About newportaquarium

Newport Aquarium was established in 1999. It is home to more than 10,000 aquatic animals representing some 600 species housed in tanks totally a million gallons in capacity. www.newportaquarium.com

National Zoo Keeper Week Spotlight: Area Supervisor Dan Hagley

National Zoo Keeper Week is celebrated during the third week of July each year. As the need to protect and preserve our wildlife and vanishing habitats increases, zoo keeper’s roles as educators and wildlife ambassadors become more essential. Throughout this week, Newport Aquarium will highlight members of our dedicated animal husbandry staff.

Area Supervisor Dan Hagley (center left) oversees multiple exhibits at Newport Aquarium.

Area Supervisor Dan Hagley (center left) oversees multiple exhibits at Newport Aquarium.

Name: Dan Hagley

Title: Area Supervisor

Exhibit(s) in which you work: World Rivers Gallery 9 exhibits, Paddle fish exhibit, Living coral exhibit, Piranha exhibit, and the coral propagation system.

Month and Year in which you began working at NAq? August 2003

What has been the most rewarding experience while working at NAq? Watching guests walk though in amazement as they look at the exhibits.

What’s your favorite part of your job? Every time I have the opportunity to re-do an exhibit and create something.

How and when did you decide to get into the zookeeper field? I always knew I wanted to work with animals specifically with fish and in college after Freshman year I decided.

Zookeeper WEEK.Logo 2006 V

About the American Association of Zoo Keepers
The mission of The American Association of Zoo Keepers is to advance excellence in the animal keeping profession, foster effective communication beneficial to animal care, support deserving conservation projects, and promote the preservation of our natural resources and animal life.

National Zoo Keeper Week Spotlight: Animal Ambassador Ric Urban

National Zoo Keeper Week is celebrated during the third week of July each year. As the need to protect and preserve our wildlife and vanishing habitats increases, zoo keeper’s roles as educators and wildlife ambassadors become more essential. Throughout this week, Newport Aquarium will highlight members of our dedicated animal husbandry staff.

Ric Urban behind the scenes of the Gator Alley exhibit with Mighty Mike.

Ric Urban behind the scenes of the Gator Alley exhibit with Mighty Mike.

Name: Ric Urban

Title: Newport Aquarium Animal Ambassador and Manager of Animal Acquisitions/Dispositions, Exhibit Design & Development and Compliance

Month and Year in which you began working at NAq? February 2004.

What is your favorite animal at Newport Aquarium? African Penguins.

What has been your most rewarding experience while working at NAq? Introducing “Paula the Penguin’ to a 95-year-old grandmother. She had tears in her eyes after touching the penguin, saying that was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. As an Ambassador for Newport Aquarium, I have had many rewarding experiences connecting people with wildlife.

What’s your favorite part of your job? Designing exhibits and bringing animals to the Newport Aquarium that “wow” the guests.

How and when did you decide to get into the zookeeper field? 1981, when I joined the Sunset Zoo as a volunteer educator. After that I was hooked and the rest is history.

Zookeeper WEEK.Logo 2006 V

About the American Association of Zoo Keepers
The mission of The American Association of Zoo Keepers is to advance excellence in the animal keeping profession, foster effective communication beneficial to animal care, support deserving conservation projects, and promote the preservation of our natural resources and animal life.

They grow up so fast: King penguin chicks nearing the same height as their parents

By Derek White, Newport Aquarium PR Aide

King penguin chick

NEWPORT, Ky. – From their hatchings to now, it’s hard to believe how much Newport Aquarium’s king penguin chicks, Mario and Luigi, have grown in just eight weeks and five days.

If you can spot them on any given day in the Kroger Penguin Palooza exhibit, you will notice they are nearly as tall as the adult king penguins.

You will also notice the chicks are covered in a dark brown colored fur with no signs of the species’ trademark tuxedo.

The adolescent king penguins normally suits such colors in their younger age before growing to full adult status.

