The Aquarium is frequently rated by travel writers as one of the top ten aquariums in the U.S. because of its naturalistic marine life exhibits, educational programming, and strong sense of place on the Pacific coast. Travel is one of the three largest export-oriented industries in rural Oregon counties.
Since opening in 1992 on an abandoned mill site, the Aquarium has had a significant impact on short and long-term economic development. For every dollar you contribute to the Aquarium’s mission, ten dollars goes back into the local community through economic impact. Our economic impact highlights include:
- Attracting more than 15 million visitors from around the world to Newport. 96% of visitors come from outside Lincoln County, 38% out-of-state, 3% international
- A key driver in Oregon’s $12 billion tourism industry, Aquarium visitors bring an estimated economic value of $100 million each year to the central coast, and boosts employment for this rural community.
- Special exhibits added every two years keep the experience fresh for visitors of all ages, and increases visitation 5%.
- Lincoln County has a significant low-income population - all district schools are Title I. We strive to make the Aquarium accessible to the community through various affordable and inclusive events.
- We offer $5 admission for Lincoln County residents on Sundays; free-admission culture passes in Lincoln City, Newport, Siletz, Tillamook public libraries; free-admission to foster care families in Lincoln, Linn, Benton and Marion counties; and $1 admission for field trip students. In an effort to make the Aquarium more equitable and accessible to under-served populations.
- We bring the Aquarium to schools and community groups through in-person and virtual presentations in an effort to inspire students to explore ocean science.
More than a tourist destination; the Aquarium is a vital STEM education resource for hundreds of school groups who visit each year, thousands of students in rural communities who benefit from our outreach education, and thousands of youth volunteers who explore marine careers.
Jobs of the future will require greater numbers of people in STEM disciplines, particularly in marine science. We encourage STEM career education through professional development programs, teacher trainings and job shadows for high school and college students.