During the latter part of the 1950’s, Oregon was home to as many as seventy drive-in movie theaters. Unfortunately, almost all of these drive-in theaters have since closed down, leaving only three drive-ins that remain in operation in the state. These drive-in theaters are concentrated within the northern part of Oregon. During the warmer months of the year, both residents and visitors alike can still enjoy an outdoor movie experience in Oregon. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Some restaurants are currently offering pickup only. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.La Grande Drive-in
3 Best Drive-in Theaters in Oregon
- La Grande Drive-in, Photo: La Grande Drive-in
- M&F Drive-in, Photo: Courtesy of aaseenaa - Fotolia.com
- 99W Drive-in, Photo: 99W Drive-in
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of jetcityimage - Fotolia.com
More Ideas: Seaside Aquarium
Located in Seaside, Oregon, the Seaside Aquarium is one of the longest-operating aquariums on the American West Coast, featuring third- and fourth-generation harbor seals, a touch pool for children, and exhibits on the native aquatic wildlife of the Pacific Northwest. Before it was home to the Seaside Aquarium, the current aquarium building was constructed as an indoor public bath and swimming pool natatorium facility called the Seaside Baths Natatorium in 1924.
After the natatorium’s closing in the early 1930s due to the economic turmoil of the Great Depression, the building was temporarily used as a salmon-rearing facility and a wrestling match venue. In 1937, it was extensively renovated and reopened to the public as the Seaside Aquarium, making it one of the earliest aquarium facilities to open in the United States. An apartment facility named the Sea Water Apartments opened above the aquarium the following year, though the facility is now defunct and vacant.
Permanent Exhibits and Animals
Today, the Seaside Aquarium is still a privately-owned facility, managed by descendants of its original founders. The aquarium still uses the original pipe system installed as part of the historic natatorium facility to fill and power all its exhibit tanks. As an educational outreach facility and wildlife refuge, the aquarium participates in the Marine Mammal Stranding program and is partnered with local organizations such as the Seaside Beach Discovery Program, the Haystack Rock Awareness Program, and the Wildlife Center of the North Coast.
More than 100 varieties of marine life are housed at the aquarium, with a focus on sea life native to the Pacific Northwest. As the first national program for breeding harbor seals in captivity, the aquarium is home to a number of third- and fourth-generation offspring seals, which may be fed by visitors during up-close experiences. The aquarium is currently home to 11 seals, including Greta, born in 1996, and Casey, born in 2014.
All exhibits at the aquarium are designed to change with natural seasons and offer up-close experiences with a number of marine animals, including crabs, octopuses, sunflower stars, nudibranches, and moray and wolf eels. An Underwater Exhibit area showcases the complex ecosystems of the Pacific Ocean, including animals native to the estuary habitats of the Columbia River. A number of live fish recovered from the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, known as the “tsunami fish,” are also displayed.
At the aquarium’s Discovery Center, young visitors may experience a number of the aquarium’s invertebrate species up close with touch pool opportunities, including chances to interact with starfish, sea urchins, and sea anemones. Microscopes are offered for investigation of miniature species. Staff members are also on hand at all times to answer questions about the facility’s animals.
Ongoing Programs and Education
The aquarium is open year-round except for major national holidays, with hours varying throughout the winter and summer seasons. General admission tickets are valid for entrance all day throughout the day of purchase, with special rates for children, seniors, and families of up to six members. Children under five years of age may visit the aquarium for free with the purchase of an adult ticket. Special group rates are offered for schools and organizations, including curriculum-incorporated field trip opportunities for elementary and secondary school groups. As there are no public restroom facilities at the aquarium, restroom access is provided at the nearby Turnaround, located three blocks away.
A variety of public special events are offered by the aquarium throughout the year, including periodic Beach Discovery Programs held outside on the aquarium’s grounds, featuring educational displays and meet-and-greet opportunities with aquarium animals. A History and Hops lecture series is co-sponsored by the aquarium and the Seaside Museum and Historical Society, providing opportunities to learn about local history while enjoying local craft brews. A Feed The Seals, Feed The Community annual food drive held between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve allows visitors to enter the aquarium for a donation of two cans of food, with all donations going to help feed underprivileged families in the Seaside community during the holiday season. Other major special events include a National Estuary Day, celebrating the area’s Necanicum Estuary habitat, and a Nehalem Bay Crab Derby, offering $1,000 cash prizes.
