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Oregon Coast Aquarium Swims in a Sea of Lights

Published 11/14/23 a 4:25 a.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Oregon Coast Aquarium Swims in a Sea of Lights

(Newport, Oregon) – There's more to the atmosphere of Newport's beloved Oregon Coast Aquarium now than just pretty fishies – as if that wasn't enough. It will soon be awash in a sea of lights, as tens of thousands of bulbs are strung along various surfaces of the legendary facility, creating a warm, holiday glow. (All photos Oregon Coast Aquarium)

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Starting in December, the Oregon Coast Aquarium (OCA) is in a cheery, holiday state of mind for all five weekends. Walkways around the grounds become ethereal and whimsical, sometimes transformed into magical beasts or otherworldly shrubbery.

Sea of Lights is a much-anticipated annual tradition that has continued glowing and growing each year. Throughout the grounds, larger-than-life neon outlines of rockfish, seahorses, jellies and other sea creatures stand illuminated, guiding visitors toward their living counterparts within the aquarium’s galleries. The Aquarium’s colorful Coastal Waters gallery will be open, as will Passages of the Deep - that iconic 200-foot-long underwater tunnel that dazzles and is almost dizzying. Outdoors, visitors can wander natural paths and glimpse snoozing seals and sleepy otters resting in their habitats.

It's also a special after-hours evening event, happening each Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Each time, the Aquarium will offer a unique holiday-themed attraction. Aquarium members can attend any weekend at no cost, with general admission tickets priced at $10 per person - or free with same-day paid admission.

There's also a charitable side all this cheer. On the second weekend (Dec. 8 and 9), tickets will be just $5 for those who bring a canned food donation to benefit the Food Share of Lincoln County.

You can get tickets online or snag them at the door.

Santa descends on the Oregon Coast Aquarium as well, there to pose for photos and hear the Christmas wishes of all boys 'n girls. After he departs for the rest of the globe, the Snow Queen makes a special appearance. You'll get to dig into live music from the Oregon Coast Recorder Society on Friday, Dec. 8, and from the Pacific Coast Wind Ensemble on Saturday, Dec. 16.

The last two weekends will feature a face-painting booth where guests can discover their true winter look.

So pack a pair of mittens and your favorite coat, and chart a course for an unforgettable holiday experience at Sea of Lights.

Find more information, updates, and tickets online at

The Sea of Lights Schedule:

12/1 & 12/2. Santa & Elves, Reindeer, Oregon Coast Recorder Society (8th only)

12/8 & 12/9. Santa & Elves, Food Drive*

12/15 & 12/16. Santa & Elves, Pacific Coast Wind Ensemble (16th only)

12/22 & 12/23. Santa & Elves, Facepainting

12/29 & 12/30. Snow Queen, Facepainting

Oregon Coast Aquarium is located at 2820 S.E. Ferry Slip Rd., Newport, OR., 541-867-3474.

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Reservations Now Online for S. Oregon Coast's Shore Acres Holiday Lights

Holiday Lights at Shore Acres (Coos Bay) now has its timed entry and parking reservations are now online, the grand lighted event held November 23 to December 31. The park's holiday shindig last year went to a parking system that is based on timed slots, and now reservations can be made for the blocks at 4:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on each of those days. more....

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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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