The Oregon Coast Aquarium is thrilled to announce that its new Nature Play Area, Outdoor Amphitheater, and headwaters feature are now open to the public!
Visitors can now balance upon massive leaves, inspect animal tracks, climb a rope tower, and catch a bird’s-eye view from a faux eagle’s nest at the Nature Play Area, all while enjoying the scenes of Yaquina Bay and the babbling melody of the nearby headwaters feature; just down the path you’ll find our Outdoor Amphitheater, a dedicated space for educational programs where guests can meet the Aquarium’s cast of animal ambassadors.
These projects, alongside the construction of a new admissions annex and lobby renovations, comprise the first phase of the Aquarium’s multi-phase Capital Campaign.
Children's Nature Play Area
The Children's Nature Play Area will speak to the Aquarium’s historic origins as a former timber mill site, highlighting the connection between Oregon’s nature and timber industry. Children will have the opportunity to clamber over massive logs, ascend a climbing tower, and a slide will act as a mock river chute, allowing them to connect kinetically with nature. The surrounding grounds will include seating for caregivers, providing them with a scenic view of the estuary bordering the Aquarium.
The scenic headwaters feature includes a recirculating stream that represents the relationship between watersheds and the ocean, emphasizing the importance of headwaters and the role they play in Oregon’s coastal ecosystems.
The renovated lobby delivers a view of the scenic estuary bordering OCAq, and streamlines foot traffic by giving guests a direct route to the headwaters feature and center of the Aquarium. Lobby renovations include improvements to the existing café and the addition of a moon jelly exhibit, which will be completed this summer. Updated wayfinding signage and interpretive materials will also be installed throughout OCAq later this year.
The Outdoor Amphitheater is a dedicated space for educational programs and ambassador animal presentations, featuring expansive seating to accommodate large groups. The amphitheater provides guests with an up-close view of Oregon’s native species and opportunities to engage with animal caretakers and educators.
How We Got Here
The Aquarium has contracted EHDD Architecture, Andersen Construction, and Walker Macy to carry out the design, construction, and landscaping for this phase of the Capital Campaign.
Completion of Phase 1 is thanks to contributions from major donors, including the Roundhouse Foundation, Starker Forests, Inc., Sunderland Foundation, Marcia H. Randall Foundation, Miller Family Holdings, Jeanette Bertea Hennings Foundation, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, and Maybelle Clark Macdonald Fund.
To learn more about the Aquarium’s Capital Campaign, visit our campaign video page.