Oregon Coast Aquarium: Perfect Destination for Families

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is a fantastic marine education and conservation center. It offers visitors an unforgettable experience with the underwater world of the Pacific Northwest.

From colorful fish to playful sea otters and majestic sharks to a giant Pacific octopus, there is something for everyone at the aquarium. In this article, we’ll take you on a virtual tour of the Oregon Coast Aquarium.

We will give you a sneak peek into the exhibits, events, and more. Whether you’re a seasoned aquarium-goer or a first-time visitor, this article will leave you eager to visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium!

What are the things you should know about Oregon Coast Aquarium?

Best Time to VisitMarch to September
Suggested Visit Duration2-3 hours
Visiting HoursOpens daily from 10 am to 5 pm
Ticket PricesStarting from $15.95
SpecialtyThe unique biodiversity of the Pacific Northwest, otters, seals, sea lions, sea birds, and numerous fish species.
Address2820 SE Ferry Slip Rd, Newport, OR 97365, USA (View on Maps)
Contact Number(s)+1 541-867-3474

What is the History of Oregon Coast Aquarium?

Local citizens founded the Oregon Coast Aquarium in 1984. These citizens were passionate about marine conservation and education.

After several years of fundraising and planning, the place opened in 1992. It focused on showcasing the unique marine life and habitats of the Pacific Northwest.

Over the years, the place has expanded its exhibits and educational programs. It has added a state-of-the-art animal rehabilitation center for injured and sick marine animals.

The place has also added new exhibits and upgraded existing ones to give people an even more immersive and engaging experience.

Fun Facts

  • The Oregon Coast Aquarium is home to North America’s largest indoor seabird aviary. Visitors can witness over 20 different species of birds.
  • The largest exhibit, Passages of the Deep, features a 360-degree underwater tunnel. This tunnel allows people to walk through a 200,000-gallon tank filled with sharks, rays, and other marine animals.
  • The place is a leader in marine animal rehabilitation. It has successfully rescued and released over 1,000 animals back into the wild.
  • The aquarium also features interactive displays that educate visitors on the importance of ocean conservation and sustainability.
  • It has a tunnel exhibit with three oceans having a 1.32 million gallon capacity.

Does Oregon Coast Aquarium offer Free Admission?

While admission fees at this place are relatively affordable, there are still ways to enjoy this excellent facility for free! For example, people can apply for membership if they plan to visit more often.

Free admission is also possible for infants. Visitors need not purchase tickets for their children below 2 years.

How much are the Tickets for Oregon Coast Aquarium?

  • Adults (18-64 years): $25.95
  • Young adults (13-17 years): $19.95
  • Seniors (65 years and above): $19.95
  • Child (3-12 years): $15.95
  • Infants and toddlers: Free
  • Members: Free

The admission tickets are readily available at the ticket counter. But people can also reserve their tickets in advance by purchasing them online.

What is the Ticket Discount at Oregon Coast Aquarium?

Several discounts and special offers can help visitors save money on admission. The aquarium offers the below-mentioned discounts to people.

  • Military discount: Active-duty military personnel and their families can receive discounted admission with a valid military ID.
  • EBT discount: Visitors with a valid EBT card can purchase their tickets at a discounted price. 
  • AAA discount: AAA members receive a 10% discount on their admission tickets.
  • Costco: Costco allows visitors to save a few bucks on ticket prices.
  • Groupon: Visitors can occasionally find discounted tickets on Groupon.

Before opting for any discount, people can check the aquarium’s website or call ahead to confirm before planning their visit.

Does Oregon Coast Aquarium have Gift Cards?

The aquarium lets visitors and people purchase gift cards for their loved ones. These gift cards are perfect for purchasing admission tickets, memberships, and other items at the gift shop.

People can get these gift cards directly from the aquarium’s website. Alternatively, there are external websites such as GiftRocket. These websites allow people to purchase and send digital gift cards to the recipient’s email address.

Recipients can use these gift cards at their leisure. These cards are a great gift for giving loved ones a fun and educational experience they will remember for years!

What are the Animal Encounters at Oregon Coast Aquarium?

Rockfish at Behind The Scenes © Oregon Coast Aquarium

The Oregon Coast Aquarium offers a variety of animal encounters. Visitors can witness several marine animals very closely. The below-mentioned animal encounters allow people to watch some of the fascinating sea creatures.

1. Behind-the-Scenes Tours

This animal encounter allows people to explore the inner workings of the place with a behind-the-scenes tour. Visitors can learn about the animal care and conservation efforts.

People joining those tours can also get an up-close look at some animals that call it home. These tours are available for an additional fee and require advanced reservations.

