Aquarium Hours

Please note: Our aquarium is under new winter hours.
Aquarium Open:
Wednesday 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Saturday 10:00 am to 3:00 pm
Weekdays by Appointment


Gift Shop Closed:
Please shop online

Ludvig's Chowder Cart:

We are recruiting a Summer Interpreter Lead to work at SSSC.  The summer interpreters are the public face of the Science Center.  The position requires daily interaction with diverse groups of tourists and visitors to Sitka, including leading tours through the aquarium and hatchery, greeting guests, selling admissions at the front desk, and answering a multitude of questions.  Summer interpreters are often the only Science Center staff the guests will interact with, and it is critical that guests have a positive, fun experience.  The Science Center emphasizes scientific preparation and interpretative training so that interpreters provide visitors with accurate and comprehensive information.
For more information, and how to apply, please visit our website.
Creature Feature
This month, we are featuring the Puget Sound King Crab (Lopholithodes mandtii).  This crab is often described as an “underwater mini army tank” due to its size (up to 30 cm across), and its carapace shape (it is very boxy and knobby).  They are found from Sitka to Monterey California, subtidally down to about 137 meters.  Juveniles, such as the one seen here, are often a bright reddish-orange color, while adults are darker, with patches of orange, yellow, pink or purple.  Come see this little crab in our Intertidal tank.
Aquarium Updates
Octopus Encounter – We hosted our first Octopus Encounter on January 19.  Guests got to learn some fun octo-facts, and watch as we fed Pearl, our Giant Pacific Octopus.  After some gentle coaxing, she came out of her den and entertained the crowd for about 15 minutes.  We had about 80 people in attendance, with a mix of adults and kids.  The Octopus Encounter will be a once a month series, where we work with our two animals on different types of enrichment activities.
Our next Encounter will be on February 16 at 1:00pm.
Octopus Update
On January 29, we were able to get current weights for both our octopuses.  Kanaloa weighed in at 2.55kg (5.6 pounds).  Pearl weighed in at a whopping 9.07kg (19.996 pounds)!  We hope to get Kanaloa into a bigger tank very soon.
Education Beyond the Classroom
Outside of School!
Sprouts:  January is the month of earth science for pre-schoolers.  During the entire month of February, Sprouts will meet in the aquarium itself and have explorations centered around intertidal life.  The Karsh classroom will undergo a significant face-lift during this time and will not be available for Sprout stations.

Fab Friday: Adventure Club:  Middle school students have a semester of exciting adventures in the forests, on the mountains, in the water, and wherever we can find challenging experiences for students for this second semester.
Willoughby Peterson is the Research Coordinator and SIRF Director at the Sitka Sound Science Center. Will grew up right here in Sitka and is Tlingit of Raven moiety, a member of L’uknax.ádi Daginaa Hít (Out in the Ocean Salmon Box House). After graduating high school in 2008, he attended the University of California, Irvine (UCI), earning a B.S. in Environmental Engineering and a minor in Earth & Atmospheric Sciences. While studying, Will worked for the UCI Environmental Health & Safety Division in Radiation Safety. After graduating in 2013, Will wanted to explore and serve more of Alaska so he moved to Fairbanks to work with the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council (YRITWC). There he served as an Environmental Technician and the Brownfield Tribal Response Program Manager. Will has also worked for the Student Conservation Association and the State of Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. Willoughby is passionate about the conservation of our natural resources and the innovative practices of sustainability. In his free time Will enjoys hiking, being on the water, traveling, and practicing photography.
Looking Ahead
Save the Date – The 2019 Sitka WhaleFest Food Web Cruise will take place on March 23, leaving from Crescent Harbor.  Tickets are $55 and will go on sale online on February 15.  This cruise serves as the major fundraiser for Sitka WhaleFest.

Behind the Scenes - Our spring Behind the Scenes will kick off on February 6, from 5:30-7:00pm, with Astronomy.  This is a free, adults only event.
Board of Directors

Rob Allen

Vice Chair

Kitty LaBounty

Alana Peterson

Madison Kosma


Trish White
Justin Penny
Randy Lantiegne

Steve Clayton
Linda Waller
I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're doing something.
~Neil Gaiman
Education Updates
“The Fungi that Ate My School!”Fourth graders at Keet Gooshi Heen became curious about fungi after reading this bit of science fiction in their language arts curriculum.  Science Center educators shared ideas about mushroom structures and life cycle and left them with a mushroom farm and an array of spore prints developing on their classroom counter.  Later in January, 4th graders will extend the ideas of the language arts curriculum by learning about invasive crab monitoring.  They will set crab traps with Biological Monitor Biologist, Callie Simmons in the intertidal zone and learn to identify local crabs in an effort to answer the central question: “When do harmless things become harmful?”
Microbes and DNA Sequencing.  In Mrs. Moll’s classroom, students are setting up Fight Clubs.  Microbe Fight Clubs, that is.  Students prepared petri dishes streaked with microbes sampled from the bottom of their shoes for an examination by University of Alaska, Fairbanks post-doc, Anne-Lise Ducluzeau, a genomics researcher who will introduce MEHS students to the future of DNA sequencing. 
High School students move into spring fish culturing.  The Sitka High School Field Science students are experts in collecting and caring for salmon eggs as they worked each week for a day in the SJ Hatchery.  Now they get to see the results of all that work as our pink and chum fry emerge.  Now, Mrs. Golden’s class will learn the process of feeding and keeping the growing fry healthy.  Pacific High School Aquaculture elective students will also join SJ Hatchery culturists each Friday to learn about hatchery practices. 

Summer Camps!
February 4 is the date for the release of summer camp information and the opening of registration.  A sneak preview – the theme for this year is “Energy”!  Think solar ovens, renewable, combustion, and light sabers!
Research Updates
Students Muriel Reid and Sonja Briles presented the culmination of the first year of their work on the nutritional quality of giant kelp in Sitka Sound at the Alaska Marine Science Symposium in January. These students have worked on every aspect of the project from collecting kelp blades from neighboring kelp forests, to processing samples for stable isotope analysis, to synthesizing a years’ worth of data and observations. The students will continue to collect samples and data until this summer. 
Photo by Lauren Bell
A team of researchers from Dr. Kristy Kroeker's lab at the University of California Santa Cruz, including post-doc Umi Hoshijima and Sitka-based PhD student Lauren Bell, were diving in Sitka Sound in January, conducting seasonal surveys and field experiments to better understand how local kelp forests look and function in the cold winter months. They are finding that the small kelp grazers in the water respond to the temperature and water chemistry of Sitka Sound in the winter by changing the amounts that they feed, breathe, and potentially even reproduce. This team has many years of research ahead as they investigate the future of local kelp forest ecosystems in the face of global change.
Hatchery Happenings
This January, Bill Coltharp was able to attend the Alaska Fish Culture Conference held in Valdez. This conference is held every two years and host representatives from hatcheries around the state.  It is always valuable to get together and share techniques and information, because we may all raise salmon, but don’t or can’t all do it the same way. The two main topics of concern were DEC water monitoring, and otolith dry marking. Much was learned, especially that we are on the right track, or in some cases ahead of the game.
Much has happened since the November update. All BY 17 Coho have been coded wire tagged. Brood year 18 Coho eggs have been picked, dry marked, enumerated and seeded. Total number of live eggs came in at 240,000, with only 7,000 bad eggs. Survival to the eyed egg stage came in at 92%, and hatching has just started. Pink and Chum alevins are developing rapidly and preparations are being made for ponding to net pens. At this point it looks like ponding should be around mid-February. Sitka High and Mt Edgecombe students have helped with monthly weight sampling, yolk sac percentage sampling, as well as tagging the fresh water Coho. We will miss the MEHS students during the spring semester but welcome the Pacific high school students.
General Updates
The Mill Project
We have been dealing with some delays and permitting issues, but we hope to have this project starting very soon.  However, we still need YOUR help to make this project happen.  If you would like to contribute to the restoration and renovation of the historic Sitka Sawmill, please click here.
During the month of January the Sitka Sound Science Centers Mill Building has been the hosts of the Federal Employee Pop-Up Pantry. In collaboration with the United States Coast Guard Spouses & Womens Association here in Sitka this pantry was put together in response to the government shutdown that left the employees of some of our partner agencies without pay. These groups included the USCG, Park Service, Forest Service, TSA and some areas of the FAA, and the pantry was open to all of them.
On Saturday, January 19th a drive for donations was held and the Sitka community truly showed up and supported these people in a big way. The pantry was fully stocked and packed! We cannot thank the community enough not only for the donations of supplies but also the volunteering of their time. As of January 28th we have served 140 families. We will remain open until all federal employees have received paychecks.
When you give to the SSSC, you are helping the scientific and education mission that explores the Sitka Sound Ecosystems. The SSSC relies on funding support from foundations, grants, corporations and individuals.  Please also remember the SSSC in your will.  The SSSC is a 501(c)3 charitable organization, and contributions are deductible to the extent allowed by the IRS.
The Sitka Sound Science Center, a 501(c)3 charitable organization, is dedicated to increasing understanding and awareness of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems of Alaska through education and research.  Based in the only full-service community on the outer coast of Southeast Alaska, the SSSC is uniquely qualified to provide unparalleled access for research in Alaska.  Our vision is to build on Sitka's legacy and potential as an education and scientific community, facilitating collaborative research with scientists, industry, government, and community.
Copyright © 2018 Sitka Sound Science Center, All Rights Reserved.

Our mailing address is:
834 Lincoln Street
Sitka, Alaska 99835
Phone:  (907) 747-8878

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