Newport Oregon Coast Aquarium is a wonderful place to go visit on a dreary, foggy, rainy day. It's located on the coast of Yaquina Bay in Newport, OR. It was 13.95 for seniors (60 and over) and well worth it.
It's an interesting aquarium because it's not all fish and tanks indoors. It's a great educational place and over 40,000 students come there each year. There were lots of excited kids there the day we went. (Read LOUD and all over the place--I've quickly forgotten how kids can be on field trips!) We've seen better aquariums as far as comparing price of admission versus size--this one seemed to be a small one, but then again, it's a smaller city. Great exhibits, lots of hands-on stuff, and just very interesting.
You know, I think turkey vultures are among the ugliest birds I've ever seen, and when you think of what they do and how they pick apart road kill and eat it, it's disgusting to think about. But the turkey vulture exhibit really was interesting to me. They are like nature's vacuum cleaners...they help keep the environment in balance. Their adaptations to do what they do is really interesting in a macabre sort of way. Their Latin name means "purifier"...If you have a weak stomach, you can skip the next paragraph. Here's what I learned:
The vulture's wrinkled, red bald head is an adaptation for sticking their head into the cavity of a dead animal. If they had feathers, that would trap bacteria and bits of flesh and make it difficult to keep clean. The vulture pose--wings spread out full extended is to allow the UV rays of the sun to kill bacteria it picked up while eating. Vultures urinate on their feet. The urine acts as a sanitizer to kill bacteria left behind from their last meal. The acid in their stomach is so strong it kills bacteria that causes the diseases of cholera and botulism enabling them to eat dead animals other animals won't touch. Who knew?
We enjoyed the seabird aviary....auks, pigeon guillemots, otters, sea lions, seals, tufted puffins but no penguins! This is a tufted puffin.
We enjoyed our visit to the aquarium today! We're going to explore the Yaquina Lighthouse tomorrow and some more overlooks on highway 101.