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Oregon Coast Aquarium Begins Expansion, New Additions

Published 10/21/21 at 12:26 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Oregon Coast Aquarium Begins Expansion, New Additions

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(Newport, Oregon) – Construction has just begun on some new additions to Oregon Coast Aquarium, as the hotspot attraction will soon add an outdoor amphitheater, the Great Hall, a children's nature play area and the Headwaters feature. It's all part aquarium's multi-phase improvement project that's slated to be finished this coming spring in mid-2022. Crews recently broke ground on the first phase of the expansion.

The Children's Nature Play Area will hearken back to the site's former use as a lumber mill, honoring Newport's history and the connection between nature and the timber industry. When it opens, visitors will find massive logs, a climbing tower, and a mock river chute, allowing children to engage kinetically with nature. A viewing deck on the estuary will surround the site, giving caregivers and parents a place to watch.


The Great Hall will expand the entrance way and include the renovation of the existing Oregon Coast Aquarium lobby and coffee bar, along with the addition of a moon jelly exhibit. The Great Hall will have a new doorway to streamline foot traffic and provide visitors with a view of the estuary, Children's Nature Play Area, and Headwaters Feature.

The Headwaters Feature will include a recirculating stream, representing the relationship between watersheds and the ocean. This feature will emphasize the importance of headwaters and the role they play in sustaining Oregon's coastal communities.

The Aquarium has contracted Dangermond Keane Architecture, Andersen Construction, and Walker Macy to carry out the design, construction, and landscaping for this phase of the Capital Campaign.

Completion of Phase 1 is thanks to contributions from major donors, including Roundhouse Foundation, Starker Forests, Inc., Sunderland Foundation, Marcia H. Randall Foundation, Miller Family Holdings, Jeanette Bertea Hennings Foundation, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, and Maybelle Clark Macdonald Fund.

“We are thrilled to begin the first phase of our projects that will enhance the visitor experience and update our facility,” says Carrie Lewis, President and CEO of OCAq. “This has been a long road – from five years of campaign fundraising to our 8-month facility closure in 2020 -- but we've come through this with endless gratitude to our supporters and our community for believing in us and supporting our efforts to improve the Aquarium.”

To learn more about the Aquarium's Capital Campaign and current progress, visit givetoaquarium.org.

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Construction has begun on the new entrance. More aquarium photos below




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