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.

octopus NEWS

The aquarists have been very busy caring for the animals in the Visitor Center. One animal that is always a highlight for visitors is the giant Pacific octopus. We currently have a very energetic resident octopus on exhibit. Check out the OctoCam to see what she is up to. 

This video shows a recent painting session with our previous 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

Pictured is Visitor Center volunteer Madur as he interacts with visitors. We cannot wait to welcome you all back! There is not a set date to open yet. Please continue to refer to the website for updates.

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

What is this creature?

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

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

We have newborn shiner perch on exhibit at the Hatfield Visitor Center! At last count yesterday, we had 31 and more on the way.

Watch this video to see them being born. These little ones are about 1 inch long, strong and healthy. They are born by live birth and not from eggs. If you look closely at the picture, you can see the baby is being born tail first.

After birth, the moms show no parental care. The young are born tough, independent, and ready to take on the world. It appears their instinct kicks in immediately as they schooled up with the many other newborns for protection. They are already eating everything the aquarists offer them.


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