2. Octopus Encounter

Visitors can also opt for the Octopus Encounter. This encounter will bring people face-to-face with the most fascinating creature in the ocean.

During the encounter, explorers can learn about the octopus’s intelligence. Knowing about their unique adaptations and challenges in the wild also becomes easy.

This encounter is available on a first-come, first-served basis. So, visitors might need to make advanced reservations to enjoy this unique experience.

3. Sea Jelly Encounter

The Sea Jelly Touch Encounter provides people with a chance to touch a variety of sea jellies in a controlled environment. Visitors will learn about sea jellies’ anatomy and natural history during the encounter.

This encounter also informs people about the aquarium’s conservation efforts to protect these delicate animals.

The encounter is a great way to learn about the unique adaptations that allow sea jellies to thrive in their ocean habitat and dispel common myths and misconceptions about them.

4. Dive the Aquarium

Dive The Aquarium is a unique opportunity for certified divers to experience the exhibits from a new perspective. This encounter allows divers to explore the aquarium’s kelp forest exhibit.

This exhibit features a wide variety of marine life. Visitors can watch sharks, rays, rockfish, and other colorful species.

Divers will also be able to interact with some of the marine life.

What are the Exhibits at Oregon Coast Aquarium?

Sea Jelly Touch Encounter
Sea Jelly Touch Encounter © Oregon Coast Aquarium

There are several interesting exhibits at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. These exhibits are one-of-a-kind. They allow visitors to see marine life from a whole new perspective, leaving them thrilled.

Below are a few exhibits that you can enjoy exploring.

1. Passage of the Deep

The Passages of the Deep exhibit is one of the place’s main attractions. This exhibit has a series of tunnels. Viewing areas allow visitors to walk through the middle of a giant aquarium.

This exhibit gives visitors an up-close and personal look at various marine life.

2. Sandy Shores Exhibit

The Sandy Shores exhibit contains creatures that live on the sandy ocean floor. Some popular marine species here include stingrays, flatfish, and sand dollars.

Visitors can also learn about the unique adaptations of these animals. They can also understand how these animals thrive in their environment.

3. Otters Exhibit

The Otter Exhibit is a must-see attraction for people of all ages. This exhibit has two different species of otters: the playful river otters and the more elusive sea otters.

Visitors can learn about the unique characteristics of these animals by exploring this exhibit. It allows people to understand the importance of preserving their habitats.

4. Pinnipeds Exhibit

The Pinniped Exhibit showcases the fantastic variety of seals and sea lions found in the Pacific Northwest. The exhibit is home to a variety of species. Visitors can spot Steller sea lions, California sea lions, and harbor seals.

This exhibit lets people observe these marine mammals in their natural habitats above and below the water. It has a large pool that allows the animals to swim and play.

The exhibit contains several viewing areas that offer unique perspectives on their behavior.

5. Rocky Shores Exhibit

This exhibit showcases the intertidal zone, where the ocean meets the land. Visitors can see and touch a variety of marine creatures.

The Rocky Shores Exhibit contains sea stars, anemones, and crabs. The exhibit also showcases a replica of an offshore island where puffins and other seabirds make their homes.

6. Coastal Waters

The Coastal Waters exhibit at the Oregon Coast Aquarium showcases the rich and diverse marine ecosystems found along the Pacific coast. This exhibit takes explorers from the rocky intertidal zone to the deep open ocean.

The exhibit has a variety of tanks and displays. These tanks and displays highlight the unique characteristics of each habitat. Visitors can observe a wide range of marine animals.

Some popular animals that people can spot here include colorful anemones, starfish, crabs, fish, and larger predators like sharks and rays.

7. Octopus Cave

The Octopus Cave exhibit is also one of the must-see exhibits. This exhibit lets visitors explore the fascinating world of the octopus. They are one of the most intelligent and elusive creatures in the ocean.

The Octopus Cave has a large tank filled with water and rocks that mimic the octopus’s natural habitat. People can observe the octopus as it crawls along the bottom of the tank.

What are the Live Cams at Oregon Coast Aquarium?

If visitors can’t make it to the aquarium but want to explore the marine world, live cams can significantly help. A few live cams here allow people to witness the activities of marine animals.

1. Sea Otter Cam

This live cam allows spectators to watch the playful antics of rescued sea otters. Mostly, the live cam is accessible between 9 am to 6 pm. The sea otter cam is easily accessible on the aquarium’s website.

2. Behind the Scenes Otter Cam

The Behind the Scenes Otter Cam is also accessible to people on the official website. The camera runs throughout the day, allowing people to watch the otters swimming, grooming, and playing. 

