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Seaside Beach Discovery Days Again Brings Amazement to N. Oregon Coast

Published 07/12/2018 at 05:32 AM PDT - Updated 7/12/2018 at 05:33 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection Staff

Seaside Beach Discovery Days Return to N. Oregon Coast

(Seaside, Oregon) – Seaside Aquarium just began its 23rd year of providing interactive fun on the beach every weekend with the Seaside Beach Discovery Program. This now Oregon coast standard runs on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (All photos courtesy Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium).

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It;s comprised mostly of interactive activities that lend a whole new layer to your coastal experience. There is a touch tank, microscopes, wave tank, magnetic sticks, pamphlets, field guides and shells. You’ll see animals found on the beach and maybe those from the estuary. Each of the event days, aquarium staff will grab a sampling of critters found on the beach. See and touch mole crabs, pipefish, perch, hermit crabs, clams, sand dollars and whatever else the marine environment presents. You may even find blood worms or living sand dollars.

“We go out daily to discovery what the tide has brought in and what marine animals are living on Seaside Beach to share with visitors,” said the aquarium’s Tiffany Boothe. “Our goal is to engage people in our local environment and to help them discover all of the marine life living on and around Seaside's beach.”

The program is weather dependent, so if it’s raining you may need to call the Seaside Aquarium at 503-384-9617 to doublecheck.

Keith Chandler, manager of the Seaside Aquarium, said one of the big surprise-makers is the wave machine tank, which helps illustrate how and why sand levels change.

He said that when Oregon coast tides head far up the beach - as in winter - it tears sand away. But when only small waves happen, this allows sand levels to rise. The wave tank helps illustrate this by letting visitors use a paddle to make small waves, and then to make big waves.

It shows the slow processes that happens every year – often with a comical side.

“A lot of kids end up splashing their siblings with it eventually,” Chandler said.

Another popular feature is the samples of sand from not just around the Oregon coast, but from around the world as well.

“People come to the Discovery Program, they see that and they send us sand,” Chandler said. “So we've got all kinds of sands from different places around the world, like Galveston or Bolivia. People send us sand all the time. We just got one from South Africa. What makes the sand different is the terrain that's around there.”

Chandler said the activity that seems to surprise people the most is the magnet stick. If the weather is dry enough, they give you a stick with a magnet on it and this picks up a whole lot of magnetite bits. It never ceases to delight, Chandler said, and you can get a jar and take these home with you.

Boothe said the Seaside Beach Discovery Program started in 1995. Since its beginning, the program has been a welcome source of education and fun.

“As a free service to the public it does not bring in any revenue, but in terms of humanity it does a lot,” Boothe said. “The program allows visitors a chance to slow down and stop rushing from one place to the next. It’s a place for people to stop and ask questions for awhile before heading down to the water. We answer any questions visitors or locals may have and if we don’t know the answer we do our best to find it.”

Beach Discovery Days are free. Call the Seaside Aquarium for more: 503-738-6211. www.seasideaquarium.com. Lodging in Astoria/Seaside - Where to eat - Map and Virtual Tour

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