Aialik: Big Brother to Oregon Coast Aquarium sea otters dies

 Oregon Coast Aquarium  Comments Off on Aialik: Big Brother to Oregon Coast Aquarium sea otters dies
Mar 062013
 

Aialik as a baby sea otter, 14 years ago rescued off an Alaskan Glacier

Aialik as a baby sea otter, 14 years ago rescued off an Alaskan Glacier

Beloved Aialik Sea Otter at OCA dies after illness

Beloved Aialik Sea Otter
at OCA dies after illness

Aialik Feeding.fix
Ken Lytwyn, Curator of Marine Mammals with Aialik

Ken Lytwyn, Curator of Marine Mammals with Aialik

Click on photos to enlarge

Sad news from Oregon Coast Aquarium

The staff of the Oregon Coast Aquarium sadly announce the death of Aialik, a northern sea otter who was “big brother” to the Aquarium’s sea otter family.

Aialik was humanely euthanized Wednesday morning, March 6, at the Aquarium’s veterinary care center because of a failing urinary tract that affected him for much of his 14 year life. In fact, Aialik was the subject of a pioneering surgery to treat the issue. This was the first time anyone had attempted a bladder marsupialization in a marine mammal, in which an artificial opening allowed the bladder to function and drain. This successfully extended Aialik’s life for several years.

Jim Burke, Director of Animal Husbandry for the Aquarium, explained, “The Aquarium’s founding veterinarian, the late Dr. Steven Brown, had performed this surgery before on livestock. He spent over a year consulting with sea otter experts across the globe to determine if this treatment would help Aialik before performing the surgery in collaboration with Oregon State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.”

In early summer 1998, a fisherman noticed a sea otter pup floating alone near the Aialik Glacier in Alaska. After several hours of observation, and no sign of the pup’s mother, he brought the pup on board and handed him over to the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service. Suffering from dehydration, the pup was transferred to the Alaska Sea Life Center in Seward, Alaska for emergency care. When his health recovered one week later, Aialik [named for the glacier near where he was found] boarded a plane bound for his new home at the Oregon Coast Aquarium.

Aquarium staff worked around the clock to bottle-feed and groom four pound Aialik. He was the first otter the Aquarium staff raised from nursing age. As he grew, handlers taught him how to eat solid food, groom himself and eventually swim. Several of those original handlers were by his side Wednesday morning.

bikenewportclassesbanner3-6

“He loved to drag artificial kelp out of the pool and roll up in it like a burrito,” said Ken Lytwyn, Curator of Marine Mammals for the Aquarium. “He would sit there and slowly rub the strips on his face until he fell asleep. He left such a big impression on everybody who worked with him.”

Throughout the years as young sea otters were introduced to the Aquarium, they immediately gravitated toward Aialik. “He was like their big cuddly uncle,” Lytwyn said. “Aialik would let them crawl all over him. They would take naps in one big dog pile.”

Aialik earned notoriety for being the first ever sea otter subject in an olfactory, or sense of smell, study. His ability to detect just a hint of scent surprised some researchers, who thought that marine mammals did not have highly developed senses of smell since they hunt under water.

ecosmartbanner.2-20

“We were fortunate we were able to treat him with the best possible animal care available. Aialik was a beloved member of our Aquarium family and he will be deeply missed,” said the Oregon Coast Aquarium’s CEO, Carrie Lewis.

The Oregon Coast Aquarium accepts donations to the Animal Care Fund to help treat Aquarium animals with special needs like Aialik. Burke said, “We do go to extreme measures to improve quality of life and give the best possible care.” The Animal Care Fund continues those efforts to provide care to both Aquarium animals and wildlife rehabilitation. Information regarding donations to this fund is available by contacting the Aquarium at 541-867-3474 or donations@aquarium.org

holbrook

Want to volunteer at the Oregon Coast Aquarium? Here’s your chance!

 Oregon Coast Aquarium  Comments Off on Want to volunteer at the Oregon Coast Aquarium? Here’s your chance!
Feb 152013
 

Oregon Coast Aquarium photo

The Oregon Coast Aquarium volunteer spring training session begins on April 6th. In order to apply, applicants must submit an official application which is available at the admissions area of the Aquarium or on line by clicking here. After receiving a completed application, the Aquarium will then contact the applicant prior to training to conduct an interview.

