Portland Aquarium, a December 2012 addition to Milwaukie, introduces visitors to thousands of waterborne species. Guests can slide their hands along the smooth flesh of a stingray or the knobby arms of a starfish or engage in staring contests with a blacktip reef shark. Other planned exhibits include a jellyfish exhibit, a cold-water tank filled with fish native to Oregon's coast, and a rainforest-themed jungle gym for children. The tropical touch-tank woos visits with its displays of vibrant-color aquatic life while amphibious wonders, including poison dart frogs, thrill visitors. Those seeking bigger thrills may hoist various pythons species–including a15-foot reticulated or 9-foot albino burmese snake–upon their shoulders or get their picture taken with macaw parrot. Landing-loving iguanas and panter chameleons also lurch around in the mix.
Snuggled up next to the gorgeous Yaquina Bay, Oregon Coast Aquarium showcases the intricate sea life found on the Pacific Coast. Visitors can peer into the personal lives of outgoing ocean dwellers in the Passages of the Deep, which guides guests through the underwater ecosystems of the state's coast. Disciples of the sea can chat about the Wall Street Journal ’s recent article about the ink market with the giant Pacific octopus or watch public feedings of the largest sea otter community in the state—featuring the antics of the cheeky charmer northern otter Mojo. Merry mariners can swap shanties with the sleek and vocal sea lions or harbor seals, and touchy tourists can acquaint themselves with tide-pool residents in the Rocky Shores touch pool.