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Oregon Coast's Hatfield Marine Science Center Fully Reopens for Spring Break

Published 03/19/2018 at 7:35 PM PDT - Updated 03/19/2018 at 8:05 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection Staff

Oregon Coast's Hatfield Marine Science Center Fully Reopens for Spring Break

(Newport, Oregon) – Newport's popular Hatfield Marine Science Center fully opens up its education wing this weekend, just in time for the beginning of spring break on the Oregon coast. March 24 is when the visitor center swings open its doors completely, after closing for repairs at the end of last year.

The visitor center had partially reopened in February as part of OSU's 150th anniversary celebration while work continued in other areas. Crews replaced the rusting, 21-year-old metal stands under many of the saltwater tanks, removed some exhibits, and created artificial rockwork modeled after real formations in Yachats.

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Even so, some additional renovations continue at the much-lauded Oregon coast facility, including some of the tanks. Aquatic life residing in those have been moved to other areas of the Hatfield. Oregon Sea Grant operates the visitor center and will soon be creating a “habitat” theme around the tanks so that when visitors walk through they will move from shore to shallows to deep sea.

The center's manager, Maureen Collson, said more exhibits are coming that show examples of the research being done in these environments.

Every year about 150,000 people pass through the doors of the center, where they can touch aquatic critters in an indoor tidepool, crash simulated tsunami waves against Lego structures, or watch an aquarist feed the octopus.

A recent economic analysis by OSU economist Bruce Sorte showed the Hatfield's visitor center and its research facilities support $7.6 million in income for Oregonians, $13.2 million in sales for businesses in Oregon, and 156 jobs throughout the state. About three-quarters of those impacts occur in Lincoln County, Sorte said.

“Since 1965, the Visitor Center has been teaching children and adults about marine science through fun, hands-on exhibits,” said Shelby Walker, the director of Oregon Sea Grant. “Although you can't put a price tag on the value of that experience, as Bruce's analysis shows, we can estimate the important economic contribution of the Visitor Center to Lincoln County and the state.”

These figures include the salaries paid to employees at the center and a multiplier effect of those dollars, the amount of money visitors spend on food and lodging, and the household expenditures of Oregon Sea Grant employees and people who supply goods and services linked to the center.

The Visitor Center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Thursday - Monday through Memorial Day, then from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily until Labor Day. The Hatfield Marine Science Center is at 2030 SE Marine Science Dr. Newport, Oregon. (Where to stay for these events - Where to eat - Map and Virtual Tour)

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