The Oregon Coast Aquarium volunteer program is in its 20th year and is proud to have the amazing service of nearly 450 volunteers. Since its conception, the program has provided an opportunity to learn about the fascinating marine life that we have in the Pacific Northwest and to share that knowledge with visitors. Volunteer opportunities at the Aquarium exist in the areas of diving, interpreting, greeting, grounds, community outreach and special events.

digital.diner.11-21

During the six week interpretive training course, volunteers gain in depth knowledge about the biology of the animals in our collection. They also have the opportunity to meet our husbandry staff and learn about how they care for our animals. Volunteering at the Aquarium requires no special education or background, just a willingness to learn and commit to 100 hours per year.

“The Oregon Coast Aquarium makes a significant commitment to its volunteers by offering a first-class training program; a supportive staff in both the education and animal husbandry departments, and a highly rated facility,” said Julie Shafer, Interpretive Shift Captain. “This commitment makes it a joy to volunteer and to share my experiences with our valued visitors.”

beehive

Volunteers receive numerous benefits including a membership to the Aquarium, discounts in both the café and gift shops and many others. To participate as a volunteer you must at least 14 years old, possess an interest in marine science, enjoy meeting new people, and have the ability to attend all necessary training.

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization located in Newport on the beautiful Oregon Coast. Our mission is to inspire the public to better understand, cherish and conserve marine and coastal ecosystems. The Aquarium is a member of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. It has been named one of the top 10 aquariums in the U.S. Visit us at 2820 S.E. Ferry Slip Rd., Newport, OR. www.aquarium.org, 541-867-3474. Follow us on Facebook.com/OregonCoastAquarium for the latest updates.

thompson

Sea Lions: About to become more up front and personal for visitors to Oregon Coast Aquarium

 Oregon Coast Aquarium  Comments Off on Sea Lions: About to become more up front and personal for visitors to Oregon Coast Aquarium
Jan 262013
 

Newport, Oregon— The Oregon Coast Aquarium is set to begin a much anticipated renovation that will overhaul the Pinniped (Seal and Sea Lion) exhibit. The goal of the project is to increase the educational and overall guest experience while viewing the exhibit.

“The Pinniped Exhibit remodel is an exciting step in the implementation of the Aquarium’s strategic plan. We are committed to providing amazing and educational interactive experiences to our visitors’,” explained Carrie Lewis, CEO at the Oregon Coast Aquarium.

The major changes to the exhibit will be a 420% increase in the viewing area available to visitors and improvements to the animal husbandry infrastructure. Furthermore, the new exhibit will allow the potential of adding additional feeding times and showcasing animal training sessions.

The current Pinniped Exhibit layout has been in place since the opening of the Aquarium in 1992. The exhibit was originally designed to be as natural looking as possible. There were also no public feedings at that time. “As the number of visitors has increased over time it became apparent a larger viewing area was needed,” added Lewis. The new design will retain the current natural habitat look, while providing better viewing as well as covered seating.

Contractors will begin construction on the exhibit Monday, January 28th. The project is expected to take five to six weeks and is set to open prior to Spring Break. Video updates will be done weekly and available on both www.aquarium.org as well as the Oregon Coast Aquarium’s Facebook page.

Funding to make the project possible stemmed in large part from a $250,000 Tourism Facilities grant from the City of Newport. The remaining budget was raised through private donations.

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization located in Newport on the beautiful Oregon Coast. Our mission is to inspire the public to better understand, cherish and conserve marine and coastal ecosystems. The Aquarium is a member of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. It has been named one of the top 10 aquariums in the U.S. Visit us at 2820 S.E. Ferry Slip Rd., Newport, OR. www.aquarium.org, 541-867-3474. Follow us on Facebook.com/OregonCoastAquarium for the latest updates.

Oregon Coast Aquarium trying to nurse two stranded sea turtles back to health

 Oregon Coast Aquarium  Comments Off on Oregon Coast Aquarium trying to nurse two stranded sea turtles back to health
Dec 182012
 

Rescued turtles at OCA
OCA photos
Click photos to enlarge

Two warm-water sea turtles that washed ashore on the Oregon coast Monday December 17th have arrived for care at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. The first was found in Seaside and the second washed ashore in Gearhart.

