Oregon Coast Aquarium Celebrates 30th Anniversary
Newport — The Oregon Coast Aquarium (OCAq) is celebrating 30 years of supporting marine life and inspiring ocean conservation on Oregon’s central coast.
OCAq was originally founded as a way to stimulate the economy in the Yaquina Bay area while also serving year-round residents, and became incorporated as a (501)(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization in 1984. After eight years of planning and fundraising, doors opened to the public on May 23, 1992. Nine months later, OCAq had hosted its first million visitors. Since then, OCAq has continued to connect generations with the wonders of the Oregon coast.
In 1996, OCAq gained international recognition for the role it played in rehabilitating Keiko, the world-renowned orca. After Keiko’s departure in 1998, OCAq transformed his habitat into Passages of the Deep, an acrylic tunnel snaking through three ocean habitats, which opened to the public in 2000. In the same year, OCAq received accreditation by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, a status OCAq continues to maintain, denoting the highest standard of animal care and welfare. Over the last three decades, OCAq has demonstrated an enduring commitment to coastal communities and ocean advocacy. As it enters its next 30 years, OCAq will continue to broaden its impact, increasing its ability to engage visitors and serve marine wildlife.
“The Aquarium began as an idea to encourage growth in our coastal communities, and over the last thirty years we’ve done that and so much more,” said OCAq President and CEO Carrie Lewis. “We’ve rehabilitated endangered species, we’ve fostered strong ties with our community partners, and we’ve introduced millions to the splendor of the Oregon coast. The next thirty years are bound to be just as rewarding.”