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About the Seaside Aquarium

When the aquarium was founded in 1937, the goal was mostly to entertain the public. The dark interior was meant to create the feeling of swimming through an ocean cave at a time when respiration-aided diving was virtually unknown.

In the past several years, the focus has shifted to include education and community involvement as well as entertainment. We have reached beyond the walls of the actual building to participate in local events and projects geared toward a better understanding and appreciation of the North Coast marine environment.

In 1995, we became leaders in the regional Marine Mammal Stranding Network. In the next few years we added an Interpretive Center and helped start Seaside’s Watershed Estuary Beach Discovery Program. We have partnered with local businesses, non-profit organizations, and the City of Seaside to inform both visitors and local communities about beach safety, tides, different coastal habitats, and the animals who live there.

Kids at the Touch Tank

A Giant Surprise

Did you know??? The plural of octopus can be octopuses OR octopi, depending on the circumstance. Scientists use "octopuses" to describe multiples of the same kind of octopus and "octopi" to describe multiple species.

Two types of octopus are prevalent in Pacific Northwest waters and are kept on display in the Aquarium: the Giant Pacific octopus, and the Pacific Red octopus (also known as Octopus rubescens).

Adult Giant Pacific Octopus

An adult Giant Pacific octopus

Giant Pacific octopuses are the largest octopus species in the world, growing to a size anywhere from twenty to more than sixty pounds, with a fifteen to thirty foot arm span. They are the type of octopus regularly kept on display in the floor pool inside the Aquarium.

Octopus rubescens are also regularly on display in the Aquarium, but are only displayed in the smaller east tanks because they grow to weigh less than a pound and have about a two foot arm span.

Octopi are brought to the Aquarium by local fishermen who catch them eating crabs trapped in their crab pots. It is most common for adult octopi to be found. If tiny octopi are brought in, they are assumed to be adult Pacific Red octopi.

Adult Octopus rubescens

an adult Octopus rubescens

Baby Giant Pacific Octopus

a baby Giant Pacific octopus

However, it is very difficult to distinguish a baby Pacific Giant octopus from an Octopus rubescens. After a few days in a holding tank, staff began to wonder if one of our new additions was a baby Giant Pacific. It was more relaxed than a regular Octopus rubescens and the way it changed the pattern and texture of its skin more closely resembled a Giant Pacific octopus. After a few weeks and a number of meals, it was certain that we had a baby Giant Pacific octopus, a rare occurrence for the Aquarium.






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Seaside Aquarium, 200 North Prom, Seaside, Oregon 97138 Tel: (503) 738-6211.