These southern water turtles, both females, likely rode inside a finger of their native warmer waters northward, driven by strong southerly winds. As their pocket of semi-tropical waters mixed with the colder waters off Oregon, their core temperatures dropped and their bodily functions all but shut down to conserve energy. Fortunately both were beached in populated areas and were quickly spotted by beach visitors. Both turtles were transported Monday evening to the Oregon Coast Aquarium, which is designated by U.S. Fish & Wildlife (USFWS) to rehabilitate and transport sea turtles, with the goal of releasing them back into their natural habitat.

One is a Green Sea Turtle and the other is an Olive Ridley Sea Turtle. Both species are on the endangered list and protected under the Endangered Species Act.

“Both turtles are in critical condition,” said Jim Burke, Director of Animal Husbandry at OCA. “The Green Sea turtle has been responsive while the Olive Ridley has remained unresponsive. We are warming the air around their bodies to raise their core temperatures and administering fluids.” Burke added that the process will take several days since they can only be warmed up five degrees a day. Currently both animals have body temperatures in the low 50’s compared to their nomal 70’s.”

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is the only certified rehabilitation facility on the Oregon coast. “It is our goal to assist these animals in their rehabilitation process and to ensure we provide the best chance to release them back into the wild,” said Carrie Lewis, CEO at the Oregon Coast Aquarium.

USFWS Coastal Oregon Field Office urges anyone who finds a sea turtle on the beach to contact the Oregon State Police Wildlife Hotline at 1-800-452-7888 to ensure appropriate transport and care of the animal.

A sea turtle that washed ashore on Moolack Beach north of Newport last August was nursed back to health at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. It was eventually flown in a military transport plane from Newport to San Diego where its rehabilitation continued with eventual release back into the sea in much warmer waters.

Oregon Coast Aquarium’s “Sea of Lights” event coming up next weekend

 Oregon Coast Aquarium  Comments Off on Oregon Coast Aquarium’s “Sea of Lights” event coming up next weekend
Nov 252012
 

OCA Christmas Lights

Bask In The Sea of Lights at Oregon Coast Aquarium

Wander the grounds of the Oregon Coast Aquarium next weekend as you’ve never seen them before – decked out with holiday decorations and tens of thousands of colorful twinkling lights and lighted displays. Our guests can also visit with Santa in his workshop or enjoy our enormous and beautifully lit Christmas tree and live holiday music.

Dates: Friday, November 30 and Saturday, December 1 from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. each date.

December 21, 2012: Holiday Family Combo Sleepover

At the height of the holidays, gather your loved ones around you and have the Aquarium all to yourselves! Travel through our exhibits on a scavenger hunt, participate in hands-on activities, and experience early morning behind-the-scenes at the Aquarium! After a fun-filled evening exploring life under the ocean, be lulled to sleep by the soothing sights of our Passages of the Deep tunnels. This event starts on December 21 at 6:30 p.m. and concludes the following morning.

December 28, 2012: Fisheries Day – Dungeness Crab

Visitors will be able to see fishing gear and talk to fisherman about the local fishing industry. There will be opportunities to try on a survival suit and taste samples of fresh Dungeness crab. Information tables, hands on activities for children and information about sea safety will be included in the day’s activities. Free with the price of admission.

It’s all out there…in Living Color!

 Oregon Coast Aquarium  Comments Off on It’s all out there…in Living Color!
Oct 092012
 

Click on poster to enlarge

From Oregon Coast Aquarium, Newport

Oregon Coast Aquarium Kicks Off The “Oceanscape Network”
With A Free Poster Giveaway For Oregon Teachers

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is offering a free full-color poster to teachers all over the state as an advanced promotional item for the Oceanscape Network, the Aquarium’s new website project designed to connect young people to the coast, the oceans and the outdoors.

From the snowy summit of the coastal mountains to the muddy ocean floor, the poster depicts the major ecosystems of the coast, labeled with keystone animal and plant species. The poster is designed to supplement classroom lessons on the coast and oceans and is appropriate for all grade levels. The vibrant artwork was produced by Newport artist, Ron Houchens. The poster is free upon request, although shipping costs will apply for teachers outside of the Newport area. The poster will also be distributed by Aquarium educators as they provide outreach to schools around the state.

The Oceanscape Network is a comprehensive web-based resource which will offer students and teachers new ways to explore and interact with the Oregon Coast. Educators will have the ability to create online student communities which will guide young people through the inquiry-based science projects needed to graduate. Young people who wish to explore outside of school will have access to hundreds of online features, including videos, interactive maps, photographs and the personal stories of how Oregon youth are learning about and experiencing coastal ecosystems.

