Yaquina Bay Sea Monster.

Nessie, the Yaquina Bay Monster

Field review by the editors.

Newport, Oregon

The Yaquina Bay Monster statue is actually a model of a real sea horror, Kronosaurus queenslandicus, a pliosaur that swam the Early Cretaceous seas over what is now Australia. It had a 12-foot-long head studded with nine-inch-long teeth. Although it supposedly became extinct millions of years ago, the Yaquina Bay News reported in 1935 that two creatures, fitting the description of a Kronosaurus, had been seen just off the coast, terrifying the local sea lions.

That's why this 25-foot-long monster is here. It was originally part of a traveling indoor exhibit of prehistoric animals, then in 1992 it arrived in Newport's Aquarium Village with an attraction named Zoo-seum. It could move its flippers and eyes, open and close its toothy jaws, and roar. When the owner defaulted on his lease and skipped town, he left the creature behind.

John Tharp, the Aquarium Village facilities manager, had heard about the Yaquina Bay Monster and decided that the Kronosaurus was too relevant to throw away. He christened it "Nessie," disabled its mechanical parts, mounted it as an outdoor display, and made up a fake story about it being caught off of Newport in 1992. That story has had unfortunate consequences: some people dismiss the monster as completely bogus -- not knowing about the 1935 sighting -- while others really believe it was caught in 1992.

Nessie was never meant to be displayed outdoors, and in 2009 the Oregon Coast Today quoted John Tharp saying that, "She only has a couple more years left, we think." But Nessie was tough, and apparently had a lot of fans in Newport. She stood until 2015, was removed, underwent a two-year restoration, and was put back in her outdoor spot in 2017.

Nessie, the Yaquina Bay Monster

3101 SE Ferry Slip Rd, Newport, OR
In Aquarium Village, just south of the bridge off of US 101. Turn east onto 32nd St., then left onto Ferry Slip Rd. On the right.
RA Rates:
Major Fun
Save to My Sights

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Aquarium VillageAquarium Village, Newport, OR - < 1 mi.
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In the region:
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