The Oregon Coast Aquarium will always be remembered as the home of Keiko, the famous orca from the movie ‘Free Willy.’
It is also one of Newport, Oregon’s most popular attractions because of its incredible exhibits, wonderful marine animals, and spectacular efforts to rescue and rehabilitate innumerable marine life.
The Oregon Coast Aquarium is also well known for its exciting festive activities such as Trick or Treat Street, Holiday Lights Festival, and lots more. The aquarium also has amazing space for personal celebrations, from weddings to birthdays to meetings and barbecues.
Besides the entertainment factor, the Oregon Coast Aquarium also strives to educate young learners on marine science and its many aspects. Their Outreach Program reached over 101 schools and other educational institutions with their presentations and programs.
The aquarium provides an extensive database for online research and studies on the coastal region’s natural wonders. The Oceanscape Network also encourages students and educators to post pictures and videos of animal sightings and share their experiences with others like them and the staff at the aquarium.
As responsible members of society, there is much that a visitor can do to assist the aquarium in their noble work by supporting them in their various endeavors. Join the Oregon Coast Aquarium, adopt an animal program, buy a brick, make a donation or volunteer your time in the various volunteering programs.
The Oregon Coast Aquarium is a complete package of entertainment, learning, and research, and each visitor will enjoy each facet of this incredible attraction in Newport, Oregon.
The aquarium is a non-profit, public aquatic and marine life exhibit facility to provide an informed view of the wealth of marine life in the coastal area and its fragility.
- Oregon Coast Aquarium offers a wide range of education programs to promote environmental awareness and marine life conservation.
- This aquarium is a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, a global leader in wildlife preservation, conservation, and education.
- The footfall in the Oregon Coast Aquarium each year is approximately 420,000.
- The aquarium features 259 different species and 15000 specimens of aquatic animals.
- The aquarium is open all year round except on 25th December. The opening hours for Summer are 10 am to 6 pm, and Winter hours are 10 am to 5 pm.
- Members enjoy unlimited admission for the whole year, reciprocal admissions to 11 other attractions in Oregon, discounts on various events and programs, free entry to a variety of festivities, discounts on gift shop merchandise, and facility rentals.
- The Oregon Coast Aquarium rehabilitates and, whenever possible, releases injured fur seals, sea turtles, wild birds, harbor seal pups, and other endangered species.
- The aquarium also provides a long-term home for those injured marine animals and birds unfit to be let out in the wild again.
- The aquarium was home to Keiko, the Oregon Coast Aquarium Orca from Free Willy, who had won hearts worldwide till he was released in Iceland in 1998.
- The story of Oregon Coast Aquarium Keiko changed the perception of animal attraction in these environments and increased the protection of orca pods worldwide.
- Converted The Oregon Coast Aquarium whale tank built for Keiko into a new exhibit, Passages of the Deep, which is now home to several rays, rockfish, and lots of sharks.
- The Sea-Bird Aviary is North America’s largest walk-through aviary.
The Oregon Coast Aquarium is ranked amongst the top 10 aquariums in the country. Below are some of the highlights of this incredible place.
Learn more by visiting its official website.
The indoor exhibits of the aquarium have three galleries featuring the marine life and natural habitats found on the sandy and rocky shores of Oregon’s coastal area. There is also a children’s interactive area and an exhibit that features a science fiction theme and underwater fantasy.
The outdoor exhibits are replicas of rocky shores, rugged cliffs, pools, and caves. These exhibits are home to the Oregon Coast Aquarium octopus, sea lions, otters, seals, etc.
The aquarium also has a sanctuary, the Seabird Aviary, for wild marine birds like the tufted puffins and other ocean birds.
The aquarium offers several opportunities for visitors to interact with the resident animals and better understand their nature and beauty. Guests can shake hands with the Giant Octopus or touch the Moon Jellies.
Behind the Scenes Tour
Learn how the aquarium takes care of the 15000 different marine animals that call the Oregon Coast Aquarium their home. With these tours, visitors can learn how food preparation takes place, how the medical facility takes care of the health of these animals, and lots more.
The aquarium offers a wide range of exciting activities for adults and children alike. The Oregon Coast Aquarium’s sleep with the shark programs lets visitors explore the aquarium after dark and spend the night watching sharks and rays swimming around. Trick or Treat Street is an annual Halloween program, and Sea of Lights is a special program for Christmas.
The aquarium is also available for several types of celebrations such as receptions, parties, meetings, weddings, etc. The aquarium also offers catering services for these events.