Funded by grants and contributions from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, Pacific Power Foundation, Swindells Charitable Trust, Collins Foundation and many others, the Network will be free to anyone who wishes to use it. It is scheduled to launch in Summer 2013.

Additional information on the Network or how to order the posters can be found at http://aquarium.org/education/oceanscape-network. An Oceanscape preview site is also online at http://oceanscape.aquarium.org.

Oregon Coast Aquarium: Taking the oceans on the road…

 Oregon Coast Aquarium  Comments Off on Oregon Coast Aquarium: Taking the oceans on the road…
Sep 272012
 

OCA photo


The Aquarium Brings the Shore to Your Door

Look for the Aquarium education van in a school near you, as a new season of outreach gets underway!
From Oregon Coast Aquarium

Newport, Oregon— A new season of outreach is underway as Oregon Coast Aquarium educators take to the road in their colorful education van, bringing marine science to grade schools throughout the region. The van is painted with a mural of marine life found at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Upcoming outreach destinations include twenty weeks in counties throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington.

Using a multimedia production, costumes, bones, pelts, skulls, and life-sized inflatable sea animals, students will discover how marine animals have adapted to life in the Pacific Northwest ocean environment. This year the Marine Mammals program will be debuting brand new seal and sea lion costumes.

Because there are many places where students aren’t in close proximity to the ocean to be able to experience the Aquarium, the outreach program “takes the shore to their door.” The Aquarium Education Department is making an effort to reach more students than ever before. “Our goal is to increase awareness and conservation of the ocean’s resources. Last year we visited over 20,000 students in three states!” said Jenni Remillard, Outreach Coordinator. “We have been expanding to new areas, visiting our first ever California school last year. It is a lot harder for schools on the east side of the state to get to the coast, so I feel this program is a valuable way to get kids excited about the ocean.”

The assemblies are age-appropriate with “Flippers, Fur and Fun,” “Shark Shenanigans,” “Tales of Whales” and “No Bones About ‘Em” for kindergarten through second grade and “Dressed for Success,” “Sense-ational Sharks,” “What About Whales?” and “From Tubefeet to Tentacles” for third through fifth grade students. The programs rotate by year, so the students never see the same program. All outreach programs are aligned to meet the Oregon Department of Education standards in science.

This outreach effort enables the Aquarium to extend its educational services to schoolchildren in rural and other underserved communities annually who might not otherwise be able to travel to the coast to visit the Aquarium. In addition to being used for outreach to schools and for offsite teacher workshops, the van is also employed to transport youth volunteers on field excursions and service projects and the transport of rehab animals.

The Aquarium Outreach Team will be visiting schools in the following counties. For schedule information about schools near you, please call 541-867-3474 ext. 5301.

Jackson/Josephine/Klamath
Oct 23 – 25, 2012

Lane
Oct 30 – Nov 1, 2012

Linn and Benton
Nov 13 – 15, 2012

Vancouver WA
Dec 4 – 6, 2012

Lincoln
Dec 10 – 14, 2012

Tillamook and Clatsop
Jan 8 – 10, 2013

Marion/Polk/Yamhill
Jan 22 – 24, 2013

Coos and Curry
Feb 5 – 7, 2013

Columbia and Washington
Feb 12 – 14, 2013

Multnomah and Clackamas
Feb 26 – 28, 2013

Douglas
Mar 12 – 14, 2013

Columbia Gorge area (OR and WA)
Mar 19 – 21, 2013

Umatilla/Union/Morrow/Walla Walla WA
April 9 – 11, 2013

Baker/Malhuer/Harney
April 23 – 25, 2013

Deschutes/Crook/Jefferson
May 7 – 9, 2013

Jackson/Josephine/Klamath extra week
May 21 – 23, 2013

The Oregon Coast Aquarium to host Jellyfish Jubilee September 22

 Daily News, Oregon Coast Aquarium  Comments Off on The Oregon Coast Aquarium to host Jellyfish Jubilee September 22
Sep 072012
 

The fifth annual Aquarium fundraiser will celebrate the bounty of the Pacific Northwest

The Oregon Coast Aquarium’s fifth annual Jellyfish Jubilee; A Celebration of Food and Wine, will be held September 22, 2012, from 6 to 9 pm and will benefit the Aquarium’s animal care, exhibits and education programs.

