Aquarium
Lillian Viggers in front of the Seaside
Baths Natatorium, August 1924.
Photo courtesy of Susan Cagnolatti.
The Seaside Aquarium opened May 29, 1937 and has
been in operation for 75 years.
Photo from a postcard.
The building that holds the Seaside Aquarium was not originally created to
hold sea life! In 1924, it opened as the Seaside Baths Natatorium, an
indoor swimming pool. It was the second natatorium in Seaside. The
venture failed in the early 1930’s and the building sat empty until 1937
when a group of investors retrofitted the first floor to hold an aquarium.
Although changes were made to the building to accommodate tanks, much
of the piping framework needed to bring salt water in to the live creatures
was already in place. The pipes have been replaced numerous times, but
the structure is much the same seventy-five years later.