The Oregon Coast Aquarium Outreach Program experts visit hundreds of schools and other educational institutions across the state to teach about marine science and the importance of the conservation of the underwater world. Oceanscape is an extensive digital resource program for educators and teenagers that explores the natural underwater world. These resources can be accessed online as well as from person to person.
Onsite learning programs include Aquatots targeted at teaching preschool children about the oceans and their incredible inhabitants.
The Oregon Coast Aquarium volunteer programs offer opportunities for young teens and adults to volunteer in the various programs at the aquarium. Volunteers assist in various aquarium departments, right from the husbandry department to exhibit interpretation and maintenance.
Adult volunteers are 18 years and above, while youth volunteers are between 14 to 18 years of age.
The Oregon Coast Aquarium has two different exhibits for its animals. The indoor exhibits and the outdoor exhibits.
The Indoor Exhibits include three galleries that replicate the natural habitat of the coastal region of Oregon.
The Sandy Shores features the narrow ecosystem of the Oregon Coast, where land meets water. This narrow stretch has a world of its own, with different types of marine creatures buried in the sand and hidden between rocks.
This section has a total of 13 separate exhibits and holds interactive video sessions for visitors.
This exhibit replicates the rocky shores of Oregon and houses various invertebrates like sea stars, limpets, gentle but fierce-looking wolf eel, rockfish, crabs, etc. It houses a total of 15 different exhibits.
The star attraction of this exhibit Oregon Coast Aquarium tide pool, allows visitors to touch the anemones, sea stars, etc., that have made this exhibit their home.
This Oregon Coast Aquarium exhibit is home to various moon jellies, sea nettles, red sea urchins, leather stars, and lots more. It also houses a special California kelp forest.
It is one of the aquarium’s largest displays and holds up to 35,000 gallons of water. It also explains the life cycles of Coho and Chinook Salmon.
Passages of the Deep
This 1.32 million gallon capacity tunnel exhibit features three different ocean habitats connected by stretches of water that are about 200 feet. It gives the illusion to the visitors that they are walking beneath the sea.
It also gives a complete 360-degree view of the sea and the 3 500 creatures who live in it. It offers a view of the changing landscapes that occur naturally at sea.
This section exhibits the anemones, rockfish, and wolf-eels living in perfect harmony with the schooling surfperch amongst the kelp. An artificial mechanism creates an environment that makes the visitors think they are walking under the kelp forest.
This exhibit shows a submerged ship that is wrecked inside this exhibit among the kelp. Sturgeon, lingcod, halibut, a flounder, and various disc-shaped fish related to the shark and ray fish.
These animals have made this wrecked ship their nesting or resting ground and display a vibrant community.
This exhibit represents the largest environment on the earth and has a capacity of about 8,75,000 gallons. It houses five different species of sharks, bat rays, salmon, mackerel, and schools of anchovy.
There are pools of light that reach inside the ocean and create an illusion of endless water. This exhibit is one of the most popular ones and has the aquarium’s largest specimen, the Broadnose Sevengill shark.
Oregon Coastal Aquarium seapunk exhibit is the latest addition to the exhibits here. It is modeled after an underwater fantasy based on a fictional novel that involves the building of crippled submarines underwater.
It involves the perfect merging of modern-futuristic technologies with the historical Victorian era.
As the name explains, this section includes the rugged cliffs and caves, and pools that serve as home to various Oregon Coast Aquarium animals like sea otters, harbor seals, and many other creatures. Other than exhibits, it includes various playing grounds along with picnic tables.
Sea Otter Exhibit
This exhibit is the home to numerous rescued sea otters originally abandoned when they were small pups. They make your visit worthwhile with their public display of feeding, playing, and frolicking in the pools.
Seal and Sea Lion Exhibit
This section allows you to view the Harbour seals and California Sea Lions through the above and underwater windows. It contains 90,000 gallons of water and has a depth of 15 feet which gives enough space for the animals to dive, play and play around in the water.
This exhibit has five different seabird species- horned puffins, pigeon guillemots, tufted puffins, common murres and rhinoceros auklets, and a single shorebird species- the black oystercatcher. It has two pools that make it convenient for the birds to fly underwater, which visitors can view through underwater windows.
There are numerous artificial rocks placed intentionally to encourage laying eggs and mating in the birds.
Turkey Vulture Aviary
It is a special outdoor animal exhibit dedicated to the sibling Turkey Vultures, Olive, and Ichabod. These two birds were rescued by the team when they were chicks. This exhibit spreads awareness about the importance of scavenger birds for our environment.