Seaside Resort Community
The area that now encompasses the city of Seaside was historically the location of the Clatsop Ne-co-tat village. In 1899, the area was incorporated as a coastal resort city, and in 1912, French immigrant Alexandre Gilbert was elected as the city’s mayor, adding significant amounts of beachfront land to the area as a result of personal land donations. Throughout the early 20th century, the area became established as a seashore resort community, known for its beachfront cottages, resorts, boardwalks, and cultural attractions. Today, the area is best known as a beachfront tourist town and natural refuge, home to Ecola State Park and the Tillamook Head National Recreation Trail.
200 N Prom, Seaside, OR 97138, Phone: 503-738-6211
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More Ideas: Heceta Head Lighthouse
Located along the Pacific coastline near Florence, Oregon, the Heceta Head Lighthouse is a historic lighthouse operated as a bed and breakfast facility, offering Victorian-style accommodations and event space for weddings and other private special events. The Heceta Head area of the Oregon coastline is named for 18th-century Spanish explorer Bruno de Heceta, noted for his explorations and charting of the Pacific Northwest.
Prior to the arrival of European explorers, the area was traditionally the home of the Siuslaw, or ?túw?, indigenous people, who used the area for hunting sea lions and seabird eggs and based their Animal People legend around the area’s cliffs. Throughout the late 19th century, European settlers claimed a 164-acre area of land in the area, and in 1888, the construction of a lighthouse on 19 acres of the Heceta Head viewpoint was approved by the United States government. Construction on the lighthouse began in 1892 and was completed the following August at a total cost of $80,000. The lighthouse site originally consisted of several outbuildings, including a barn and numerous lightkeeper residences, though most of the additional structures were demolished in 1940 or leased to nearby Lane Community College. The lighthouse has remained in operation since 1894 and stands as the strongest light beam on the Oregon coastline today, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. In 2011, the lighthouse was closed to the public for two years for major restorations, returning the structure to its original Victorian-era metalwork, masonry, and decor.
Attractions and Amenities
Today, the Heceta Head Lighthouse is located on a 205-foot cliff area within the Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint state park and is owned and operated by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. The 56-foot lighthouse stands overlooking the Oregon coastline atop a 205-foot cliff area and is the most photographed historic lighthouse in America. The lighthouse’s beam, operated by a first-class Fresnel lens, is the strongest remaining light along the Oregon Coast, visible from up to 21 nautical miles away.
The lighthouse’s former lightkeeper’s home building is now owned by the United States Forestry Service, operated as a bed and breakfast facility offering overnight accommodations for area visitors. Six rooms offering queen-sized beds are available for rental, hosting up to 15 guests at a time in authentic Victorian-era accommodations. Two Mariners Rooms offer southern views of the Pacific Ocean coast and private bathrooms, with twin-size rollaway beds provided for additional guests upon reservation request. The Lightkeeper’s Room contains an antique porcelain claw-foot-style bathtub, and the Victoria’s Room offers four-post and trundle beds and views of the nearby state park forest. In the Cape Cove Room, named for the nearby Cape Creek Bridge, photographs and illustrations showcase the work of architect Conde McCullough. The Queen Anne Room is also provided for romantic getaways, offering fine Austrian sheets and terry cloth bathrobes for guests.
In addition to guest bedrooms, a European-style communal bathroom is offered, along with several parlor areas for relaxing in front of handcrafted fireplaces. A communal dining room showcases a grand piano, and a wraparound porch provides views of the nearby lighthouse, forest, and coastline. A full guest kitchen is also available for visitor use. A one-acre lawn serves as an event grounds, and several pathways serve as trailheads to the nearby lighthouse. A gift shop is also located in the lighthouse’s former generator room, offering maritime-themed books, souvenirs, and holiday ornaments.
Prepaid reservations are required for all visitor stays, and Saturday accommodations require at least a two-night stay. Pets and guests under 10 years of age are not permitted within the facility. A family-style seven-course breakfast is offered daily for all overnight guests, catered by executive chefs Mike and Carol Korgan, and a wine and cheese social is held every afternoon. In addition to overnight stays, public tours of the facility’s first floor area are also offered daily between Memorial Day and Labor Day, and history talks are presented during breakfasts throughout the winter months.
Weddings and Event Rentals
Heceta Head Lighthouse B&B is available for private special event rentals, including rentals for weddings and honeymoons. A variety of wedding packages are available for event groups of up to 30 guests, with special custom packages available for larger groups. Catered receptions for up to 150 guests may also be added to wedding packages, and a wedding consultant is available for planning and day-of services. In addition to private special event rental, several annual public special events are offered at the lighthouse and B&B, including a Victorian Christmas open house and a birthday party for the facility’s March anniversary.
