Visitor Tips

Planning a trip to the Oregon Coast Aquarium? Make a day (or even a week) of it by seeing all the wonderful sites Newport has to offer!

Visiting the Aquarium

Click here for regular hours of operation and related information.

Click here for a map of the Oregon Coast Aquarium.

Daily Schedules

Animal Feeding and Encounter Schedules

Our guests can enjoy daily feeds with a variety of animals:

Upon your arrival at the Aquarium, be sure to check the animal feeding and encounter schedules for any last minute changes. All encounters are for ages 8 and up and requires advance registration by calling (541) 867-3474.

Miscellaneous Visitor Information:

Parking

Free car and RV parking is available on site; parking spots are a brief walk from the entrance.

Accessibility

All Aquarium buildings are ADA accessible and wheelchairs are available in the main lobby (see our Hours & Admissions page for details on wheelchair rentals). Please be aware that many of our outdoor areas consist of dirt or gravel pathways.

Pet and Service Animal Policy

Due to the health and safety issues of Aquarium animals, pet animals are not allowed past the front gates. The exception to this rule are certified service animals, including seeing-eye or hearing-ear dogs. The ADA defines a service animal as ANY guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. If they meet this definition, animals are considered service animals under the ADA regardless of whether they have been licensed or certified by a State or local government.

Pet-related facilities at the Aquarium

Please be aware that coastal weather can change quickly and this may result in uncomfortable or even dangerous conditions for animals left in unattended cars. Pet owners should always anticipate and accommodate the needs of their animals. Local and affordable pet-sitting options are available for visitors to the Newport area. (Contact the Newport Chamber of Commerce for additional information.) The Aquarium does not provide pet-sitting services but there are pet animal exercise areas in the parking lots. For both courtesy and good hygiene, please remove all animal waste and dispose of it in trash receptacles.

Picnicking

There is a covered picnic area between parking lots which our guests may use as needed. There are additional picnic benches along the estuary nature walk between the Aquarium and the nearby Hatfield Marine Science Center. No outside food is allowed on Aquarium grounds.

Ranger Rick's Geocache Trails Program:

The Aquarium participates in this national geocaching program for children sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation. Visit geocaching.com and search for the Oregon Coast Aquarium to find the coordinates for two kid-friendly geocaches hidden on our property, one inside the main gate and one outside. This is a free program but remember to follow good geocaching manners so the caches remain in good condition for all to enjoy.

Smoke Free Environment

For the health of our animals, our guests and our staff, the Aquarium grounds are completely smoke-free. The parking lot areas can be used by smokers as needed, but we ask that you extinguish all tobacco products before entering the front gate.

How Long To Stay At The Aquarium?

We suggest you plan to stay at least 1½ to 2 hours in order to see the entire Aquarium adequately. Please keep in mind that one-third of our exhibits are outdoors, so it is always a good idea to wear layers of clothing as the coastal weather can change quickly. We also encourage you to bring hats and umbrellas.



Gift Shops, Food & Refreshments

The Aquarium offers the Ferry Slip Cafe, two extensive gift shops and a coffee bar for your convenience and enjoyment. The Aquarium Gift and Book Store provides a huge variety of ocean-related merchandise include apparel, jewelry, toys, books, videos and more. Shark Territory is located at the end of our Passages of the Deep tunnels and offers a selection of shark-related merchandise, plenty of items for kids and a counter offering homemade fudge.


The Ferry Slip Café offers a variety of tasty options for Aquarium visitors and the public to enjoy. Purchasing Aquarium admission is not necessary to dine at the Café and all entrées are offered for less than $9. The Café’s doors are open Wednesday through Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The Café also offers customized catering service with nearly 150 menu items for guests to choose from for special events at the Aquarium. Click here to view the full Ferry Slip Café menu.

Ferry Slip Café Coffee Bar provides delicious drink and snack choices for our guests of all ages.  Enjoy a variety of coffee beverages, smoothies and soft drinks. Or if you're feeling a little peckish, try a freshly-baked muffin, pastry and other delicious snack options. The Ferry Slip Café Coffee Bar is located in the Aquarium's main lobby and is open every day from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Additional shopping and dining can be found all along Highway 101 (Pacific Coast Highway). 


