by Mark Floyd
The Visitor Center at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, which annually draws some 150,000 visitors, will close on Dec. 5 for maintenance and renovation.
The Visitor Center’s front exhibits and auditorium are tentatively scheduled to reopen on Feb. 1, though there will be no public access to the back exhibits. The rest of the Visitor Center, which is operated by Oregon Sea Grant, is scheduled to reopen on March 25.
“A couple of the larger tanks in the back exhibits need to be re-secured to the foundation, and we’ll take the opportunity to do some additional plumbing and renovation,” said Bob Cowen, director of the Newport-based HMSC. “We’re sorry for the inconvenience, but the maintenance is overdue.”
Some of the Visitor Center’s exhibits include a large octopus tank, tanks with near- and offshore sea life, touch pools, coral tanks, displays featuring marine studies and current research, three wave tanks, an augmented sand table, and a variety of other hands-on educational exhibits.