Giant Pacific Octopus Cave
This exhibit is the home to Oregon Coast Aquarium’s elusive Giant Pacific Octopus named Theodore. He is a shy animal and often hides in the corners and nooks and crannies of the exhibits.
Animal Encounters at Oregon Coast Aquarium
Oregon Coast Aquarium offers two forms of animal encounters to touch these animals and observe them very closely.
This special encounter allows visitors to interact closely with the Giant Pacific Octopus. You can have the opportunity to interact with the octopus and shake hands with them or their tentacles. It also adds a behind-the-scenes tour that gives educational facts about the octopus.
Sea Jelly Encounters
This exhibit consists of moon jellies or commonly called Aurelia aurita. There are video and audio sessions that give information about these jellyfish. It also allows the visitors to touch the top of the ‘jelly’ or their bell. They are non-stingy and safe to touch.
Oregon Coast Aquarium Live Cam
In Newport, the Oregon Coast Aquarium is always coming up with creative and engaging ideas to connect animal lovers with the animals in the facility. The installation of the live cams lets fans connect to various activities that these marine animals are up to.
Oregon Coast Aquarium shark cam lets you connect with the aquarium and learn all there is to know about ocean education and conservation. Enjoy Shark Week with live feeds from the shark tank and learn about each of these incredible predators.
Oregon Coast Aquarium otter cam connects people with live feeds on all the activities these playful creatures engage in the whole day. The life feeds also help workers at the aquarium keep a watchful eye on these animals.
The Seabird live Cam helps the staff at the aquarium keep an eye on the common murre eggs and when they hatch.
The Oregon Coast Aquarium general admission tickets are quite reasonable. However, there are several Oregon Coast Aquarium coupons that are available online.
- The general Oregon Coast Aquarium admission tickets are priced at $24.95 for Adults, $19.95 for senior citizens 65 years and above, $19.95 for young adults between 13 to 17 years, and $14.95 between 3 to 12 years; children below three years can enter for free.
- Several sites offer excellent Oregon Coast Aquarium promo codes, and by using these codes, you can enjoy further discounts on the price of the Oregon Coast Aquarium tickets.
- Those in the military get a $3 Oregon Coast Aquarium Military discount on tickets purchased from the counter when presented with a valid ID.
- On Veteran’s Day, military personnel and veterans get free entry into the aquarium, and guests get a flat 10% discount on the Oregon Coast Aquarium rack card.
- Get a multitude of benefits with an Oregon Coast Aquarium Membership. The benefits include unlimited free admission for one whole year, free admission to several events like Sea of Lights, and lots more. To know more about Oregon Coast Aquarium membership benefits, visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium website.
- During major events like Oregon Coast Aquarium Holiday Lights or Oregon Coast Aquarium Halloween, you can get a Groupon for the Oregon Coast aquarium to enjoy the maximum price reduction in Oregon Coast Aquarium tickets.
- Tickets for special occasions may not be easily available, or the Oregon Coast Aquarium prices may be on the higher side. During this time, you can opt for an Oregon Coast Aquarium Groupon to reduce ticket prices. However, these special tickets need bookings, and the prices may vary.
- Oregon Coast aquarium aaa discounts offer a savings of 10% on admission tickets at several AAA stores across the state.
- Several museums, zoos, and other attractions in the Portland area have teamed up to offer several reciprocal programs, such as the Oregon Coast Aquarium’s reciprocal membership.
- The Oregon Coast Aquarium reciprocity benefits are valid within the period given and can be used as many times as needed during that time.
Shows and Events
Sea of Lights
The Oregon Coast Aquarium Christmas lights light up the aquarium every Friday and Saturday night for the whole of December. It is an annual program where half a million colorful lights and festive decorations. Visitors explore the aquarium after hours as they enjoy the festive spirits.
There are other engaging and creative activities and experiences for the guests. The cost of the tickets for this event is $2 plus 2 canned people or pet food per entry.
You can also get your Oregon Coast Aquarium photos with Santa as memorabilia to take home with you.
Trick or Treat Street
Oregon Coast Aquarium Halloween organizes an annual event to celebrate Halloween in the facility and raise food collection for the Food Share of Lincoln County. The event organizes mock storefronts of local businesses that hand out treats to all children who enter the aquarium.
It is a dry and safe environment for children 12 years and under to trick or treat. The entry is free with two cans of non-perishable human or pet food.
