Carole Terwilliger Meyers — a travel writer colleague of mine — recently took her slow walker mom up to the Oregon coast for a little mother-daughter quality time. Upon her return she wrote to tell me of her experience, and then gave me permission to repost her report here. She’s also posted a good accessible lodging suggestion on her own blog, in case you’re also planning a trip up there.
So without further adieu — here’s Carole!When I visited the Oregon coast with my 90-year-old mother recently, I thought she wouldn’t mind if we had to cut the trip short and skip the aquarium. I thought wrong. She later told me, “That was the nicest place. I liked where you could see the little fish swimming around up close, especially the little horse fish.”
When we arrived, after parking in a very convenient handicapped space right out front, I signed in to use a wheelchair I had reserved for her (no fee). This was her first time using one in a public facility, though she has found them to be very helpful in maneuvering airports.
So after a quick tutoring on the minimal controls, off she rode. I pushed, which was a snap until we hit the gravel pathway leading slightly uphill to the seal feeding. That took some effort on my part, and also it required the assistance of an aquarium helper to secure her a spot close enough to a window to see anything. In addition to having mobility problems, my mother suffers from macular degeneration, so she needs to be just so in order to see anything.
At one point, though, she got frustrated and wanted to get out of the chair, and I had to discourage her because it just wasn’t a good spot to attempt that, what with all the people crowded around her. We decided to skip the other exhibits that required pushing at a slant on the gravel (this included the sea otters and the sharks), but we did visit the net-enclosed aviary populated with swimming birds, including impossibly darling tufted puffins.
Fortunately, she can walk enough to get out of the chair to use the restroom, which makes traveling with her a little easier, though all restrooms here are wheelchair accessible.
Inside exhibits are on an even keel and much easier for the pusher. Here we observed electric-yellow jellyfish, red-bellied piranhas, and orange sea plumes. We also literally ran into another older gentlemen who greeted my mom with a big smile and a wave of his cane.
She smiled back but had left her cane in the car.
If You Go
Oregon Coast Aquarium