Today (5/23) marks 30 years since the Oregon Coast Aquarium first opened its doors to the public. Since May 23, 1992, the Aquarium has been a premier attraction on Oregon’s central coast and an enduring advocate for the health of our ocean. “The Aquarium began as an idea to encourage growth in our coastal communities, and over the last thirty years we’ve done that and so much more,” said Aquarium President and CEO Carrie Lewis.
“We’ve rehabilitated endangered species, we’ve fostered strong ties with our community partners, and we’ve introduced millions to the splendor of the Oregon coast. The next thirty years are bound to be just as rewarding.” The Oregon Coast Aquarium’s progress would not be possible without the support of our generous donors, members, volunteers, and visitors; thank you for joining us in our mission to inspire ocean conservation. Over the next 30-years the Aquarium will continue to broaden its impact, increasing its ability to engage visitors and serve marine wildlife.
In the early 1980s, Newport’s economy took a dramatic downturn when both the timber and commercial fishing industries fell upon hard times. It was clear then that the community needed a broader economic base to insulate it from single-industry economic ups and downs. A panel of community leaders from the public and private sectors convened to brainstorm ways to stimulate the economy in the Yaquina Bay area.
The Aquarium’s founders included representatives of Newport’s commercial, municipal, financial and private sectors. This broad-based group—now incorporated as the Yaquina Bay Economic Foundation—was ideally suited to creating a facility serving both a growing tourist market and the year-round, resident population. The Oregon Coast Aquarium became incorporated as a (501)(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization in 1984. The Aquarium’s grand opening was held on May 23, 1992. Within four years, the Aquarium had become the second most popular attraction in the state and was named by Parade magazine as one of the top 10 aquariums in the country.
For more information about the Oregon Coast Aquarium and their accomplishments for the last 30-years and what plans are for the future go to https://aquarium.org/about/30-years/