3. Shark Cam

The Oregon Coast Aquarium offers people a thrilling and educational experience with its live ‘Shark Cam.’ This camera provides a close-up view of the sharks. 

Spectators can watch the sharks swim through the water and interact with each other and their environment.

4. Seabird Cam

People can witness the seabirds from the comfort of their homes. The seabird cam stays shut between 7 am to 10 am. People can watch these amazing species any time outside of these hours.

5. Weather Cam

There is also a weather cam that allows spectators to view the east of the Yaquina Bay Estuary. This estuary borders the place. So, people can see the weather and the environment around this place any time from their homes. 

What are the Learning Opportunities at Oregon Coast Aquarium?

Octopus Encounter
Octopus Encounter © Oregon Coast Aquarium

There are several learning opportunities for kids to enhance their knowledge and understanding of marine life. These programs provide a fun and interactive way for children to learn about the ocean and the creatures that call it home.

Some of the learning opportunities at the aquarium include:

1. Education Programs

Several on-site education programs help learners know about the National Ocean Literacy Principles. Teachers can access several resources. There are also many distance learning opportunities available. 

2. Field Trips

The aquarium hosts field trips for students and learners. This trip allows them to get insight into the marine world. Learners can also enjoy various activities, including animal encounters, games, crafts, and more. 

3. Sleepovers

There is a sleepover event called the ‘Sleep in the Deep’ for children and their families. After hours, participants can explore the aquarium, participate in animal encounters, and sleep in the Passages of the Deep exhibit.

4. Virtual Learning

The aquarium provides virtual learning opportunities. Participants can enroll in virtual field trips and online educational resources. The virtual learning experience is perfect for children who cannot visit in person.

What are the Events at Oregon Coast Aquarium?

People can book the event spaces at the aquarium to host their events uniquely. Visitors can host several types of events here.

The coordinating team is always ready to help book any event space and perfectly organize everything.

Some of the top events that people can host here include the following.

1. Private Events

The Oregon Coast Aquarium offers private event bookings for reunions, holiday parties, birthday celebrations, and other social events. The coordinating team can help people tailor the events to meet the guests’ specific needs.

The destination offers a unique setting to make the event memorable.

2. Corporate Events

People can also host corporate events here. There are plenty of meeting spaces available for businesses. There is ample space for corporate retreats and team-building exercises.

If anyone wishes to host an event here, it is easy to book a space by contacting the team.

3. Travel Tour Groups

Oregon Coast Aquarium offers travel tour group packages to people. The package provides a guided tour of exhibits and animal encounters and free time to explore the aquarium.

People can book the tour packages in advance through the official website or by contacting the group sales department.

What are the Dining Options at the Oregon Coast Aquarium?

The aquarium has one coffee shop that offers a variety of coffee, soft drinks, snacks, and some meals. Visitors can sip some freshly brewed coffee or choose from refreshing soft drinks.

The coffee shop also serves a range of snacks and some meals. Also, it provides a relaxing atmosphere with comfortable seating. The coffee shop is a perfect place to take a break and refuel during a visit to the aquarium.

Does Oregon Coast Aquarium have a Gift Shop?

The gift shop at the aquarium offers a wide range of marine-themed souvenirs, toys, books, and apparel for visitors of all ages. Guests can purchase unique items such as plush sea creatures and educational books on marine life.

The gift shop also has an extensive collection of artwork and home decor inspired by ocean life. People can also find sustainable and eco-friendly products like reusable straws and bags.

The gift shop is open during regular aquarium hours. Guests can also shop online through the website.

What are the Rescue & Conservation Efforts at Oregon Coast Aquarium?

The Oregon Coast Aquarium has been working towards going green and implementing various conservation efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. Some of the initiatives the authorities have taken include energy-efficient lighting, installing a solar panel array, using environmentally friendly cleaning products, and promoting water conservation.

The aquarium participates in several programs to support wildlife conservation and ocean health. These efforts include rescuing and rehabilitating marine animals, conducting research, and educating the public about environmental sustainability.

You can learn more about these conservation efforts and support the cause by visiting the aquarium.

Aquarium Map

Aquariums can be vast, and it is easy to get lost in the different exhibits, making navigating difficult. There’s usually an internal map to help visitors explore and locate various exhibits and facilities.

This map highlights various exhibits and amenities to help visitors navigate with ease.

People can find the map at the official website or get printed copies at the entrance. Visitors can check the map before visiting the place. Doing so will allow them to o plan their route and make the most of their visit.

How to Reach Oregon Coast Aquarium?

