Create a Children's Nature Play Area

The average American child is said to spend 4 to 7 minutes a day in unstructured play outdoors, and over 7 hours a day in front of a screen. Playing outdoors helps children acquire gross motor skills, eye-hand coordination and prevent obesity. Nature Play is a purposeful means of connecting children with nature. It reduces stress, and boosts the cognitive, creative, physical, social and emotional development of children. It also informs them about their connection to, and need to care for the environment.

While the Nature Play Area was completed Summer 2022, your donations help go towards our next Phase of improvements to the Aquarium.

The Aquarium was built on a mill site on Yaquina Bay. A plan was made for the former playground along the south nature trail to be replaced, greatly expanded, and pay homage to its historic origins in the timber industry. New facilities, outdoor climbing features, nature play components, and interactives  engross children in the wondrous outdoors, inform them about sustainable forestry and its ecosystem, and engages them kinetically and educationally with nature.

Children are able to scramble atop—and through—massive logs, climb a tower to view a nest, slide down a mock river chute, and crawl through tunnels to view organisms and forest creatures. The surrounding grounds accommodate seating for parents adjacent to Café seating, and include an estuary viewing deck.

Original Rendering

Original Rendering

Further down the nature trail, a new outdoor amphitheater facilitates large group seating for animal presentations, where guests of all ages can learn from our animal ambassadors. 

Starker Forests, Inc., Jeanette Bertea Hennings Foundation, Sunderland Foundation, Oregon Forest Resources Institute, US Bank, and several anonymous donors were major contributors to Phase I.

Consider supporting our education programs for children.


2820 SE Ferry Slip Rd
Newport, OR 97365


The Oregon Coast Aquarium is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization located in Newport, on the beautiful Oregon Coast. The Aquarium is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.