Every time a child says, “Look, Mom!” or a visitor sees an animal they’ve never seen before, education is happening. Every “Wow!” is a lesson. Our programs inspire children to learn and discover more about their world outside the classroom, and emphasize the ripple effect of humans on the ecosystem in which they live. The Aquarium has always included formal education programs as part of its mission, which target preschoolers, K-12 school children, college students, teachers, and life-long learners.
The average annual number of participants in the Aquarium’s onsite, online, and outreach programs is 525,000. In 2021-22, visitation alone exceeded 465,000. In addition to general public admissions:
- 260 trained volunteers interpret 418 marine species throughout the premises, and feature oceanic or animal-related topics such as World Oceans Day, Shark Week and Crab Fisheries Day.
- Changing exhibits every two years gives visitors something new to experience.
- 3677 low-income Lincoln County residents attended using $5 admission on Sundays.
- 50 foster care families are afforded free admission through a special endowment fund.
- Culture passes distributed through Newport, Lincoln City, Siletz and Tillamook public libraries, target ESL and low-income families. Each Culture Pass location affords 200 families of four to attend free each year.
- 330 people from Headstart and 12 other preschools/daycares were provided admission and tours.
- 2,275 students participated in virtual tours in lieu of school field trips.
- We conducted Meet the Curator and other live virtual presentations to 592 K-8 students.
- Community outreach presentations will resumed in 2022-23 in Oregon & SW Washington schools. Prior to COVID, we reached as many as 32,000 students in large assembly presentations. We are transitioned to more engaging classroom-size presentations—with both both onsite and virtually.
- We were a weekly feature on Zigazoo—an online early learning video activity app - reaching more than 100,000 pre-school and early elementary subscribers.
- 20 youth volunteers engaged guests, learning critical communication skills, and exploring marine careers. Additionally, 12 virtual career shadows were conducted with our educators, aquarists and mammologists.
- Coordinated three "Bioblitzes" Citizen Science programs to document species at the intertidal, land-sea boundary areas associated with Oregon's marine reserves.
- 50 Oregon teachers attended our virtual Coastal Learning Symposium. In partnership with the school district, we continue to develop Coast Connections—an ocean education framework with grade-specific lessons, organized around a focus of ecosystem and marine science investigations.
- 8 youth volunteers are creating a peer-to-peer social marketing campaign to raise awareness about environmental concerns like ocean acidification and plastic pollution.
- With the Lincoln County school district, we adapted our 6-week youth volunteer training into a semester-long course for ESL students, providing them with elective science and works credits. This will expand to incorporate ASL students whom we will stipend during the summer to do sign-language translation at onsite public programs.
- 305 marine wildlife received urgent and rehabilitative care.
- 6,300 households held Aquarium memberships.