Visiting Newport, Oregon

The town of Newport owes its beginnings to an act of nature. In 1852, a strong winter storm blew a passing schooner onto the beach near the Yaquina Bay. During the two months that the schooner’s passengers and crew were stranded here, they discovered that the bay was full of a sweet-tasting (and previously unknown) oyster species. Word spread about these culinary delicacies and within a decade commercial oyster farms were being established all along the shoreline.

Today, Newport boasts the state’s largest commercial fishing fleet and a historic working bay front that is easily accessible to the public. Located along the Pacific Coast Highway, Newport is ideally situated whether your interests run to the cultural, historical, recreational or natural. The following are some highlights popular with Newport visitors. For additional recommendations, we suggest you visit the official City of Newport website or the Discover Newport website.


Oregon State University Hatfield Marine Science Center

The Hatfield Marine Science Center is located next door to the Aquarium and offers hands-on science exhibits. 2030 SE Marine Science Drive, Newport, Oregon
541-867-0100
The Hatfield Marine Science Center has a forty year history of research, education, and outreach. Originally established as a marine laboratory for Oregon State University, it has grown to encompass a large group of partners on its 49-acre site on the Yaquina Bay. The HMSC Visitor’s Center, located next to the Aquarium, provides hands-on experiments and other fun ways for families to explore the field of ocean conversation and exploration.


Yaquina Bay State Park

The historic lighthouse at Yaquina Bay State Park in Newport. 846 S.W. Government Street, Newport, Oregon
541-265-5679
Yaquina Bay State Park is located at the north end of Yaquina Bay near its outlet to the Pacific Ocean. The bluff is forested with spruce and pine, but the real star is the historic lighthouse. The lighthouse – later used as a Coast Guard Lifeboat Station – has been restored and is open to the public. You can find access to the beautiful beach from the public parking and picnic area below the lighthouse.


Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area

The historic lighthouse at the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area just north of Newport. 750 NW Lighthouse Drive, Newport, Oregon
541-574-3100
Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area is located on a narrow point of land jutting due west into the Pacific Ocean at the north end of Newport. This headland provides visitors with one of the most accessible wildlife and ocean viewing locations on the coast. One of Oregon’s historic lighthouses and a beautiful museum and visitor center are located at the end of the head.


Historic Nye Beach

Beautiful Nye Beach, Newport. Nye Beach is located to the west of Highway 101 (Pacific Coast Highway) and north of  the Yaquina Bay bridge in Newport. For more information and a map to businesses and sights, visit the Historic Nye Beach website.
For those interested in Oregon history, Nye Beach has many stories about the past – having been as popular a resort destination in the 1800s as it is today. Visitors can wander the streets, visit the beach or enjoy the excellent dining and shopping in this quaint seaside neighborhood.


Historic Newport Bay Front

Newport is the only coastal community in Oregon with a working bay front that is easily accessible to visitors. This historic area is filled with shops, museums and restaurants. Visitors can walk the narrow streets, buy seafood fresh off the boat or enjoy watching our resident raft (group) of sea lions as they sun themselves on the pier.


Beverly Beach State Park

Located to the north of Newport, Beverly Beach offer a huge variety of recreational options.

198 NE 123rd Street, Newport, Oregon
541-265-9278
This long expanse of sandy beach extends from Yaquina Head to the headlands of Otter Rock and is perfect for flying kites, building sand castles or hunting for fossils and sea shells. Excellent camping facilities are also available.


South Beach State Park

The sandy beaches and rolling surf make South Beach a popular spot for surfing.

5580 S. Coast Highway, Newport, Oregon
541-867-4715
South Beach State Park and the surrounding areas offer a variety of recreational opportunities including kayak tours, fishing, crabbing, boating, windsurfing and beachcombing.


Devil’s Punchbowl

The Devil's Punchbowl, a unique natural area and popular whale-watching site. Information Line: 800-551-6949
Surfers and surf watchers energize this area! During winter storms, water from the restless ocean slams with a thundering roar into a hollow rock formation shaped like a huge punch bowl. The surf churns, foams, and swirls as it mixes a violent brew. The punch bowl was probably created by the collapse of the roof over two sea caves and was then shaped by wave action. The park is a popular whale watching site and displays an intriguing geology.


Otter Crest

Information Line: 800-551-6949
Otter Crest provides an extraordinary view from 500 feet above the ocean on a breathtaking crescent sweep of white sandy beach. Cape Foulweather is stunning and inspirational with its picturesque promontory. This popular whale-watching spot also provides a good view of Devil's Punchbowl.