725 Summer St, Florence, OR 97439, Phone: 800-551-6949
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More Ideas: Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge
Located in Clatsop County, Oregon, the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge is a natural wildlife area spanning approximately 20 islands near the terminus of the Columbia River, providing a refuge for a large number of fish, waterfowl, and bird of prey species. The 1,270-mile Columbia River, named by Captain Robert Gray in 1792, is the dominant waterway of the Pacific Northwest, spanning from British Columbia’s Columbia Lake to a terminus at the Pacific Ocean near the city of Astoria, Oregon.
The river and its basin were formed approximately 12,000 years ago at the end of the last Ice Age, as a result of melting ice dams near Montana’s Lake Missoula. Human habitation of the Columbia River basin area dates back at least 10,000 years to primitive hunter-gatherer cultures subsisting on fish and root vegetables such as the wapato. The islands and estuary area encompassing what is now Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge were traditional trading places for the area’s Cathlamet and Chinook indigenous people and were explored in 1805 by Meriweather Lewis and William Clark’s Corps of Discovery.
In 1972, the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge was established as a 35,000-acre wildlife and natural preserve area, named in honor of the famed Pacific Northwest explorers and their historic 1804-1806 journey. The Refuge was intended as a means of preserving the area’s fish, waterfowl, and other wildlife within its estuarine wetland ecosystem. In 2010, the Refuge partnered with the Julia Butler Hansen Refuge for Columbian White-Tailed Deer to create a Comprehensive Conservation Plan for further long-term management of the area’s wildlife and tourism.
Attractions and Activities
Today, the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge encompasses more than 35,000 acres of bars, riverine islands, mud flats, and tidal marshes along the Columbia River estuary, located along a 27-mile stretch reaching as far inland as the shores of Skamakowa, Washington. As the largest marsh area in western Oregon, the Refuge provides a habitat and wintering area for a large number of waterfowl species during peak migration season, along with a wide variety of fish, birds of prey, and other species. The Refuge’s habitat has remained largely unchanged since Lewis and Clark’s journey 200 years ago and are only accessible to the public by boat or kayak.
The area is best known as a major stopover destination for a variety of migratory waterfowl species on their northern migration route, reaching a peak population of more than 150,000 birds during the months of February and March. More than 50,000 ducks can be found in the area during migration season, along with over 5,000 Canadian geese and 1,000 tundra swans. Other notable waterfowl species include Caspian terns, gulls, herons, peregrine falcons, and cormorants. The Cathlamet Bay area’s cottonwood, spruce, and willow trees are also home to a significant bald eagle population, including a substantial wintering population.
The area’s estuarine wetland ecosystem is also home to a wide variety of mammal species, including raccoons, beavers, opossums, weasels, muskrats, coyotes, and Columbian white tailed-deer. River otters may be found in the area’s waterways, along with coho, chum, and Chinook salmon. Reptile and amphibian species such as northwestern salamanders and red-legged frogs are also common. A complete list of the area’s species may be found at the Burke Museum at the University of Washington.
Though the islands of the Refuge are only accessible via watercraft, many outdoor activities are available to those visiting the island, including kayaking and canoeing opportunities along the Lower Columbia River Water Trail, which spans from the Bonneville Dam and the river’s mouth at the Pacific Ocean. Boat launch facilities are offered at Skamokawa and at Oregon’s Aldrich Point and John Day Point. Quiet crafts such as kayaks and canoes are preferred so as not to startle wildlife, and use of binoculars, guidebooks, and telephoto lenses is encouraged. As the area’s waters as subject to large tidal swings, visitors should be advised that navigation may be challenging at times and caution should be exercised.
All sport fishing within the Refuge is regulated by the State of Oregon, and as such, all visitors wishing to fish or hunt on the premises need to possess a valid Oregon hunting license, Oregon State Waterfowl Validation, or Federal Duck Stamp. Hiking is permitted within the Refuge’s islands, though ATVs, bicycles, and motorbikes are not allowed. Camping is not allowed within the Refuge, though local campsites are offered in Skamokawa.
The Refuge’s islands and waterways are open daily from dawn through dusk, with tourist information available at the Refuge’s office on Washington’s State Highway 4. Though no field trip opportunities for students are offered directly at the Refuge due to accessibility concerns, Refuge staff may be booked for in-classroom learning opportunities by contacting the offices directly via phone or email. Information about current volunteer opportunities, including biological survey work, may also be obtained through the Refuge’s offices.
46 Steamboat Slough Rd, Cathlamet, WA 98612, Phone: 360-795-3915
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