At this all inclusive event, guests will enjoy a champagne reception followed by delectable food, exquisite wine and opportunities to experience Behind the Scene Tours, Octopus Encounters, and a live Vulture Presentation. There will also be an interactive program by Fish Trax with cooking demonstration, entertainment by the musical group Past Forward, solo artist Mark Mugnai and the first “Crème de la Crème” chef competition.

Participating restaurants and wineries: Bay 839, Chinook Winds Casino & Resort, Cottonwood Winery of Oregon, Domaine Ste. Michelle Winery, Fins Coffee, Georgie’s Beachside Grill, La Maison Café & Bakery, Local Ocean Seafoods Monk’s Gate Vineyard, Oak Knoll Winery, Ocean bleu at Gino’s, Red Hawk Winery & Vineyard, Rogue Brewery, Savory Café, Shilo Inn Newport Suite, Sineann Winery, Stone Crest Cellars and Tyee Wine Cellars.

“We are looking forward to our fifth annual event as we celebrate the Aquarium’s 20th year,” said Carrie Lewis, Aquarium President and CEO. “It is such a lovely time of year on the coast and the Jellyfish Jubilee is an opportunity to see the Aquarium in a different setting while enjoying a summer evening with regional food and wine.”

Tickets for admission to the event are $100. Aquarium members qualify for a 10% discount. Tickets may be purchased at www.aquarium.org.

West Coast Bank is the presenting sponsor of the Jellyfish Jubilee with additional support from Wildlife Trading Company of New Mexico, Marta and Ken Thrasher and Guardian Energy Technologies, Inc., and Leopold Ketel & Partners.

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational attraction dedicated to the highest quality aquatic and marine science programs for recreation and education so the public better understands, cherishes, and conserves the world’s natural marine and coastal resources. For more information, visit the Aquarium’s Web site at Aquarium.org or call (541) 867-FISH.

Soupfin Shark rescued on Seaside Beach didn’t make it through the night….

 Oregon Coast Aquarium  Comments Off on Soupfin Shark rescued on Seaside Beach didn’t make it through the night….
Jul 192012
 

The Soupfin Shark that was found on the beach near Seaside yesterday and was taken quickly to the Oregon Coast Aquarium in an effort to save its life has died. It didn’t make it through the night despite a valiant effort by aquarium staff. An aquarium staffer told News Lincoln County that it had simply been out of the water too long for its body to recover. Here’s the original story as it appeared on KGW News Channel 8.

Click here.

Rescued Green Sea Turtle appears to be recovering at Oregon Coast Aquarium

 Daily News, Oregon Coast Aquarium  Comments Off on Rescued Green Sea Turtle appears to be recovering at Oregon Coast Aquarium
Jun 262012
 

Brad Taylor Videographer
Video Editor/Writer Dave Morgan

This stranded Green Sea Turtle was discovered lying on the sand at Moolack Beach, north of Newport, OR over the weekend. It was rescued by Oregon’s Stranded Marine Mammal program and was immediately brought to the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport for rehydration and rehabilitation. It’s believed that this turtle, which is common in tropical waters, may have been in a small area of warm water that became surrounded by colder water pushing it toward the Oregon Coast. Once the tropical water “bubble” dissipated, the turtle went into a kind of hypothermic shock which produced a hibernative state. It was washed up on the beach a few miles north of Newport. Although appearing comatose to its rescuers, it appears to be making a remarkable recovery thanks to the expert care it is getting at the Oregon Coast Aquarium staff.

Once it reaches a certain level of recovery, it could be eligible for re-release into the ocean – the TROPICAL OCEAN from where it came.

Oregon Coast Aquarium: A summer of fun and learning for young people

 Oregon Coast Aquarium  Comments Off on Oregon Coast Aquarium: A summer of fun and learning for young people
Jun 032012
 

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is one of Oregon’s star attractions for ocean education, family learning and appreciation of our world’s oceans and how to keep them healthy. There are always special programs for the public to widen public knowledge about the Earth’s 7 seas and what mankind can do to nurture and conserve them. Here’s a few activities offered by the Aquarium, at Aquarium.org:

Young people needed for Oceanscape Network. Click here.

Aquarium Adventures for the whole family. Click here.

The Sea & Me exhibit for youngsters age 4-10. Click here.

