Newport's Hatfield Marine Science Center

Naomi’s sister Andrea and her family have come via train from Minneapolis for a holiday visit. We spent a few days in Yachats after Christmas and had hoped to view some commuting whales as they head from Alaska to Mexico. Alas they were shy and the weather made viewing a challenge so we chose an indoor scientific adventure at Hatfield Marine Science Center this Saturday.

Oregon State University’s research facility is located right next to the aquarium and is especially suited well for folks on a budget. While the aquarium really is worth the entrance fee, you would need to plan several hours minimum to soak in all that it has to offer whereas the Hatfield Marine Science Center is more suited for a casual visit. Donations are accepted, but there is no entrance fee.

The exhibits are fun to see and include a place where you can touch and interact with sea life that would be common in tidal pools. Visitors can learn how waves work and plenty of fish tanks show off live sea creatures. An interactive augmented reality exhibit allows you to play with sand to create high and low areas that fill and empty with virtual water. We also watched a documentary about the problems brought about by fish hatcheries in Canada followed by a live presentation from a volunteer who just loves whales.

We grabbed a late lunch at Mo’s along the historic bayfront and hoped to see sea lions at the docks (webcam). We were in luck but didn’t stick around too long as the cold wet weather made us more interested in getting back to a warm fire.