Sea Lion Caves celebrate 80 years with 25 cent admission Saturday

Sea Lion Caves celebrate 80 years with 25 cent admission Saturday
Historic photos of the Sea Lion Caves courtesy Rick Reece.

FLORENCE, Ore. - When the Sea Lion Caves opened in 1933, Highway 101 wasn't paved yet - and patrons could access the wooden staircase down the cliff for 25 cents.

On Saturday, the Sea Lion Caves celebrate 80 years with Founders Day. Festivities at the Oregon Coast landmark include a special program from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Admission will be 25 cents all day, in honor of the original admission price. Full-price adult admission is currently $14.

The caves formed over the course of 25 million years. Considered the world's largest sea cave, the cavern frequented by wild sea lions is as large as a football field and tall as a 12-story building.

The event honors the founders of the attraction. The same families have been involved since the beginning of the Sea Lion Caves attraction, according to Rick Reece, a partner in the operation.

"The Jacobson and Saubert families who currently own Sea Lion Caves have both been involved since the earliest days of the attraction, with the Jacobsons helping purchase the property and start the business, and the Sauberts joining in very shortly after," Reece said.

Reece said the operators consider the caves more than a business.

"Sea Lion Caves takes as its highest priority the preservation and protection of the sea lions and surrounding ecosystem," Reece said, "and the owners are proud to be caretakers of one of the Northwest's iconic natural wonders."

Organized festivities start at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 27, at the Sea Lion Caves on Highway 101 north of Florence. Local dignitaries are expected to attend, and plans call for burying a time capsule to commemorate the anniversary.