Want a better view of the seals and sea lions? We can manage that

NEWPORT, Ore. - If you've ever had to fight the crowd to see the seals and sea lions at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, you'll be pleased to know that things are about to change.

The aquarium has been hard at work on a project that will give visitors much more room to watch the visitor favorites play and swim.

"This project will give more people an intimate experience with our incredible animals and we hope, in turn, create more enthusiasm for them and the marine environments that they inhabit," aquarium spokesperson Erin Paxton told us in an email.

Work began in late January and is expected to be wrapped up in a week. The aquarium will then hold a grand opening weekend April 27-28 to debut the changes.

Not only will the exhibit be more accessible, but the aquarium will be able to add more of the popular feeding and training sessions that folks love. And they said the seals and sea lions will benefit also.

"There are several benefits to the animal husbandry side which will directly impact the animals," Paxton told us. "We repaired approximately 420 square feet of rock work within the exhibit. We also made one of the animal haul-out areas more ergonomic and usable for our seals and sea lions. The project was coupled with some increased holding areas that will allow more opportunity for animal acquisition and possibly breeding in the future."