Known for their DIY ethic, Portlanders have built many things — like an inventive food cart scene, microbrewery after microbrewery, its own Etsy-esque ecosystem of crafters and even competitive kickball and dodgeball leagues. But an aquarium? Surely there’s a limit to the “Made in Oregon” ethos, right?
Apparently not. Last December the Covino brothers (Ammon and Vince) opened the Portland Aquarium. Pegged as “surprisingly rad” by The Portland Mercury, this family-friendly attraction is located just nine miles south of downtown Portland (in Milwaukie) and is already delighting children and parents alike. The hands-on aquatic experiences include lots of reach-in tanks, where brave, curious kiddos can touch tiny sharks, rays and cleaner shrimp that tickle the fingers.
But kids aren’t the only creatures getting interactive here. Take Roxy the Giant Pacific Octopus: Each day at 5 p.m., she is fed her dinner through a variety of puzzles. Watching her interact with her surroundings and contort her body to solve her conundrums is educational and entertaining — but she always gets her meal. Of course there are also areas for species like the stunning hammerheads and the delicate jellyfish, which capture both the eye and imagination.
Open 365 days from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., the new watery wonder also offers an array of activities and youth-oriented events throughout the year, as well as memberships, which are perfect for anyone who plans on drifting back in to see what new creatures have swum into town.