What are the Directions to Oregon Coast Aquarium?

Here’s how people can reach this destination to witness some wonderful marine creatures.

  • Public transport: The destination is easily accessible by public transportation. Visitors can hop on buses, light rail, and the Seattle Center Monorail to reach their destination.
  • Private vehicles: If visitors plan to drive to the aquarium, they can take exit 167 off Interstate 5. Follow the signs to the Seattle Center. There are several parking options available. For example, people can part at Seattle Center Mercer Garage.
  • Bicycles: The destination is near several bike trails, and bicycle parking is available outside the building. Bike rentals are also available nearby.
  • Ferry: If arriving by ferry, visitors can take a bus or taxi from the ferry terminal.

Is there Free Parking at Oregon Coast Aquarium?

Visitors can access free parking on-site. The aquarium has a parking lot named ‘Wolf Eel.’ If the parking lot is full, there are several parking options nearby.

The Seattle Center Mercer Garage is across the street. The 5th Avenue North Garage is a few blocks away. People can easily find ample parking spaces at these two places.

Parking rates vary by location and duration.

Does Oregon Coast Aquarium have EV Charging?

In the Wolf Eel parking lot of the Oregon Coast Aquarium, visitors can access three Level 2 EV charging stations that utilize J1772 plugs. These stations can simultaneously charge up to six electric vehicles.

What are the Hotels Nearby Oregon Coast Aquarium?

If visitors need to spend the night in Newport, several lodging options are nearby.

Here are the top hotels that are worth considering.

Hallmark Resort (Best Luxury Hotel)

Distance: 1.2 miles

Hallmark Resort is just a short walk from the aquarium. It is a luxurious hotel with comfortable rooms, a rooftop pool, a fitness center, and multiple dining options. If visitors need a luxurious place to stay, this hotel can be the best option.

La Quinta Inn and Suites (Best Business Hotel)

Distance: 0.1 miles

This hotel offers a range of amenities, such as a fitness center, outdoor pool, business center, and an on-site restaurant. The rooms at this hotel are spacious and equipped with modern amenities.

Elizabeth Oceanfront Suites (Best Budget Hotel)

Distance: 1.4 miles

This hotel offers comfortable and budget-friendly accommodations. Guests can get breakfast and free Wi-Fi. There is also a fitness center for fitness enthusiasts.

Elizabeth Oceanfront Suites is near the convention center and the aquarium.

Holiday Inn Express & Suites (Best Family-Friendly Hotel)

Distance: 0.1 miles

The Holiday Inn Express offers family-friendly accommodations with spacious rooms. Guests can access a pool, on-site dining options, and free shuttle service to nearby attractions.

This hotel is near the waterfront and offers stunning views of the harbor.

Inn at Nye Beach (Best Comfort Hotel)

Distance: 1.8 miles

Inn At Nye Beach allows pets and offers comfortable and spacious rooms with modern amenities. The hotel also features an outdoor pool, a fitness center, and multiple dining options.

What are the Restaurants Near Oregon Coast Aquarium?

The aquarium’s cafe house serves only standard refreshments. If visitors wish to try something new, several nearby restaurants serve some of the best bites.

Mo’s Restaurant (Best Seafood)

Distance: 1.6 miles

Mo’s is a popular seafood chain serving fresh and delicious seafood for over 70 years. Their famous clam chowder and fish and chips are a must-try.

Brewer’s On The Bay (Best Fine Dining)

Distance: 0.2 miles

Brewers On The Bay offers a fine dining experience with a menu emphasizing fresh, seasonal, and local ingredients. The restaurant has an elegant ambiance.

Such an ambiance is perfect for a romantic dinner or a special occasion.

Ocean Bleu Seafoods At Gino’s (Best Ocean View)

Distance: 0.8 miles

Ocean Bleu Seafoods At Gino’s offers stunning ocean views and a menu with the best fresh seafood and Pacific Northwest cuisine. The restaurant offers a casual and family-friendly atmosphere.

Fishtail’s Cafe (Best Seafood)

Distance: 0.1 miles

Local Ocean Seafoods is a seafood market and restaurant that provides sustainable and locally sourced seafood. The restaurant’s menu changes daily based on what is available and in season.

Nye Beach Cafe (Best Vegan)

Distance: 1.7 miles

Nye Beach Cafe is a restaurant that serves the best vegan and gluten-free dishes. This restaurant is the best place for vegans.

What are the Attractions Near Oregon Coast Aquarium?

After exploring the aquarium, visitors can head to the nearby attractions for a fun experience. These attractions are worth exploring because of their popularity.

