The Oregon Coast Aquarium (OCAq) recently announced that its new Nature Play Area, Outdoor Amphitheater, headwaters feature, and renovated lobby are now open to the public. These projects comprise the first phase of OCAq’s multi-phase Capital Campaign.
“We have anticipated this for years,” said OCAq President/CEO Carrie Lewis. “We are elated to offer these new experiences to our guests, and we’re so grateful for the support we have received along the way.”
The Nature Play Area speaks to OCAq’s historic origins as a former timber mill site, where visitors can clamber over massive logs, explore a faux eagle’s nest, climb a watchtower, and plunge down a meandering slide that acts as a mock river chute.
The Outdoor Amphitheater is a dedicated space for educational programs and ambassador animal presentations, providing guests with an up-close view of Oregon’s native species and opportunities to engage with animal caretakers and educators.
The headwaters feature includes a recirculating stream representing the relationship between watersheds and the ocean, emphasizing the importance of headwaters and the role they play in Oregon’s coastal ecosystems.
The renovated lobby delivers a view of the scenic estuary bordering OCAq, and streamlines foot traffic by giving guests a direct route to the center of the Aquarium. Lobby renovations include improvements to the existing café and the addition of a moon jelly exhibit, which will be completed this summer.
“These additions make a huge impact on our guests,” said Lewis. “They’re more than just attractions–they’re experiences, they’re places where families make memories, where inspiration is sparked and a love for nature is fostered.”
Access to the Aquarium’s new additions is included with general admission; learn more and buy tickets at aquarium.org.
More Improvements in the Works
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, Maybelle Clark Macdonald Fund, Ray Hickey Foundation, Oregon Community Foundation, Rose Tucker Charitable Trust, and Oregon Forest Resources Institute.
The next phase of OCAq’s Capital Campaign focuses on improvements to OCAq’s indoor galleries, and will begin in fall 2022. In 2023, OCAq will begin the final phase of the campaign, which includes the construction of a new Marine Rehabilitation Center.