Nearly 17 months ago, Oregon State University’s Newport campus Hatfield Marine Science Center closed due to the rising COVID-19 pandemic. Now, beginning on August 1, 2021, the HMSC Visitor Center is set to reopen to the public. Featuring live exhibits with many marine and estuaries creatures of the Lincoln County and greater Oregon shoreline, as well as several static exhibits showcasing ongoing OSU research, the Visitor Center is a valuable resource for the entire community. Hatfield Visitor Center staff and volunteers are ready and excited to welcome guests back to the center. The aquatic husbandry team has been preparing and updating the aquaria exhibits, including a sprawling touch pool system, several ecosystem-based exhibits, and the incredible Octopus Lair! Education staff have similarly been working to update signage, dust off the displays and welcome volunteers, many of whom have not been onsite since the shutdown. On July 23rd, a soft opening presented an opportunity for the volunteers to come to the Visitor Center, to familiarize themselves once more with the facility. One exhibit the staff and volunteers alike are thrilled to show the public is the Regional Class Research Vessel Taani simulator, complete with a console of controls, as well as a five-screen, wide angle view of the Yaquina Bay. Operators will be able to choose the direction of their simulation, into or out of the bay, as well as their difficulty level, and will have the opportunity to play through the 5 minute simulation. If you are new to the visitor center, or a returnee, there are a few changes to take note of with this reopening. To promote safety within the facility for all, a reservation system has been put into place, with a limit on how many people are allowed in the building at a given time. A reservation is required to enter the Visitor Center, however, if you arrive and there are open time slots, you may be able to enter by filling out your reservation at the front door. All individuals five years and older will need to pay a $3 entrance fee with their reservation; those under five are free. Each reservation slot is for a one hour visit. For more information, please refer to this article from Oregon State University.