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Review of Portland Aquarium - CLOSED

Portland Aquarium
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The Portland Aquarium welcomes everyone to enjoy the unique interactive experiences found within, and is especially excited to introduce children and families to the world beneath the ocean's surface. Guests are encouraged to hand feed sharks, rays, birds, and fish, or to get up close and personal with many of the reptiles and other animals on exhibit. Above all, the Portland Aquarium promotes education through an interactive experience in a comfortable environment. Kids and adults alike are sure to be amazed at the soft skin of sharks and rays. The Portland Aquarium provides children and families access to the excitement and learning opportunities of the ocean without the long trip to the coast. Guests can watch jellyfish gently float and glow and admire the bright and colorful corals, all within easy reach of home. The Aquarium offers multiple educational programs and events for kids, as well as behind the scenes tours for those curious about just what it takes to keep an aquarium in good working order. Popular programs developed by the owners such as birthday parties and 'Marine Biologist for a Day' programs, are features here at the Portland Aquarium. "We hope to inspire a young generation of ocean explorers and conservationists through education and a shared experience with a live animal, to create an appreciation for the oceans," says owner Vince Covino. With over 3,000 living animals representing habitats from the Oregon shores to remote Indonesian Islands, the experience will instill respect and awe for our rich aquatic resources. The Covino family places a premium on the family experience, with a special interest in foster children. Having hosted 31 of their own, and adopting 3, they understand the struggles foster families face, and therefore offer free admission to foster children. Read our What You Can Expect Page provide further information about, well, What You Can Expect! Annual membership passes for families and individuals are on sale as well as day passes. Consider having your birthday party or private event at our facility as well. Follow Portland Aquarium on Facebook for updates and special offers and giveaways weekly.
Useful Information: Stroller parking, Activities for young children, Wheelchair access, Food available for purchase, Bathroom facilities, Activities for older children
Portland, Oregon
Level 4 Contributor
37 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed May 29, 2013

My 12 yr old grandchildren had a great time feeding the fish and sting rays and really enjoyed the Lorikeets!!! We'll be back when the otters arrive!!!

Visited May 2013
Thank Ruth B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

91 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Level 4 Contributor
33 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed May 16, 2013

Went to the aquarium on a rainy afternoon. After seeing all of the other great museums and activities that Portland had to offer I figured this would be great as well. It was one of the worst aquariums I have ever been to. Upon entering I noticed a strong smell of mold. The touch tanks seemed to have too many little hands and not enough supervision which resulted in a lot of the animals being manhandled. The Moray Eel was in a tank so small that it couldn't stretch all the way out. They had a kid's play area, but it looked deserted and a bit unsafe. All in all my 2 year old had fun but I left feeling guilty for having given money to a place that treats its animals poorly. I would not recommend this aquarium.

Visited May 2013
2 Thank roadster13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Oregon, United States
Level 5 Contributor
77 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Interesting considering the location”
Reviewed May 9, 2013

It used to be a Black Angus restaurant, now it is an aquarium. They actually pack quite a few cool experiences into this little building, but it's so closed in feeling and loud when there are lots of people there. If you go, go on a random day, not one likely to be busy. Definitely pay the extra for all the food to feed the different things ( bat rays, sharks, lorikeets, tropical fish). That's what made the experience really cool.

Visited March 2013
1 Thank Beth M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Woodland, CA
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“small but good”
Reviewed May 7, 2013

Our family of four (kids aged 15 & 18) loves aquariums so we decided to check this out while in Portland. We had low expectations due to some bad reviews we read so we were pleasantly surprised. Very small one story place, just a few separate rooms plus a gift shop; we were in and out in about 90 minutes. They did have tables set up and there was a kid's birthday party going on but it wasn't disruptive to the rest of us, even though the tables were close by.

We were expecting to be able to touch the animals and very happy to be able to feed them. The rays were super friendly and easy to reach to pet; they came right up to the edge of the pool all the time. The shark was harder to reach but we did get to touch it a couple of times. They also had shark eggs to touch but just the kids did that. The more "fishy" tank had some pretty fish and we fed those too. We stayed quite a while petting the rays and watching them swim.

Unexpected: a lizard we could pet, a big ole tortoise, and a bird enclosure -- daughter bought the lorikeet food and went inside and several birds landed on her arm to feed and sat on her head. She loved it.

Overall a pretty low-key place but for us it was definitely worth the bit of a drive from downtown Portland. It did look hokey on the outside but we had a good time. If you like hands-on aquariums it's worth a visit.

Visited May 2013
Thank Renee T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Great for kids of all ages”
Reviewed April 15, 2013

When I first went to the aquarium I was very well acquainted with the building (so no surprises when I pulled up) as it used to be a Black Angus restaurant, and being so new, they haven't had time to change the exterior of the building. They are still in the midst of renovating, and improving so you need to be prepared for that upon arrival. However, having said that I was most impressed with the staff; their knowledge (they have Marine Biologists on staff) and willingness to answer questions. Plus they were very friendly too! The animals were all in very good health and their living environments were clean and well appointed. But the most important is its a hands on venue and how great it is for kids! OK and adult kids like me. At different times of the day you can pet a snake, or a Cayman Lizard, a Macaw or have Lorikeets sit on your shoulder plus feed Sharks and Rays. They have pools containing sea anemones that can be touched and a very wide variety of sea life. They will have an Otter exhibit that will hopefully be open this year along with a Puffin exhibit. All in all its a great place to take your children and its on its way to being one of the go to place's for the Portland metropolitan area!

Visited April 2013
2 Thank Laurie M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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