Monday, August 04, 2008

trip to Oregon -- tide pools and the aquarium

On Wednesday we went to visit the Yaquina Bay lighthouse and the tide pools at its base.

There was a sign at the entry to the state park that read, "Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, Outstanding Natural Area." I had never seen a sign like that before, and I got a kick out of it. It turned out to be a truly outstanding natural area -- so much so that Marc and I were wondering why we had never heard of it the last time we visited!

Those with healthy knees climbed to the top and Marc & Max got some amazing photos of the inside. I had to content myself with viewing it from outdoors.

I don't think I've ever seen water architectural detail before. I love it.

At the base of the lighthouse, there are several hundred yards of volcanic rocks and really great tidepools (we went at low tide for the best viewing). These huge rocks were just a little ways out into the water and had tons of seabirds roosting and seals sunning themselves.

Eva enjoyed hanging out with Grandma & Grandpa more than navigating the difficult terrain.

We had to tread carefully to avoid walking on mussel beds.

We saw plenty of starfish, sea anemones, and crabs, but I was a little disappointed I didn't see any sea urchins or sea cucumbers (others did).

Max and Kristen went way out exploring.

When we'd had our fill, we climbed back up and went to a restaurant in Newport that is combined with a bookstore so you can peruse the books while waiting for your table. A pretty good idea, if you ask me! They had enormous cream puffs that we had to sample for dessert. Then we headed to the Oregon Coast Aquarium, which we've visited several times in the past and which never disappoints.

Since our last visit, they put in a new installation which incorporates fantastical blown glass into the tanks -- it was visually stunning, and I am only sad that most of my photos didn't turn out very well.

Eva was really taken with the tiniest jellyfish in the world...

...and I was really taken with these orange ones!

They had some great touch pools as well. Everyone enjoyed touching the starfish, anemones, and skates. In the skate pond, there was one little guy who was really playing to the crowd -- he would swim around and then stop by a person and lift himself up to be touched, then he would swim around again, waving one of his fins at everyone. I had no idea they were capable of such stunts!

Outside, we watched otters being fed, sea lions swimming by, and walked through a tunnel where we could see sharks swimming over our heads. Grandma & Grandpa even gave the kids some money to spend in the gift shop!


We stopped by this bridge briefly so that Marc could take some pictures for his photo blog. It's funny for me to see how antsy he gets when he hasn't posted for awhile. Finally, he gets the pull of blogging!

The kids all fell asleep on the 1/2 hour drive back, and Max actually went into his room and took a little nap! I could not have been more shocked. They all swam before bed. It was another great day.

9 comments:

jenn said...

I've been reading all your Oregon posts but haven't commented because I am SO stinkin' jealous! Kelly and I want to take our kids to the Oregon coast SO bad and just haven't been able to work it out. I'm to the point where your pictures have convinced me we just have to make it happen! They are fantastic! And I am SO happy your family had such a good time! Thanks for sharing!!

lelly said...

yeah - what jenn said!!

Barb said...

I love seeing pictures of places I've been. The blown glass is awesome.

Amy said...

Oohh, I love the water-themed architectural details too! How cool!

And, except for the not commenting part, can I just copy Lelly, and say, What Jenn said? What a great vacation!

charlotte said...

Oo jelly fish creep me out!

Kim Sue said...

I'm saying "love seeing pictures of places I have NOT been" but am wishing really hard. We go to the beach at least once a year (Alabama/Florida) and don't get me wrong, they are the most gorgeous beaches to be found. But, I REALLY want to go to a beach with tide pools and real starfish! Love your bridge picture and I can't wait to see Marc's :)

crystal said...

You saw a lighthouse, a starfish & a seahorse...all in the same day! Lucky duck!

Claudissima said...

Oh my this is my favorite post yet...i LOVE the light house and all the aqua marine life...wow....the stars, the jelly fish, the whole bit! sooo cool and vivid colors, and the bridge...gosh, I was just reminising about my trip to New Castle, I've been there like three times, and just entering the city they have 5 bridges....I should do a post on that..one day...it was amazing..I just love architecture and stuff like that. Amazing amazing time you guys had...funny about Marc, wanting to post....hehehehhehehehe

Jill said...

More great pictures! Your posts have been the perfect amount of photos and words. You've convinced us all that we want a vacation on the Oregon Coast too!

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