Valentine’s Day Seal and Sea Lion Kisses
Celebrate this festival of love uniquely and intriguingly at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Enjoy fun experiences with the seals, sea lions, and other animals at the aquarium. However, the special kisses need to be booked, and availability is limited.
The animal husbandry department creates fun experiences for the animals at the aquarium too. Holiday-themed toys treat and other enrichment programs are designed to entertain these marine inhabitants at the aquarium.
The Oregon Coast Aquarium has a wonderful space for personal events, right from weddings, birthdays, family reunions, meetings, and so much more. There are different areas within the facility that guests can choose from for their celebrations.
Guests can enjoy private visits with the various Oregon Coast Aquarium animals, from seals to sea lions to sea otters and sea birds. The indoor galleries are also open for guests to explore and get descriptions from the accompanying volunteer.
Gleason Event Room
It is a perfect setting for a sit-down dinner or a barbecue on the adjoining terrace that overlooks the Yaquina Bay estuary. This space is ideal for 60 to 100 people, and its unique setting is right next to the Deep exhibit’s Passages.
A large viewing window offers an excellent view of the exhibit with sharks and rays swimming about.
This event space is ideal for a perfect Oregon Coast Aquarium birthday or a family reunion.
The room also has a projector, a screen and a great sound system for meetings and conferences. The terrace is a wonderful spot for evening celebrations or cocktail parties.
The theatre can hold up to 80 people and 27 classroom-style settings. It is a great place for meetings and presentations. On request, Can arrange a podium and other presentation tools. The aquarium also uses the theatre for educational videos and lectures.
We can use the entire space in the aquarium for private after-hours events, including the other event rooms and the theatre. You can use the Main Galleries for your functions surrounded by sharks, rays, skates, and other enthralling marine animals.
There is also a touch pool where guests can gently touch sea stars and urchins and watch the moon jellies and sea nettles as they float around in the Coastal Waters Gallery.
The Main Lobby can accommodate about 75 to 100 people.
It has beautiful vaulted ceilings and bay windows ideal for a perfect Oregon Coast Aquarium wedding. The lobby is also equipped with a state-of-the-art sound system.
Oregon Coast Aquarium Volunteer Programs
Oregon Coast Aquarium offers several opportunities for those who are passionate about marine science and conservation. These volunteer programs come with a lot of benefits too.
- Volunteers gain knowledge and experience that count
- Free passes to the aquarium
- Membership in the aquarium
- Discounts at the Oregon Coast Aquarium gift shop
- Continuous training classes on marine animals
- Reciprocal visits with partner institutions
All Volunteers have different roles and responsibilities depending on their knowledge, skills, and interests.
- Interpreters: These volunteers engage with the visitors and tell them about the Oregon Coast Aquarium and the animals there.
- Animal Care Assistants: These help the animal husbandry staff with record-keeping, food preparation for the animals, and maintaining the aquarium.
- Divers: These help to keep the exhibits clean and ensure the animals have a healthy environment to live in.
- Oceanscape Network Youth Correspondents: These Oregon Coast Aquarium Volunteers help create online education material to help educators and young learners learn the different aspects of marine science and conservation.
- The Summer Youth Program: This program helps volunteers learn about the marine ecosystem, and marine science and build a career in this field.
- The School Year Youth Program: These programs allow teenagers to work in teams on projects that make a difference in the community.
The Oregon Coast Aquarium recognizes the importance of educating young learners and educators about the underwater world and marine science. Hence, it has put together various courses targeting different groups.
These are grade-appropriate lessons aligned with the state and national educational standards, and the curriculum is designed along with the Ocean literacy principles.
In this program, the Oregon Coast Aquarium educators visit schools across the state with their engaging presentations on marine science.
It is an assembled program that includes lots of student participation. Role plays with costumes and life-sized inflatable animals and animal biofacts.
It is a distance learning program offered by the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport for preteens and teens to connect with the different aspects of marine science.
All the materials put together for educators are in line with the state’s educational curriculum and goals. The program has a teacher’s planning guide, virtual tours, bringing the whole practical learning to the classroom, and designing activities and lessons that teach about the unique species that inhabit the rocky Oregon coasts.
These resources facilitate teachers’ curiosity about marine science, the ecosystem, the survival of marine animals, and conservation.
The Oregon Coast Aquarium is located at 2820 SE Ferry Slip Rd, Newport, OR 97365.
For those coming from out of town, the official website has an Oregon Coast Aquarium map that can help you with easy directions. You can also call on the Oregon Coast Aquarium phone number for directions.
The Oregon Coast Aquarium hours are 9:30 am to 5:00 pm.
