Every summer we go to Bandon for a week to camp, eat, and enjoy the beaches.  It is kind of our last hurrah to get ready for the school year and decompress as a family.   We always explore Coos Bay and North Bend, but when Newport was in the path of totality for the Total Solar Eclipse of 2017 we decided to head up there.   

We immediately fell in love with this cute coastal town.  We walked the Boardwalk, went beer tasting at Rogue Brewing, and then had to head back so we missed out on the Oregon Coast Aquarium.  Well, when our Bandon trip came up this year we decided we had to take a day to visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium.  We were so glad that we did.  From Bullards Beach it is only two and a half hours away and conveniently enough it is only two hours away from Eugene, so it was perfect for a day trip to meet up with my brother and his family who live in Eugene! 

As we enter the aquarium there is a café, coffee bar, and restroom so we got fueled up and used the facilities before we started exploring.  We started out in the Secrets of Shipwrecks exhibit.  Not only did we get to see the underwater life, but there were displays demonstrating what it feel like to explore underwater ourselves;  how it would sound, what we would wear, and what we may find.  Anything that is interactive is always and a plus, and there was lots to play with.

Next up was a series of aquariums. 

Big Bites is home to ocean life that has sharper than normal teeth.  Ilias was especially enamored with the piranhas for obvious reasons and I was intrigued with the parrotfish because of their beauty of course.

Coastal Waters features Coho and Chinook salmon and their survival issues along with the ancient fish sturgeons along with jelly fish.

Rocky Shores houses our local ocean life including the life we may see in tide pools and includes a touch and feel pool. The touch and feel pools are always my favorite, I love seeing the kids reactions.  Olivia got really freaked out, but with a little convincing that they wouldn’t jump on her she touched a sea anemone.

Sandy Shores showed off the flat fish which our 18 month old nephew found especially intriguing.  He was really good at spotting the Speckled Sanddab’s camouflaged in the rocks.

We got finished with the indoor exhibits right on time because the littles in our group were getting antsy, so we headed to the Octopus Cave, Harbor Seals, and Sea Lions.  I learned some crazy cool facts from the young man manning the octopus information table.  Did you know the female giant octopus lays 10,000 to 70,000 eggs and guards them until they hatch after which she dies; kind of sad.

The seals and sea lions where up to their usual antics; showing off and being social to the delight of Ilias, Olivia and our nephew Jace.  One of the seals kept swimming by the kids showing off, doing flips and almost rubbing up against the glass.  It was really sweet!

We then went into the Seabird Aviary which was my favorite part of the day.  We sat there for quite a while watching the birds diving and playing in the water and then a Horned Puffin decided to show off right in front of us.  Us snapping pictures just egged him on!

After the bird aviary we tried to go to the Sea Otter feeding but there were so many people around that we couldn’t see a thing so we decided to just move on.  I highly suggest getting there at least fifteen minutes early if you want a spot to see the sea otters.


Last but not least we visited the Passages of the Deep.It was so cool making us feel like we were swimming with the sharks and rays.All of us were entranced by the beauty of watching them swim in their habitat gracefully.

We finished off by walking the nature trail, and then headed out.  For mom and dad’s sanity they do have a play area that we decided to skip over so that we could go to lunch.  For being in a small coastal town we were quite impressed with all of its offerings.  It was the perfect size for our littlest ones because towards the end they were tired out.                                                                                    

As I am writing this Olivia comes up behind me looking at the pictures begging to go, so sooner than later we will be visiting again, giving us the opportunity to explore Newport more. If you want to go tickets are very reasonably priced. Go HERE to get more details.

Have you been to Newport before? What do you like to do when you go? Favorite places eat, play, and stay?

Oregon Coast Aquarium - Newport - What to do in Southern Oregon
Oregon Coast Aquarium - Newport - What to do in Southern Oregon