The Oregon Coast Aquarium celebrated the grand re-opening of its Sea Lion & Harbor Seal Exhibit Saturday. The sun was out and so were the crowds as they assembled next to the new “you are there” exhibit windows and extensions that makes you feel like you’re out in the wild with the sea going mammals.
Exhibit officials said it wasn’t long after the OCA opened twenty-one years ago that the design of the viewing areas in the exhibit was found to be inadequate. They under-estimated the popularity of it as throngs of visitors elbowed their way slowly through the layers of other visitors to stand by small windows to marvel at the graceful creatures swimming by.
Then not long ago the Aquarium decided to rectify the situation. They received $250,000 in private donations and the City of Newport came up with another $250,000 to make the viewing area expansion possible. Construction workers pushed out the viewing area over a part of the main swim area and greatly enlarged another window which doubled the total viewing area.
An upgraded sound system and easier to see sea lion and harbor seal demonstration areas were also created to round out the changes.
Of course you’ll have to come see for yourself at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport, at South Beach. It’s located just off the south end of the Yaquina Bay Bridge. They’re open everyday of the week 10 to 5 through May 22nd, then 9-6 from May 23rd to mid-September.