Saturday, June 11, 2011

Newport Aquarium-Cool!

I LOVE aquariums! The 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.

There are great stone columns and formations thru walkways to different habitats and exhibits--there's a variety of habitat exhibits--swampland, sea bird aviary, sandy shores, rocky shores, coastal waters, turkey vulture, the usual sea otters, seals and sea lions, passages of the deep (really cool!) and an estuary trail and gardens. All the plantings around the aquarium are Oregon or Pacific coast natives.

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.

The otters were really cute...they were not interested in the adults coming to see them at all, but the minute a small child showed up in front of the exhibit, one of them came over and proceeded to "play" with the little boy who was enjoying watching him. The otter touched his nose to the viewing window several times and just rotated himself around and around right next to the window as if he was saying,"C'mon! Wanna play?" It was really cute! As soon as the little boy moved on, the otter swam off. Another little girl came to look at the otters and the otter came back to rub noses at the window again. They do a LOT of cleaning their fur as this one was doing....

We enjoyed our visit to the aquarium today! We're going to explore the Yaquina Lighthouse tomorrow and some more overlooks on highway 101.


  1. I'm enjoying your journey and the neat places you two have visited. I'm going to add the aquarium to the list, I love them to. We're at a Thousand Trails in Bend, and have a nice site in the woods. We plan on driving to Crater Lake later this week, hopefully some of the snow will melt that's there.

  2. Love otters. They are just my favorites. I have seen river otters in the wild only twice. What fun that was.

    Great story about the otters and the children. Probably they only like those who PLAY!