Parking is available for cars and RVs in the parking lot that is not far from the entrance. There are also parking spaces reserved for school buses and large groups visiting the aquarium.
RV Parks Nearby
Port of Newport Marina RV Park is within walking distance of the Oregon Coast Aquarium. It is an up-to-date RV park with full hook-ups with pull-through, back-in, and pull-in options.
Port of Newport Annex is another RV park near the aquarium. It is a legacy park with full hook-ups and gravel paths.
The Ferry Slip Café: This is a great place to grab a meal while visiting the Oregon Coast Aquarium. The cafe has a lot of typical cafe food that would please kids and adults alike. Great food-friendly service is what this Oregon Coast Aquarium restaurant is all about.
Coffee Bar: A small coffee shop in the lobby with snacks and refreshments.
If you have brought your food, you can eat it outside on the neatly arranged picnic tables. However, outside food is not allowed in the aquarium facility.
Support the Efforts
The Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport strives to rehabilitate all kinds of marine animals, and there are several ways in which the community can support its efforts.
Adopt an Animal
The aquarium is home to over 15000 fish, marine mammals, invertebrates, and birds—the upkeep of each of these animals costs close to $15000 a year. Patrons and animal enthusiasts can help with the upkeep of the animals by adopting an animal for a year through the animal adoption program.
Buy a Brick
Buy a personalized brick and watch it get installed in the aquarium’s pathway or the aviary. It can have your name engraved on it or that anyone you want to dedicate it to.
Make a difference by responding to the various Oregon Coast Aquarium Donation Requests.
The aquarium offers employment opportunities in various fields, including customer service, animal husbandry, marine conservation, educational outreach, and many more. To get details on the latest openings, visit the official website or call on the Oregon Coast Aquarium phone number.
If you want to gain some experience after completing your studies, you can also apply for the various Oregon Coast Aquarium internship programs.
Off The Hook Bar & Grill
It is a typical comfort food kind of restaurant about 0.2 miles away from the aquarium. They serve a great menu of traditional American comfort food, seafood, and a bar to boot.
Located on Ferry Slip Road, this cafe is a great place to enjoy some freshly made seafood or enjoy a breakfast brunch. Great food and great customer service are what this cafe is known for.
Georgie’s Beachside Grill
A grill is a great place for seafood and traditional American fare near the Oregon Coast Aquarium.
Inn at NYE Beach
This hotel is set right on the beach and is located 3 miles from the Oregon Coast Aquarium. The hotel features elegant rooms with free wifi, a flat-screen TV, balconies, continental breakfast, and a weekly wine social.
Hallmark Resort Hotel
It is a wonderful seaside hotel with sea-facing rooms, kitchenettes, whirlpool tubs, etc. It also has a saltwater pool, sauna, a fitness center, and a casual restaurant.
The hotel is about 1.7 miles from the Oregon Coast Aquarium.
La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Newport
It is one of the most conveniently located Oregon Coast Aquarium hotels with modern rooms, microwaves, a mini-fridge, and other amenities. Suites have whirlpools, and the property has an indoor pool with a hot tub.
This hotel is just a five-minute walk from the Oregon Coast Aquarium.
Elizabeth Oceanfront Suites
This wonderful hotel is located on a bluff overlooking the ocean, and it is only about 2.1 miles from the aquarium. The property has traditional rooms with ocean view balconies, and upgraded rooms have whirlpools and pull-out sofas.
Embarcadero Resort Hotel & Marina
Located on Yaquina Bay, this hotel is just 4 miles away from the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Rooms are casual yet elegant with relaxing décor. The property has an indoor saltwater pool, saunas, gym, and other amenities, including boat rentals, etc.
Top 10 Attractions Nearby
- Hatfield Marine Science Centre
- Nye Beach
- Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area
- Yaquina Bay State Recreation Site
- Historic Burrows House and Pacific Maritime Heritage Center
- Beverly Beach State Park
- Siuslaw National Forest
- Seal Rock State Recreation Site
- Devil’s Punch Bowl State Natural Area
- Yaquina Bay Bridge
The Oregon Coast Aquarium is dedicated to designing creative and unique experiences for the animals that call the aquarium their home.
They also strive to bring awareness to the general public about the importance of a balanced water ecosystem and the conservation of its life forms.
The beauty of the ocean can express by the large variety of animals that make these oceans their home. The aquarium is actively working on providing these animals with a clean and healthy habitat for them to thrive.
The aquarium is also actively involved in organizing cleaning drives to keep the beaches clean, a community activity.