Oregon Coast Aquarium: World Oceans Day

 Daily News, Oregon Coast Aquarium  Comments Off on Oregon Coast Aquarium: World Oceans Day
Jun 012012
 

View of Otter Rock from Foulweather

Provided by Oregon Coast Aquarium

The Oregon Coast Aquarium will celebrate World Oceans Day Tuesday, June 8, with activities and information about ocean conservation. This year’s theme, Youth: the Next Wave for Change, encourages people to reach out to youth in the community to inspire stewardship of our oceans. On World Oceans Day, people around the planet celebrate and honor the body of water that links all of us, for its beauty and bounty. The Ocean Project and The World Ocean Network have promoted and coordinated the growing global celebration since 2002.

The oceans are essential to food security and the health and survival of all life, power our climate and are a critical part of the biosphere. The official designation of World Oceans Day is an opportunity to raise global awareness of the current challenges faced by the international community in connection with the oceans.

The Oregon Coast Aquarium will offer a day of ocean inspired games and activities with Dr. Seuss’s legendary One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, including;
· World Oceans Day activities for kids
· FREE Dr. Seuss surprises (while supplies last)
· Information about how to be a steward of our seas and oceans
· An inspirational day for the entire family
· Animal keeper talks
· Dive presentations

The world’s ocean:
· Generates most of the oxygen we breathe
· Helps feed us
· Regulates our climate
· Cleans the water we drink
· Offers us a pharmacopoeia of potential medicines
· Provides limitless inspiration!

World Oceans Day encourages people to:
·Change perspective – encourage individuals to think about what the ocean means to them and what it has to offer all of us with hopes of conserving it for present and the future generations.
·Learn – discover the wealth of diverse and beautiful ocean creatures and habitats, how our daily actions affect them, and how we are all interconnected.
·Change our ways – we are all linked to, and through, the ocean! By taking care of your backyard, you are acting as a caretaker of our ocean. Making small modifications to your everyday habits will greatly benefit our blue planet.

Celebrate – whether you live inland or on the coast we are all connected to the ocean; take the time to think about how the ocean affects you, and how you affect the ocean, and then organize or participate in activities that celebrate our world ocean.

Oregon Coast Aquarium: The Sea and Me for kids opens this weekend

 Oregon Coast Aquarium  Comments Off on Oregon Coast Aquarium: The Sea and Me for kids opens this weekend
May 272012
 

The Sea and Me – Oregon Coast Aquarium

This weekend launches the all new oceanographic exhibit aimed right at 4 to 10 year olds who would be excited to learn more about the ocean and all the critters that dwell in it. The exhibit was a long time in creating and will be a long time in running. He’re the details from the Oregon Coast Aquarium’s website. Click here.

New Exhibit at Oregon Coast Aquarium

 Oregon Coast Aquarium  Comments Off on New Exhibit at Oregon Coast Aquarium
May 172012
 

Courtesy photo

The Aquarium Celebrates 20 years with the Opening of “The Sea & Me” May 26
The new children’s Interactive exhibit is designed for groups and families

The Oregon Coast Aquarium will open “The Sea & Me,” a new children’s interactive exhibit, amid Memorial Day weekend festivities, May 26-28. The opening coincides with the Aquarium’s 20th anniversary and the beginning of summer hours, 9 am to 6 pm, through Labor Day weekend. Opening weekend will include a performance by Radio Disney, face painting, a children’s craft, behind the scenes tours, Sea & Me giveaways, sea lion kisses, sea lion encounters and interpretive dives.

The Sea & Me is designed to be fun and imaginative, based on a model used by children’s museums, offering play experiences that are appropriate for children 4 to 10 years old, but older kids also will find the interactive discoveries quite enjoyable. The Sea & Me invites curiosity and promotes cooperation within groups, while encouraging discovery and understanding of the habitats of marine and freshwater animals. Continue reading »

Oregon Coast Aquarium: Calling All Divers!!

 Oregon Coast Aquarium  Comments Off on Oregon Coast Aquarium: Calling All Divers!!
May 112012
 


Swimming with the sharks!

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is offering a unique opportunity for divers to participate in a new pilot guest dive program this summer. The first dive is scheduled Sunday, May 27, from 8:00 am to 12:30 pm. The program includes a chance to dive with Aquarium sharks and other fishes under the supervision of Aquarium dive guides. There will be more dives scheduled during the summer with dates and details available on the Aquarium website.

