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Oregon Coast Aquarium Enters New Phase of Remodels, Additions

Published 11/29/23 a 5:45 a.m.
B
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Oregon Coast Aquarium Enters New Phase of Remodels, Additions

(Newport, Oregon) – Over its 30-some-year existence, Oregon Coast Aquarium has gone through some major redo's, including a few new attractions just in the last year. Now, the huge fan favorite is beginning another phase of expansions and additions, as well as remaking and modernizing some areas. (All photos courtesy Oregon Coast Aquarium)

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Indoor galleries are getting some facelift work as a few of the habitats are getting redone as well, overall creating some new visitor experiences as well as enhancing others. Meanwhile, the fun and excitement doesn't stop as work goes on.

Some areas are temporarily closed, such as the Sandy Shores and Rocky Shores exhibit, but they're getting some major improvements and should reopen in June of 2024. Behind the Scenes tours still bring visitors beyond the usual sights, allowing them to learn about the critters and how the Aquarium takes care of them.

Still striking is the Sea Jelly Encounter, with wowing creatures such as the moon jelly floating effortlessly in those vividly-colored tanks, which even includes the possibility of touching some of the species (which will not sting you).

What's coming up?

A whole 13 displays in the Sandy Shores are set: boasting flatfish, sea pens, an exhibit with pier pilings and more. There's also going to be new signage and yet more interactive digital platforms.


Rocky Shores will have 15 exhibits, including an expansion of its famed touch pool. It's getting 30 percent larger and will be ADA accessible. On top of that, there will be more to the Giant Pacific Octopus showcase, giving you further glimpses into that beautiful and extremely intelligent presence.

Once these two open in 2024, Oregon Coast Aquarium will turn its attention to Coastal Waters, its third indoor gallery.

“Drawing inspiration from the Pacific Rim, visitors will journey into a coastal ecosystem that showcases marine life from across the globe with seahorses navigating around seamounts, a new mangrove exhibit, and a dedicated sea jellies gallery that promises to enchant visitors,” the aquarium said.

Carrie Lewis, President and CEO of the Oregon Coast Aquarium, said the attraction will remain a vital resource for ocean education in the region, even during this construction period.

Among the new additions that have been available for awhile are the new nature play area, the headwaters feature, the outdoor theater and the new lobby, along with with the updated Moon Jelly Cafe.

Lewis said enhancements like these aren’t possible without the support of its visitors and donors. To learn more about the Aquarium’s current projects and progress, visit www.givetoaquarium.org. For information about the Oregon Coast Aquarium go to www.aquarium.org.

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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