Coastal Waters

The “At the Jetty” exhibit spotlights survival issues of coho and chinook salmon, explaining their life cycle and their tremendous journey from streams to the ocean and back again. Extending into the Aquarium's courtyard with a large wall-to-wall viewing window, the 35,000-gallon exhibit is one of the Aquarium's larger indoor displays.

Made up of impressive basalt boulders, the exhibit replicates the habitat of the Yaquina Bay jetties, between which salmon must pass on their annual migrations. Large white sturgeons are also featured. Considered ancient fish, sturgeons have been around for some 200 million years. They can live as long as 100 years and can reach lengths of 20 feet. Aquarium visitors enjoy watching these gentle giants poke around the sandy bottom in search of food. The “At the Jetty” exhibit was made possible through the generous support of Spirit Mountain Community Fund and the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde.

Coastal Waters also houses a moon jelly exhibit, which occupies an acrylic cylinder eight feet in diameter. The jellies are consistently named by visitors as one of the most popular animals at the Aquarium. A second jelly exhibit in this gallery features sea nettles. Other highlights include a 5,000-gallon kelp forest harboring offshore fishes and invertebrates and a 9,100-gallon coastal reef exhibit. The gallery holds a total of 16 exhibits.