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An undersea view of Seattle's coral reef.

An undersea view of Seattle's coral reef

A long-planned Pacific coral reef exhibit has opened at the Seattle Aquarium, adding to its impressive array of marine displays. Short of donning mask and snorkel, it's the best way to experience the otherworldly beauty of reef life.

Centerpiece is a 25,000-gallon aquarium that you view through three large glass windows. Lifelike artificial coral and sea plants of fiberglass, concrete, and latex form the setting. Against this backdrop, young black-tipped reef sharks glide smoothly among brightly colored angelfish; triggerfish flit among the fan coral or dart in and out of the rocks.

Smaller tanks single out a moray eel, a chambered nautilus, and other reef dwellers; in all, some 100 species are represented by nearly 400 individual specimens. A large case displays a plethora of seashells.

Officials hope to have another new display open by late June. The State of the Sound exhibit is designed to help visitors assess Puget Sound's water quality themselves. You'll be able to gather plankton or scoop up sediment directly from Elliott Bay and examine it under a microscope. Interpretive graphics will explain what you're seeing.

Admission is $3.25 ($1.50 for ages 13 to 18 and seniors, 75 cents for ages 6 to 12); summer hours are 10 to 7 daily. The aquarium is on Seattle's waterfront, at the base of the Pike Place Market Hillclimb.

Photo: Black-tipped reef sharks and tropical fish prowl among the coral in new exhibit at Seattle Aquarium
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Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Seattle Aquarium
Publication:Sunset
Date:May 1, 1986
Words:248
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