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Make a Day of It: Trekking to the Oregon Coast Aquarium

Run Oregon loves running - that's no surprise. But we also love the Pacific Northwest and all that it has to offer. Running is a part of us, but it does not fully define us. In our new "Make a Day of It" feature, we aim to showcase some great local non-running events and highlight where to run and how to make the most of your experience! The next installment of this series is the Oregon Coast Aquarium! First the running: When I am in Newport, I have a few general routes that I run. First is through the trails and beaches along the jetty and within South Beach State Park. The trails are paved, but if the weather and tide are cooperating, I like to hit the beach for a bit. Another fun thing to do, especially if you are unfamiliar with Newport, is to do the scenic running tour by:

  • Parking by the Aquarium and Rogue Brewery
  • Running over the Yaquina Bay Bridge
  • Take in Newport Historic Bayfront
  • Head across Highway 101 to Historic Nye Beach
This is about a 3.2 mile (one way) trek, so it's a great 10k training route. You could also add a little trip around the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse on the way back if you are so inclined.

There are some great races that take place on in Newport. Race company Ardor Adventures is the main source of events, with their next event – the Newport Shamrock Run – coming to town on March 12, 2016.  The Newport Marathon is definitely the biggest nearby event, coming to town in June each year (June 4th this year). This event generally fills up prior to race day and features some amazing local, handmade medals.  Run with Paula’s Bay to Brews event in October is also a great run.

2015 Flippers, Feathers, and Fins shirt

Did you know that the Oregon Coast Aquarium also puts on it’s own 5k? 2016 will feature the 4th annual Flippers, Feathers, and Fins 5k. Historically this race has been in May, but it will be bumped up to April 23rd this year. We will have a preview up in the upcoming months, but you can already register for $30. Event registration comes with a race medal AND FREE ATTENDANCE at the aquarium for the rest of the day. The route even includes running through the Aquarium to the finish line. Completely worth it!

Now to the details to the experience itself:

My 4-year-old has been asking about the Oregon Coast Aquarium for a while now – and it was high time that we went and checked it out. We lucked out with a mild and, more importantly, not raining. We started outside by checking out the playful sea otters and sea lions. My kids were mesmerized with how gracefully they swam and they went back and forth between looking at them from above water and below water.

We also spent a lot of time in the aviary, as my oldest has been learning about puffins at school and was SO excited that she got to see a real one. She was dropping all sorts of knowledge about puffins – even blowing away some adults in there. We also got to see the sea lions put on a show during feeding time and watched all kinds of fish and sharks surround us in the Passages of the Deep. My timid 6-year-old even got crazy (for her) and touched some sea creatures!

Right now, the Oregon Coast Aquarium’s newest exhibit is Secrets of Shipwrecks. This exhibit is described as:

A historic and participatory exhibit that captures the spirit of archaeological adventure. This is not about discovering sunken cities of gold or pirate’s booty. It is about playing Indiana Jones for the day, embarking on a quest to learn about the past, understand the present, and glimpse the future.


  • 10:00am to 5:00pm (Generally September to May)
  • 9:00am to 6:00pm (Generally June-August)

Cost: Purchase tickets here:

  • Adults – $19.95
  • Seniors and Young Adults (13-17) – $17.95
  • Children – $12.95
  • Ages 0-2 – Free

In addition, if you plan on visiting multiple times throughout the year, consider being a member. Starting at only $45 (or $65 for a +1), you can attend an unlimited amount of times for one year. Sweet deal!

There are also a variety of specialty add-ons that can be purchased as well, including a Seal and Sea Lion Encounter, Giant Octopus Encounter, and a Behind the Scenes Tour. There is also a Sleep with the Sharks event, which my kids thought was both the most terrifying and most awesome thing ever.  I highly recommend checking out their Feeding and Tour Schedule to make sure you are not missing out.

Another cool thing they do is a traveling outreach program. Each year, the mobile task force traverses the West Coast and reach over 30,000 elementary school students in Oregon, Washington and California. So awesome!

Follow the Oregon Coast Aquarium on Facebook.

Hope to see you out there!

Thank you to Oregon Coast Aquarium for providing Run Oregon with passes to experience all they have to offer!

About Matt Rasmussen (1182 Articles)
Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching the Olympics, sampling craft beers, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010. Matt joined the Run Oregon team in October 2011, and since then he has spearheaded the blog’s efforts to cover product reviews, news about businesses related to running, and running events in the Willamette Valley.

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