Oregon Tourism - Oregon Vacations and Travel Guide

Sea Lion Caves – Florence, Oregon

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The Coast

Sea Lion Caves – Florence, Oregon

Are you looking for a sight of a lifetime?  Then go visit the Sea Lion Caves just outside of Florence Oregon.  Here you will find the world’s largest Sea Cave according to Guinness.  The cave offers an awe-inspiring, intimate view of Sea Lions in their natural habitat.

You will go down over 200 feet into the world’s largest and most fantastic sea cave.  The cave is the home of  the wild steller sea lion.  It is used primarily in the fall and winter months and is called the hauling area.

The rock ledge below the lookout located just outside the cave is the sea lions home during hte spring and summer, this is were they breed and bear their young.  They live in this area year around.

You will also be able to see sea birds, whales and more.  The Stellar Sea Lions are members of the Otariidae family, also known as the eared seal.  There are nearly 80,000 of them and their lifespan runs approximately 20 years.  When traveling the top speed they reach is 17 mph.  Of the 80,000 and average of 200 (a herd) live in the Sea Lion Caves region.

The Sea Lion is a warm-blooded mammal.  The are pinnipeds (literally, feather footed).  They have finlike members for propulsion and are carnivorous, eating mainly bottom fish such as skate, small sharks, squid and a variety of rock fish.

Sea Lions breed and bear their young in the spring, usually in May and June.  A rare case will have them breeding as late as July or even August.  The females generally bear every otehr year, as half-grown pups (what baby Sea Lions are called) have been seen nursing at their mother retractable dugs well past bearing time.  This Otaridae family pattern may be the reason young sea lions get a better diet and thus have a better chance of survival.

Sea lions pups are about four feet long at birth and weigh from 40 to 50 pounds. They are slate gray in color for about six months, turn dark brown until approximately two years of age, and they begin to assume the lighter tan color of the adult.

The birds in the area are the pigeon guillemot, a migratory bird, usually appears at Sea Lion Caves in early April when its mating season begins. It is similar in species to the murre of the East Coast, and is called “dovekie” by sailors, who often encounter it far out to sea.

The pigeon guillemot is black with white patches and markings on its wings. It has bright orangish-red feet which trail in flight, looking like a scarlet tail. Its voice, a shrill, hissing whistle, sounds much like a canary. The murre family of seabirds is fairly numerous throughout the Northern Hemisphere, but the particular variety found at Sea Lion Caves is rather rare.

You MAY get to see the Killer Whale in this area too.  The killer whale is not a frequent visitor to the Sea Lion Caves’ area; however, it is of considerable interest. This black and white mammal is one of the few sea mammals that attack other warm blooded sea life, and has been seen taking sea lions in the vicinity, although its hunting ground is generally farther north.

In the Pacific Ocean, the male killer whale attains a known length of about 27 feet and weighs an estimated 9 tons. A newborn calf is about eight feet long and weighs about 400 pounds.

Start your visit with a look at the statue “The Family”.   This bronze sculpture was dedicated in September 1982, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Sea Lion Caves.

This unique sculpture is the first stop on your tour of the Sea Lion Caves. The backdrop of Heceta Head Lighthouse creates a truly memorable experience.

The Sea Lion Caves are open every day of the year with the exception of Thanksgiving na dChristmas Day.  It opens at 9 AM and ticket sales close at 5 PM.

Admission is:

  • $12.00 eachAdults:
  • $11.00 eachSeniors:
  • $8.00 eachChildren Ages 3 to 12:
  • FREE! Ages 2 and younger:
  • FREE! Parking:

Prices subject to change without notice.

In order to make the trip, you must go down as well as come back up 37 steps in our building to reach the outside trails. There are about 400 yards of uphill and downhill walking at a grade that ranges from 10% to 20%. You then reach the elevator that takes you down to the cave. There are also 63 steps in the cave in order to access the lighthouse viewpoint.


O.A.R.S. Rogue River Rafting – Merlin, Oregon

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Central

Oregon whitewater rafting since 1969–Based in southern Oregon near Crater Lake National Park and the Rogue River National Forest, O.A.R.S. offers Rogue River rafting near Medford and Ashland perfect for any family-friendly getaway. O.A.R.S. specializes in white water rafting in the Western U.S. and in addition to rafting hosts a variety of gourmet wine tasting, hiking, fishing, and lodge based adventures on the Wild & Scenic Rogue River.

