Enhanced Education Programming

The Oregon Coast Aquarium educates learners of all ages and abilities both on and off-grounds. Educational standards and methods have evolved significantly since we opened in 1992. The Aquarium must evolve to ensure it engages students with differing learning abilities deeply, imaginatively and meaningfully.


The Aquarium’s Education Department continues to update multi-sensory curriculum to align with state and national education standards, as well as national ocean literacy principles. Playing a significant role in both scientific inquiry and exploration through on-site, online and outreach education, the Aquarium intends to analyze and enhance the following programs:

Field Research Efforts

We coordinate "Bioblitzes" to document species at the intertidal areas of Oregon's five marine reserves. Our dive team conducts surveys with OSU and ODFW to understand the long-term changes and conservation implications over time. - Interpretation: We bring in temporary exhibits every two years, and update interpretive signage to inspire deeper learning for visitors of all ages.

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On-site Education Programs

We facilitate behind-the-scenes tours and school field trips, and engage children on overnight stays. Animal ambassadors teach visitors about their relatives in the wild, and instill empathy toward misunderstood species. College students in aquarium science courses, internships, and research projects work with Aquarium educators and husbandry staff to learn about marine species and career opportunities.

Volunteer Programs

We recruit and train volunteers to serve as interpreters, divers, educators and animal care providers; enhancing the visitor experience, and keeping us open 364 days a year.

Youth volunteers create peer-to-peer awareness on social media about environmental concerns like ocean acidification and plastic pollution. In partnership with Lincoln County school district, we are adapting our 6- week youth volunteer training into a semester-long class and internship for ESL students. Our approach helps students understand that they have a skill that is valued by practicing bi-lingual interpretation with Aquarium guests.

Sea otters have a symbiotic relationship with kelp forests. The animals often wrap themselves in kelp so they do not drift away in the ocean's swirling currents. They also rely on kelp to provide them cover from predators, and a habitat for the animals they hunt. Sea otters eat urchins and other invertebrates that graze on kelp. Without sea otters, animals they prey one like urchins can overpopulate and destroy these submarine forests that provide habitat for a wide diversity of other animals. At the Aquarium, sea otters are provided car wash strips to simulate the kelp leaves they might encounter in the wild.

Online Learning

We create educational videos, virtual field trips, career shadows and other virtual programs on subjects such as animal adaptations, coastal species, and marine careers.

Ocean Literacy

We are partners with the Lincoln County school district's Ocean Literacy Initiative, posting teacher resources: grade-specific lessons, activities, best practices, and links to national oceanic guidelines and marine science organizations. We conduct professional development programs for K-12 educators, providing interdisciplinary instruction on ocean science, field trip guides, and pedagogy-specific workshops.

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Marine Careers

OCCC college students do field work for their Aquarium Science courses here. We piloted a new internship program for college students to shadow our veterinarians who treat wildlife and our animals. This will expand to a vet student practicum program with our new marine rehabilitation center.

Community Outreach

We take the Aquarium on the road to present to schools and other groups. Prior to the pandemic, we conducted an average 125 school visits in Oregon, California, Washington, and Idaho.

Keeping Our Touchpool Inhabitants Healthy

The James & Marion Miller, Ford Family, James & Shirley Rippey, IMLS, Oregon Charitable Tax Checkoff, Starker Forests Inc., Reser Family, Gray Family, Collins, Wheeler, Oregon Community Foundations, along with Oregon Coast Bank, Dr. Dan & Karle Lewer, and thousands of donors have invested in the Aquarium’s programs to create memorable experiences and a more ocean literate world.

Make a gift of any amount to improve ocean literacy for generations to come.


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.