The parklike 500-acre campus of www.oregonstate.edu ), an 1868 land-grant institution, is the major hub of activity in town, with a slew of eateries, bookstores, and craft boutiques on its periphery. Cultural activities on campus include lectures, concerts, theater productions, films, and art exhibits. Many are free and open to the public.
Visit Corvallis  from the end of February through mid-March and you can watch ewes giving birth in the lambing barns at the university’s Sheep Center (7565 NW Oak Creek Dr., 541/737-4854, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. daily). To get to the center from downtown Corvallis, head west on Harrison Boulevard to the 53rd Street intersection. Continue west through the intersection on NW Oak Creek Drive (a.k.a. Walnut St.). A sign after 1.8 miles will indicate the road to the center; this one-lane road has turnouts allowing you to yield to oncoming traffic.
While the notion of one of these fleecy specimens on a dinner plate might seem akin to eating Bambi, this facility’s research has helped establish Oregon lamb as a gourmet product. Thanks to a diet of nutritious grasses indigenous to Northwest soils, Oregon lambs are larger and richer in flavor than their better-publicized New Zealand counterparts. The barns are open every day during daylight hours. While there are no formal guides, student staffers and informational fliers will help answer questions. The sight of a newborn standing and walking a few minutes after birth is amazing to first-time visitors.
The university also maintains 11,500 acres of woodlands, notably McDonald Experimental Forest and Peavy Arboretum, accessible 8 miles north of Corvallis  on Route 99W, which feature hiking trails as well as the chance to see the rare Fender’s blue butterfly. The species had been thought extinct for 50 years until a habitat was discovered here in 1990. This ecosystem serves primarily as a living laboratory for the university’s Forestry Department.