The Guest Dive Experience includes:
§ A dive in 26 foot deep Halibut Flats Exhibit surrounded by rockfish, halibut, skates and sturgeon
§ A dive to the observation ledge of the Open Sea exhibit with dozens of sharks, including Broadnose Sevengill sharks, that are up to 10 feet in length
§ Aquarium Admission Entry Pass
§ A full cylinder of air
§ Weights as needed
§ Fish identification training session
§ A behind the scenes tour of Passages of the Deep
§ A photograph

“The opportunity to immerse our visitors in the exhibits with our animals is absolutely magic,” said Vallorie Hodges, Aquarium Dive Safety Officer and coordinator of the event. “Few other experiences compare with being in the water with huge halibut, ling cod, bat rays and hundreds of other fish. Seeing sharks from the inside the tunnel is amazing, but having them swim past you just a few feet away is thrilling!” Hodges said coming face to face with a gentle giant sturgeon is awe-inspiring.

Divers will also get a chance to explore the simulated shipwreck in the Halibut Flats exhibit, swim through the kelp and become a part of the Aquarium dive show as visitors in the tunnel watch them and take photos. “It’s really a very special moment,” said Hodges. “This is the feeling we want our guest divers to have, that each of us can make a difference when we become inspired to cherish and conserve this blue planet. The more connected we become with the marine ecosystem, the more we are compelled to protect it.”

The cost of the program is $139 per person for Aquarium members or $149 for non-members.

To participate in the guest diving program, divers must hold and present at check-in a valid SCUBA Certification card from a recognized agency and have no medical contraindications to SCUBA diving. Participants will need to provide their own dive gear except cylinder and weights.

Additional dive dates will be scheduled over summer, and reservations are required. Private or semi-private sessions may also be scheduled upon request.

For additional program dates, information and reservations, visit www.divetheaquarium.org, email Diana.hollingshead@aquarium.org or call Eugene Skin Divers Supply at (541) 342-3451.

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational attraction dedicated to the highest quality aquatic and marine science programs for recreation and education so the public better understands, cherishes, and conserves the world’s natural marine and coastal resources. For more information, visit the Aquarium’s Web site at www.aquarium.org or call (541) 867-FISH.

New sea otter at Oregon Coast Aquarium: First day on the job!

 Oregon Coast Aquarium  Comments Off on New sea otter at Oregon Coast Aquarium: First day on the job!
May 082012
 

Oregon Coast Aquarium (OCA) is celebrating the arrival of the newest member of its sea going family; Sea Otter #564. It’s a cute little male whose mother was eaten by a shark off Morro Bay off the central California coast. The pup was wounded in the attack. It was transported to the Monterey Bay Aquarium where it was rehabilitated. Efforts to isolate the otter pup to allow it to return to the wild were foiled when it was determined that the pup was too old to be nursed by a surrogate mother program at the facility. So, it went up for adoption. And the Oregon Coast Aquarium was the successful adopter.

The pup arrived at the OCA in late February and has been undergoing training. The pup has been introduced to its new family of otters, all three of them. They’ve been getting along very well, according to OCA’s Cindy Hanson who adds that the other otters are showing by example, how to forage for food, groom, dive and crack clams.

OCA Curator of Mammals Ken Lytwyn said “We’re very excited to have this new otter joining us at the aquarium. He’s one that would not have made it out in the wild and I’d like to thank everyone who made his transport here possible. Lytwyn said the pup was challenging to train because he had no human contact before his arrival at the Aquarium. “He’s got a very outgoing personality which becomes more expressive by the day. He enjoys interacting with the mammal staff and playing with the toys that we’ve given him.” Lytwyn said the aquarium is lucky to have him and looks forward to him growing up with the rest of the male sea otters named Aialik, Judge and Mojo. They too could not be released to the wild.

Hanson said the aquarium has called on the community to help name this newest addition to their sea otter exhibit. If anyone would like to offer a name for this little pup, submit it to the aquarium’s Facebook page, under OregonCoastAquarium.

OCA officials say sea otters play a critical role in the marine ecosystem as a “keystone species.” They promote a healthy kelp forest that, in turn, supports thousands of organisms. Sea otters are also an indicator or sentinel species. They are dying of diseases that have land-based connections. Since humans and sea otters eat many of the same seafood items, high rates of sea otter disease may be a warning for both human and marine ecosystem health.