We hope to see you soon!

We are delighted to announce that we are open and once again welcoming people into the Visitor Center. Read below about reservations and other trip details.

What to expect when visiting

Trips to the Visitor Center will be a little different than before lockdown. For the time being, we require visitors to make a reservation which is good for an hour-long visit. Up to 60 guests per hour will be allowed in the Center.

  • Reservations required: Reservations must be made online. 
  • Days/Hours: Thursday - Monday, 10 AM - 4 PM; closed Tuesday - Wednesday
  • Fee: $3 for visitors ages 5 and up; payment is online, Visa or MasterCard accepted, no cash, please.
  • Time: Visits are 1 hour long.
  • Occupancy: A maximum of 60 visitors will be in the Center per hour with reservations available for 30 people per half hour.
  • Face coverings: Per OSU guidelines face coverings are required.

Snap Shots from the VISITOR CENTER

Pumpkins are popping up all over the Visitor Center. This little lumpsucker is checking out the new pumpkin décor in its tank. Come visit us and see how many you can find. Special thanks to volunteers Barbara, Fran, Rebecca, and Lee for carving pumpkins!

Visitor Feedback: "Thank you for the amazing training that your volunteer Jeff provided! We were VERY prepared for tide pool viewing at Coquille Point. We read the tide charts and got amazing views. This place is an exceptional value at only $3 per person!"

octopus NEWS

We are delighted to report that a giant Pacific octopus is on exhibit!

When you visit, you might notice a variety of toys in the octopus tank. Our aquatic animal husbandry staff use toys, as well as routine interaction, with these animals to keep them engaged and active. Octopuses are extremely intelligent and inquisitive creatures who need social time to stay healthy and happy. If you are curious about these eight-armed wonders, check out this frequently asked questions page. You can also check out the octopus online via the OctoCam. Below is a video of a resident octopus playing with its toys.

Regional Class Research Vessel

This interactive simulator let's you experience what it feels like to be at the helm of a large research vessel and steer it through Yaquina Bay. 

Crustacean Station

This exhibit showcases crustaceans found along the Oregon coast. By displaying these animals in smaller interconnected tanks, it is possible to keep more than one species in harmony.


More Exhibits

Augmented Reality Sandbox

Visitors of all ages are welcome to play in this sandbox. At this exhibit, you move the sand in the sandbox and watch how the contour lines, projected on the sand, change.

What is this creature?

So what exactly is a nudibranch?

Nudibranchs are in all the oceans of the world. Currently, there are about 3,000 types of species.

Nudibranchs are a group of soft-bodied, shell-less mollusks and members of the sea slug family. Crazy fact, they are born with shells but shed them after their larval stage. Ouch! Nudibranchs are renowned for their striking colors, patterns (like leopard spots) and unique shapes. Species range in size from as small as .25 inches or as large as a foot long.

Nudibranchs have few natural predators. Their bright colors warn predators away and many nudibranchs defend themselves by excreting poisons. They also don't produce toxins. Instead, they recycle the toxins from the prey they eat.

A Spotted leopard nudibranch

(Diaulula odonoghuei)

This little horned wonder is named for the leopard-like spots across its back. The number and color of the spots vary, and their body color can be pale grey, brown or even yellow. They are relatively small in size, only getting about 7.5  cm long. While they may look squishy, they are surprisingly solid to the touch.

Where are they found?

Spotted leopard nudibranchs live in intertidal areas all along the west coast of North America, from Baja California to the Aleutian Islands to the Sea of Japan. So, keep your eyes peeled next time you go tide pooling.

Why do they have horns on their head?

The horns are called rhinophores, and much like our noses, they help nudibranchs pick up smells in their environment. Look closely, and you'll also see feathery external gills on its back. The design of these gills maximizes the gills' surface area to extract oxygen from the water.

How do they eat? I don’t see a mouth!

The mouth on this type of nudibranch is on the underside of its head. It eats with the help of its radula; a type of tongue that is covered in rows of tiny teeth that shred prey into small pieces for eating. It likes to graze on sea sponges. All nudibranchs are carnivorous.

Upcoming Events

Do you have a group interested in exploring the Visitor Center? You can make a reservation for your group here.


Open: 10 AM - 4 PM Thursday - Monday
Reservations Required

Closed: Tuesday - Wednesday
Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day


Hatfield Marine Science Center Visitor Center
2030 SE Marine Science Drive
Newport, OR  97365-5229

Phone: 541-867-0100; Option 2

Map and Driving Directions

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