Review by Casey Rhodes – PDX Kids Calendar Dad to 3 1/2 year old Marshall
On Memorial Day weekend, Marshall and I decided to give mommy some rest and head out on an adventure to the Oregon coast. It was his first time to visit the beach, and fortunately Mother Nature decided to smile upon us that day with some lovely weather for beach combing, shell hunting and digging.
Our destination of choice was the picturesque Newport, Oregon, with it’s scenic drives, beautiful coastline and welcoming small community feel. While a trip to Newport is a bit longer drive than other choices for coast adventures when traveling from Portland, Newport offers lots of charm and attractions, the most well-known being the wonderful Oregon Coast Aquarium.
Knowing my son’s love of animals (especially sharks), I felt that a trip to Newport and their aquarium was perfect for our coast exploration.
The Oregon Coast Aquarium offers educational eye candy for children of all ages. Nothing better than learning about the mysteries of the deep while gazing at some of the most fascinating creatures the ocean has to offer. Marshall loved the gorgeous moon jellyfish display. After all, who doesn’t like glow-in-the-dark creatures? Another fantastic exhibit is the enormous Japanese spider crabs. These crabs can reach up to 15 inches across in some cases! Of course, no aquarium would be complete without an interactive ‘petting zoo’ complete with interesting creatures to touch and explore.
Since Marshall is such a huge fan of the zoo, we were both overjoyed to discover their outdoor displays, including an otter den, sea bird aviary, seal and sea lion exhibit and turkey vulture habitat. Marshall even got a little “how do you do” splash from a feathered friend, a particularly curious tufted puffin who came over to greet us.
Of course for many (including us), the star of the aquarium is the entrancing and gorgeous “Passages of the Deep” exhibit. It allows aquarium visitors to literally become immersed in the ocean realm that exists right off the Oregon coast. This is where you can walk through a passageway that takes you underneath all the action. Several breeds of shark and other creatures swim right over, under and around you as you walk through the magical passageways of this exhibit. Needless to say, it was rather difficult to get Marshall out of this area, and I was in no hurry myself!
Overall, the trip to Newport and Marshall’s first coastal experience was a smashing success. The Oregon Coast Aquarium is reason alone to make the trip, and thanks to their helpful, knowledgeable staff, their amazing exhibits and their wonderful host city, I hope to bring the whole family back for more.
Casey and Marshall visited the Oregon Coast Aquarium and wrote this review of their visit on behalf PDX Kids Calendar.