- Oregon Coast Aquarium
Oregon Coast Aquarium
Main building at the aquarium
Date opened 1992 Location Newport, Oregon Land area 23 acres (9.3 ha) Coordinates Coordinates: Memberships AZA Website www.aquarium.org
The Oregon Coast Aquarium is an aquarium in Newport in the U.S. state of Oregon. Opened in 1992, the facility sits on 23 acres (9.3 ha) along Yaquina Bay near the Pacific Ocean. From January 1996 until September 9, 1998 when he was shipped to Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland this aquarium was home to Keiko, the orca who starred in the movie Free Willy. USA Today considers the Oregon Coast Aquarium world-class and Coastal Living magazine ranks the it among the top ten aquariums in North America.
Newport business leaders proposed building an aquarium beginning in the early 1980s. These leaders proposed a $7 million facility in 1982 as a way to boost the local economy. The group incorporated two-years later as a non-profit, and increased fund-raising efforts in 1987, collecting $11 million by 1991. Plans to turn 23 acres (9.3 ha) along Yaquina Bay in Newport into a "world class" aquarium were finalized in 1990.
After early bids were rejected by the aquarium's board of directors, Mountain States Construction was selected to build the first phase for about $12 million in August 1990. Plans for the first phase included construction of a 40,000-square-foot (3,700 m2) building and four acres of outdoor exhibits, with completion expected in spring 1992. Construction began in August 1990 on phase one, with two other phases expected to start three years and eight years later.
On May 23, 1992, the Oregon Coast Aquarium opened with about 5,500 visitors the first day. Those in attendance on the first day included Senator Mark O. Hatfield, Governor Barbara Roberts, and Congressmen Mike Kopetski and Les AuCoin. When it opened, the theme of the aquarium was to follow a raindrop from the Oregon Coast Range all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
On January 7, 1996, Keiko the killer whale arrived on a United Parcel Service C-130 cargo plane, with freight expenses donated by the company. This move from Reino Aventura, an amusement park in Mexico City, came after fund raising by environmentalists and school children to build a $7.8 million habitat for the movie star in Oregon. Keiko was moved to Iceland in 1998 in an attempt to return him to the wild.
Exhibits in the main building include four permanent displays: Sandy Shores, Rocky Shores, Coastal Waters, and a changing exhibit area. The first features fish and invertebrates that live either close to shore or in bays such a Yaquina Bay. Progressing, the aquarium displays feature animals further offshore ending in a kelp forest and Sea jelly exhibit. Flanking the permanent displays are the changing exhibits.
Swampland is a current temporary exhibit features replicated South American swamps of the Pantanal, a Florida mangrove swamp, and a Southeastern U.S. cypress swamp. The exhibit explains the differences between these three types of swamps and the role of animals in these ecosystems. 
Temporary exhibits have included one called Claws that featured crabs, and Oddwater, which featured unusual sea creatures such as the green-blooded Cuttlefish, the jet-powered Chambered Nautilus, and the bright-eyed flashlight fish.
Passages of the Deep
The largest exhibit is "Passages of the Deep", in Keiko's former tank, it features walk-through acrylic tubes surrounded by deep water marine animals such as sharks, rays, and rockfish.[disambiguation needed ]
Passages of the Deep was created in Keiko's former home,and has three sections. Orford Reef contains mostly rockfish and other smaller Pacific-Northwest fish. Halibut Flats contains halibut, ling cod, a small ray, and other large fish, and includes a mock sunken ship. Open Waters is last section in the tunnel, and holds many species of sharks including seven gill sharks, as well as rays, yellowjack, and salmon. Throughout the Passages to the Deep exhibit is a collection of Gyotaku (Japanese "fish rubbing" art).
The aviary at Oregon Coast Aquarium exhibits sea and shore birds. Those on display include the sea birds Tufted Puffin, Common Murre, Rhinoceros Auklet, Pigeon Guillemot, and the shore bird Black Oystercatcher. The seabird aviary includes two large pools and rocky cliffs.
Other outdoor exhibits
Outside the main building, beside the Aviary, are the outdoor mammal exhibits. They contain sea otters, seals, and sea lions. There were six of the California sea lions when the aquarium opened, but dwindled to four by 2010 when two new ones arrived from San Pedro, California. The rocks in the outdoor exhibit are artificial rocks constructed of gunite.
- Hatfield Marine Science Center, a marine research and education facility adjacent to the Oregon Coast Aquarium
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Zoos of Oregon Aquariums
- Hatfield Marine Science Center
- Oregon Coast Aquarium
- Seaside Aquarium
Zoos Zoos, aquariums, and aviaries Types of zoos Conservation Lists Animals Other topics
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