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 provide $5 admission to local residents every Wednesday, $1 admission to Lincoln County School groups with free lab programs and a free preschool program every month. Our two largest annual events provide discounted or free admission with the donation of canned goods for the Food Share of Lincoln County.
- Outreach brings the Aquarium to 120 remote elementary schools and home-school communities in five states where distance and limited budgets preclude field trips.
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.