The Sea & Me Opens May 26

April 10, 2012

The Oregon Coast Aquarium will open The Sea and Me, a new children’s interactive exhibit, amid Memorial Day weekend festivities, May 26-28, 2012. The opening of the exhibit coincides with the Aquarium’s 20th anniversary and the beginning of summer hours, 9 am to 6 pm, through Labor Day weekend. Opening weekend will include a Saturday performance by Radio Disney and a live remote with KYTE-FM, a local radio station.

The Sea & Me is designed to be fun and imaginative, based on a model used by children’s museums, offering play experiences that are developmentally appropriate for children 4 to 10 years old, but kids of all ages will find interactive discoveries to enjoy. The Sea & Me will feature exhibits that invite curiosity and promote interactions within groups, while encouraging discovery and understanding of the habitats of marine and freshwater animals.

“Visitors to The Sea & Me will delve into the ocean on our submarine, haul in a catch on our fishing boat, dig in the sand for seashore treasures and see, hear and touch some really cool animals,” said Kerry Carlin-Morgan, Aquarium Director of Education & Volunteer Services.  “For grown-ups, one of the great pleasures in life can still be play.”

Components of The Sea & Me include a Submarine Sea Lab, Fishing Gallery, play area, touch pool and marine displays of animals that inspire inquiry.

The Submarine Sea Lab allows children to explore the ocean through interactive displays and the power of imagination. Children can learn to be a deep water scientist aboard a mini submarine and descend into a coral reef through interactive displays and their own imaginations. The submarine will feature a working periscope, simulated ocean views using live animals and modern technology with things to push, flip, turn and twist.

The highlight of the Fishing Gallery is a child-sized fishing boat outfitted with a wheelhouse and fishing gear. Young explorers can slip on rubber bibs and experience life as a fisherman in coastal waters while they learn where seafood comes from and how it is caught.

One of the largest features in Sea & Me is the transformation of the Aquarium Theater into “Create Your Own Ocean Experience,” a free-play area where children can engage in a variety of unstructured activities. The play area includes discovery boxes filled with ocean “biofacts” like shark jaws and whale baleen, ocean-themed books and marine animal-themed costumes with a stage area where young visitors can act out their own ocean adventure.

The Sea & Me extends the interactive experience by offering a new touch pool where visitors can interact directly with sharks and rays. In addition, the Aquarium’s regular touch pool featuring invertebrates from Oregon tide pools is open in the Rocky Shores gallery.

Carlin-Morgan said the intent of The Sea & Me is to encourage kids and families to get outdoors, connect with nature and engage their curiosity. “How wonderful it is to do the things you loved when you were younger with your own children and grandchildren. Get in there and have some fun, too! ”

The Oregon Coast Aquarium gratefully acknowledges The Sea & Me  sponsors: Meyer Memorial Trust, Henry Lea Hillman, Jr.  Foundation, Maybelle Clark Macdonald Fund, Rose E. Tucker Charitable Trust, Wheeler Foundation, Jeanette B. Hennings Foundation, Pacific Power Foundation, Jackson Foundation, Autzen Foundation and more than 125 individuals who donated to The Sea & Me.