Yaquina Head Lighthouse

This lighthouse is just 4 miles north of the aquarium. Yaquina Head Lighthouse is a historic lighthouse that offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the surrounding coastline.

People can tour the lighthouse, explore the nearby tide pools, and watch for whales and other marine life.

Hatfield Marine Science Center

The Hatfield Marine Science Center is a research and education facility located just 0.3 miles south of the aquarium in Newport.

Visitors can explore exhibits on marine science and touch live marine animals. This facility allows visitors to take a behind-the-scenes tour.

Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area

Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area is a stunning coastal park about 10 miles south of the aquarium.

The park has a unique rock formation out by the ocean waves. There are many beautiful beaches, hiking trails, and picnic areas.

Oregon Coast Trail

The Oregon Coast Trail is a scenic hiking trail stretching for 382 miles along the entire length of the Oregon coast.

Visitors can access the trail from several locations near the aquarium. Visiting this trail is a great way to enjoy stunning views of the ocean, forests, and wildlife.

Rogue Ales & Spirits

Located in the heart of Newport, Rogue Ales & Spirits is a popular brewery. This brewery offers tours, tastings, and a pub with great food and beer.

Visitors can try a variety of craft beers and spirits. It is also possible to learn about the brewing process and the history of the Rogue brand.

What are the Working Options at the Oregon Coast Aquarium?

The Oregon Coast Aquarium offers many jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities. Here are some examples:

1. Jobs

People can apply for many kinds of jobs at this place. There are several job opportunities for aquarists, aviculturists, admission associates, development membership data clerks, etc. 

Several job vacancies open from time to time. Most of the information about the jobs at the aquarium gets updated on its website.

2. Internships

The aquarium offers internships in various fields. Participants can apply for animal care, education, marketing, and research. These internships provide hands-on experience and training in the industry.

3. Volunteer Opportunities

There is a dedicated team of volunteers who help with tasks such as animal care, exhibit maintenance, guest services, and education programs. Volunteers receive training and work closely with staff members to support the aquarium’s mission.

4. Beach Cleanups

Other than these opportunities, if someone wishes to contribute to making marine life better, there are beach cleanup opportunities available. The aquarium takes an endeavor to clean the beaches from time to time. 

Does Oregon Coast Aquarium Accept Donations?

The aquarium accepts donations to support its animal care, conservation, and education programs. The contributions that people make help the aquarium provide the best possible care for its animals.

These funds help them protect and conserve marine life and ecosystems. Donating to the aquarium is a great way to make a difference and support its important work. To donate for animals’ betterment, click here.

What are the Reviews of Oregon Coast Aquarium?

The place has received numerous positive reviews from people who have enjoyed their experiences here. Visitors have praised the exhibits, the staff, and the overall atmosphere of the place.

People can find many positive reviews about the aquarium on TripAdvisor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Oregon Coast Aquarium?

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is located in Newport, Oregon, United States.

Is Oregon Coast Aquarium free?

No, the entry is not free. There is an admission fee, and prices may vary depending on the visitor’s age and residency.

How big is Oregon Coast Aquarium?

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is a 23-acre facility with over 500,000 gallons of water and 15,000+ animals.

How long to spend at the Oregon Coast Aquarium?

The time spent at the Oregon Coast Aquarium may vary depending on the visitor’s interest and schedule. However, visitors typically spend around 2-3 hours exploring the exhibits.

Where to park at Oregon Coast Aquarium?

The aquarium has a parking lot that is near to the entrance.

How much is parking at Oregon Coast Aquarium?

The parking fee at the Oregon Coast Aquarium is free. You can explore some nearby options if you don’t find a parking spot at the aquarium.

Is the Oregon Coast Aquarium worth visiting?

Yes, the place is worth visiting and great for people of every age. It allows visitors to explore various marine habitats and species, participate in educational programs and events, and learn about conservation efforts.

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A word from FishInAquarium

We hope you came across all the necessary information about the Oregon Coast Aquarium in our guide. We tried to cover everything about the destination, from ticket prices and parking to nearby hotels and restaurants.

Visiting the aquarium is an excellent way to spend leisure time with family and friends while learning about marine life and conservation efforts. If you found this aquarium guide helpful, please share it with others planning to visit it.

Minnie B Miller - Professional aquarist and owner of FishInAquarium

About Minnie B Miller

Minnie B. Miller, a professional aquarist and owner of FishInAquarium, has over 8 years of expertise in fish breeding and care, gained through her roles at AquaticTX and Sea Lion Landing. Having honed her skills with various aquatic species, she is dedicated to empowering fellow enthusiasts by sharing her knowledge and experience.