You know it’s almost summer on the Oregon coast …

Feeding time at the HMSC… when the Visitor Center at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport switches over to summer hours.

From now until Labor Day, the Visitor Center will be open five days a week, from 10 am to 5 pm, with exhibits, activities and events designed to enlighten and entertain visitors of all ages with an interest in our oceans and coasts. It’s a great place to take a break from your beach explorations, and our bookstore offers all kinds of wonderful – and educational – mementos.

Current interactive exhibits include

  • “Our Active Earth,” which looks at the science of earthquakes and tsunamis
  • “Invasion of the Habitat Snatchers,” which uses games, videos and other tools to explore how invasive species can damage habitats and crowd out native animals and plants
  • “Science for Sustainable Fisheries,” examining how scientists, fishermen and fisheries managers work together to ensure a healthy, safe, sustainable seafood supply. The exhibit features intricately detailed scale models of actual Newport fishing vessels, hand-crafted by a local artisan!

Visitors¬† – especially young ones – love being on hand when it’s time to feed our star attraction, Ursula the giant Pacific octopus, and the other animals on exhibit. Oregon Sea Grant’s educators, aquarists and volunteers are on hand to talk about the animals and their behavior and answer questions. Octopus feedings take place at 1 pm every Monday, Thursday and Saturday; feedings of the fish and invertebrates in our Eye-Level tank happen at 1 pm Sundays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Marine science videos and presentations take place regularly¬† in the center’s Hennings Auditorium, and each Sunday at 11 am up to 20 visitors can enjoy a guided, behind-the-scenes tour of the quarantine, holding, medical, teaching, and research areas in our animal health wing.

For more about upcoming events and exhibits, visit the HMSC Visitor Center’s Web site.