PORTLAND, Ore. (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) — The Oregon Coast Aquarium is making waves as it embarks on its first major remodel since it was founded more than 30 years ago. The aquarium is expanding and modernizing its indoor galleries to enhance animal habitats and the overall visitor experience while ensuring uninterrupted access to its resident marine life and all of the aquarium’s most iconic animals.
The Sandy Shores and Rocky Shores galleries are temporarily closed for improvements, but there are still a variety of experiences available at the aquarium, located on Yaquina Bay in Newport. Behind the Scenes tours take visitors beyond the public exhibits to learn about the animals and how the aquarium cares for them. The Sea Jelly Encounter lets visitors get up close with moon jellies and includes the opportunity to touch the non-stinging top of the jelly and learn how they are grown. Another popular encounter is with the aquarium animal ambassadors, who educate the public on their wild counterparts through presentations and amphitheater talks. The Sandy Shores and Rocky Shores galleries are scheduled to reopen in June 2024.
“The aquarium remains a vital resource for all Oregonians, playing an essential role in providing ocean education that is accessible to all,” said Carrie Lewis, President and CEO of the Oregon Coast Aquarium. “We are incredibly thankful to our visitors, members and donors whose unwavering support has been instrumental in funding both this remodel and much of the educational resources we provide.”
Upon completion of renovations, visitors will be able to explore 13 unique displays in the Sandy Shores gallery, featuring sea pens, flatfish and a freestanding pier pilings exhibit. In addition to the enhanced exhibits, visitors will experience updated signage and new interactive digital platforms.
With 15 exhibits, the heart of the updated Rocky Shores gallery is the renowned touch pool, which will be 30% larger and ADA accessible. Additionally, this gallery will delight visitors with the enhanced Giant Pacific Octopus exhibit, showcasing this highly intelligent master of camouflage that is also the largest species of octopus in the world.
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