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High Desert Museum – Bend, Oregon

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Central

High Desert Museum – Bend, Oregon

Here is a museum, zoo and discovery center all in one location for you to visit just three miles south of Bend on Highway 97.  It used to be the Western Natural History Institute when it was first opened in 1974 but changed to the present name and exhibits in 1982. 

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The Prehistoric Gardens – Port Orford, Oregon

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The Coast

TThe Prehistoric Gardens - Port Orford, Oregon.jpghe Prehistoric Gardens – Port Orford, Oregon

The valley is alive with the prehistoric monsters of the past in this genuine rain forest in the valley with a mild climate and all of the things that you could want in a rainforest.  Here the area is drenched with rainfall, giant ferns, drippy mosses and the soil, although black is mucky and not good for anything other than the use it now has as a Prehistoric Garden.

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Oregon Shakespeare Festival – Ashland, Oregon

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Southern

Oregon Shakespeare Festival.jpgOregon Shakespeare Festival – Ashland, Oregon

This among the oldest and largest professional theaters in the nation.  The theater presents 8 1/2 months of outstanding performances for the public to enjoy.

The community of Ashland is just 20,000 so you won’t have difficulty getting around and finding where you want to go.

There are backstage tours available for those that want a deeper understanding of how a production is put on.  This tour explores the history, design and technology of repertory theatre.  You must have reservations to attend this tour.  The regular tour is a walking tour and has six flights of stairs you must be able to manage.  Adult tickets are $12, youth (6-17) are $6.  Value season prices are $9 for adults and $6 for youth.  

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Oregon Vortex (House of Mystery) – Gold Hill, Oregon

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Southern

house of mystery.jpgOregon Vortex (House of Mystery)- Gold Hill, Oregon

You think you have everything under control, that you see what you see, feel what you feel and have a pretty good sense of balance.  Wrong.  Just step into the world of visual and perceptual phenomena, a step into the twilight zone! 

The House of Mystery gives you a glimpse of the strange world where the improbable is commonplace. You will experience physical facts that are reversed and what you know to be true isn’t so clear any longer.

You can even capture the experience on film to prove that you really aren’t losing your mind!

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Powell’s City of Books – Portland Oregon

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Portland Metro

Portland’s Top Destination for Booklovers: Powell’s City of Books. If you love books and you’re planning a visit to Portland, Oregon – you’re in for a huge treat. Imagine shopping a bookstore that takes up an entire city block – a bookstore you need a map to navigate! If browsing over a million books in more than 3,500 sections sounds worthwhile, plan to pay a visit to Powell’s City of Books at 1005 W Burnside Street.

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John Day Fossil Beds National Monument – Fossil, Oregon

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Eastern

Start Your Tour of the John Day Fossil Beds at the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center . The John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is one of the most impressive outdoors attractions in the state of Oregon. You can explore trails, go river rafting and even enjoy an afternoon of fishing at the John Day Fossil Beds, but plan to spend at least a few hours learning about the amazing fossils located here,too!

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Oregon Vortex – Gold Hill, Oregon

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Southern

Explore the Mystery of the Oregon Vortex in Gold Hill, Oregon. If you’re planning a trip to Gold Country in Southern Oregon, take the opportunity to visit one of the area’s most famous and intriguing attractions. The Oregon Vortex and the House of Mystery in Gold Hill are a top destination for anyone interested in mysteries of the earth and unexplained phenomena. The Oregon Vortex is also a great place to relax and have fun being surprised at what you discover.

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International Museum of Carousel Art – Hood River, Oregon

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Mount Hood - The Gorge

The Carousel Museum in Hood River is closed.  There are hopes that it will be reopened in Dee but there is no certain timeline for this.

Discover a Magical Attraction in Hood River: The International Museum of Carousel Art. If you’re traveling in northwest Oregon and you happen to be a fan of carousels, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to view the world’s largest collection of antique carousel animals and carousel art. Travel from Portland east on I-84 about 70 miles and you’ll come to Hood River. More than 150 carousel animals are exhibited at the International Museum of Carousel Art here.

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