Hatfield Marine Science Center
Just south of the Yaquina Bay Bridge, head east on the road that parallels the bay to the OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center (2030 SE Marine Science Dr., 541/867-0100, http://hmsc.oregonstate.edu, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. daily summer, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Thurs.–Mon. winter, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. daily spring and winter break Whale Watch weeks, donation suggested). This research and education facility is a low-key but interesting complement to the very popular Oregon Coast Aquarium, located half a mile south.
At the door to greet you is an octopus in an open tank pointing the way to oceanography exhibits and a “hands-on” area where you can experience the feel of starfish, anemones, and other sea creatures.
The back hallway has educational dioramas, and a theater shows marine-science films throughout the day. If you proceed left from the octopus tank, you’ll see tanks with different sea ecosystems. Beyond the walls of the museum, guided field trips (a fee is charged) explore estuary, beach, and coastal forest habitats at various times of the year (check with the front desk or the website for details).
Perhaps the biggest thrill is watching the octopus eat—it’s fed at 1 p.m. each Monday, Thursday, and Saturday.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel