Oregon Coast Aquarium to Host Celebration of Pinniped Exhibit Reopening

April 15, 2013

Newport, Oregon— The Oregon Coast Aquarium will host a weekend packed with flippers, fur, and fun on April 27 – 28 to celebrate the opening of the newly remodeled Pinniped Exhibit.

The exhibit, home to the Aquarium’s harbor seals and California sea lions, has many new features that will benefit animals and guests alike. To celebrate the reopening, the Aquarium will be bubbling with pinniped-related surprises for visitors including free raffles and face painting.

The Aquarium’s President/CEO Carrie Lewis, said, “We hope the changes to the exhibit will cultivate a connection between each guest and the Aquarium’s incredible animals and the marine environment they depend on.”

Repeat visitors will immediately notice the viewing windows that were doubled in length to enable approximately 100 additional people to see each feeding session. The remodel also created larger, flat platforms for the Aquarium’s mammalogists and animals to showcase training sessions. These expanded unobstructed viewpoints, coupled with an improved speaker system, will provide guests more opportunities to interact with the Aquarium’s pinnipeds and staff.

Ken Lytwyn, Curator of Marine Mammals for the Aquarium, explained, “It’s great to know visitors will be able to focus on the animals, rather than jostling to get a glimpse through one of the small windows we had before.”

The stars of the exhibit, the pinnipeds, are already making use of the more ergonomic haul-out areas and other new features. Max, the Aquarium’s male California sea lion, staked out the lowered presentation platform as his new favorite napping spot.

The new behind-the-scenes facilities provide more flexibility for animal care. “This project provided us with off-exhibit long term holding areas that will allow us more opportunity for animal acquisition in the future.” explained Jim Burke, the Aquarium’s Director of Animal Husbandry.

The Pinniped Exhibit upgrades are part of a continued effort to enhance visitor experiences and provide the best possible habitats for the Aquarium’s animals.

The $500,000 project was funded, in part by a $250,000 Tourism Facilities matching grant from the City of Newport. In response to the challenge, Aquarium donors and members contributed the additional funds.

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization located in Newport on the beautiful Oregon Coast. Our mission is to inspire the public to better understand, cherish and conserve marine and coastal ecosystems. The Aquarium is a member of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. It has been named one of the top 10 aquariums in the U.S. Visit us at 2820 S.E. Ferry Slip Rd., Newport, OR. www.aquarium.org, 541-867-3474. Follow us on Facebook.com/OregonCoastAquarium for the latest updates.

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