Visitor Center Closed

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, especially among our more vulnerable staff, volunteers and visitors, the Visitor Center will be closed until further notice. Please refer to this website for updates.

About the Visitor Center

The Oregon Sea Grant-operated Visitor Center is the public education wing of the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. Over 150,000 people pass through the doors of the Visitor Center annually to see the exhibits, join in hands-on activities and learn about marine animals and issues facing the coast. Take a video tour of the Center.

Up close with the octopus

Even though we're closed, you can still get up close to the octopus.

Aquarists will feed the giant Pacific octopus at 1 pm Monday, Thursday and Saturday. While there won't be a presentation, there will be more activity at this time via the OctoCam.

Painting with the octopus

Tune in Mondays at 1 pm for painting time with the octopus! This video shows a recent painting session with our current resident octopus.

This (8) hands-on activity was created to help the octopuses get enough enrichment time. These clever, inquisitive creatures need social time to stay healthy and happy.

SnapShots from the VISITOR CENTER

Did you know that the giant Pacific octopus (pictured here) have 8 arms and over 2,000 suckers? They use their suckers to taste, smell, hang on to things and can even move each one independently. 

Let's Keep Learning!

Even though we are homebound we can still keep learning.

Motivated STEM-loving educators around the country are sharing their know-how and resources. To make it easy to access this material, our sister program Oregon Coast STEM Hub has put together a calendar of online events and resources the whole family can enjoy.

Live Online Events Activities

Click to watch a short time-lapse video of a California sea cucumber feeding in our Estuary Tank.

What is this creature?

This spiny creature is a California sea cucumber.

It is found along the entire west coast of the United States. They live in low intertidal zones up to waters as deep as 250 meters (820 feet). Their ideal spot has moderate currents and cobbles, boulders or bedrock.

The California sea cucumber is a scavenger. It feeds by sifting through sediments with its tentacles, or by laying in a spot in the current where it can use its tentacles to catch food flowing by. 

These animals are also solitary and nocturnal. When they are threatened they protect themselves by expelling their organs through their anus. It can also expel sticky filaments to ensnare or confuse predators.

Other Tank Happenings
  • The lacey basket star (above) looks like a whimsical sculpture. It's actually a type of sea star and can weigh up to 11 pounds. This one resides in our temperate reef tank.
  • Three big skate eggs were rescued by a local beachcomber, and our aquarists were able to hatch them. Watch a video of their first swim.
  • Babysitting angelfish. When one of the newly hatched fry starts to swim away, a parent sucks them up into their mouth, then spits them back out to be with the group. Fascinating!

Tidepool Touch Tanks

Roll up your sleeves and touch marine animals in our tidepool tanks! Gently pet abalone and sea stars. Friendly volunteers are on hand to answer questions and help you explore. While we are closed, watch this video of local tidepools and rocky reefs.

Tsunami Wave Challenge

How do tsunamis affect structures on the coast? Take the Tsunami Wave Tank Engineering Challenge! See if you can build something that will withstand the energy of a tsunami wave.


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. These contour lines, just like the ones on maps, mark different elevations.

Upcoming Events


Labor Day to Memorial Day
10 AM - 4 PM Thursday - Monday

Memorial Day to Labor Day
10 AM - 5 PM Daily

Closed: Thanksgiving Day, December 25 and January 1


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

Phone: 541-867-0100; Option 2