If this is confusing, don’t worry because you’re not alone. In fact when king penguins we’re first discovered in the wild, explorers were confused as well and even believed them to be a different species, donning them the name, “wooly penguin.”

King penguin chick 2

Of course, upon further observation and as the penguins aged, the fur diminished and the familiar tuxedo began to appear just as they will here soon at Newport Aquarium. The quick growth is in part to how much they’re being fed, which is normal for their age.

The parents are still feeding the chicks by beak and are making sure they’re staying well fed. As of right now the king penguin chicks are just about the size of a full adult and weight approximately eight pounds each. Stay tuned as we continue to keep you updated on our newest additions to our penguin family here at Newport Aquarium.

National Zoo Keeper Week Spotlight: Husbandry Aide Becky Echtenkamp

National Zoo Keeper Week is celebrated during the third week of July each year. As the need to protect and preserve our wildlife and vanishing habitats increases, zoo keeper’s roles as educators and wildlife ambassadors become more essential. Throughout this week, Newport Aquarium will highlight members of our dedicated animal husbandry staff.

Husbandry Aide Becky Echtenkamp works with multiple animals through several exhibits at Newport Aquarium.

Husbandry Aide Becky Echtenkamp works with multiple animals through several exhibits at Newport Aquarium.

Name: Becky Echtenkamp

Title: Husbandry Aide

Exhibit(s) in which you work: Half of Frog Bog, Live Foods and coverage on all “Rainforest” exhibits (i.e. Turtle Canyon, Croc Town, Cold Penguin, Warm Penguin, etc.).

Month and Year in which you began working at NAq: May 2012.

What is your favorite animal at Newport Aquarium? Simon the African Penguin.

What has been the most rewarding experience while working at NAq? Being exposed to new things/animals/techniques.

What’s your favorite part of your job? The people and their positive outlooks.

How and when did you decide to get into the zookeeper field? I have wanted to work with animals since I was very little (less than 5) and I went to school specifically to do this.

Zookeeper WEEK.Logo 2006 V

About the American Association of Zoo Keepers
The mission of The American Association of Zoo Keepers is to advance excellence in the animal keeping profession, foster effective communication beneficial to animal care, support deserving conservation projects, and promote the preservation of our natural resources and animal life.

National Zoo Keeper Week Spotlight: Water Quality Specialist Cameo VonStrohe

National Zoo Keeper Week is celebrated during the third week of July each year. As the need to protect and preserve our wildlife and vanishing habitats increases, zoo keeper’s roles as educators and wildlife ambassadors become more essential. Throughout this week, Newport Aquarium will highlight members of our dedicated animal husbandry staff.

Water Quality Specialist Cameo VonStrohe is responsible for replicating the water of the animals at Newport Aquarium's natural environment.

Water Quality Specialist Cameo VonStrohe is responsible for replicating the water of the animals at Newport Aquarium’s natural environment.

Name: Cameo VonStrohe

Title: Water Quality Specialist

Exhibit(s) in which you work: No exhibits, just the dihydrogen monoxide!

Month and Year in which you began working at NAq? May 2001.

What is your favorite animal at Newport Aquarium? Cownose rays & garden eels!

What has been the most rewarding experience while working at NAq? Playing “Mother Nature” with the water to keep the water as close to the animals’ natural environment as possible.

What’s your favorite part of your job? Atomic absorption spectrophotometer and superb co-workers.

How and when did you decide to get into the zookeeper field? A visit to an aquarium while vacationing in Virginia Beach during high school.

Zookeeper WEEK.Logo 2006 V

About the American Association of Zoo Keepers
The mission of The American Association of Zoo Keepers is to advance excellence in the animal keeping profession, foster effective communication beneficial to animal care, support deserving conservation projects, and promote the preservation of our natural resources and animal life.

National Zoo Keeper Week Spotlight: Senior Aquatic Biologist Crystal Phillips

National Zoo Keeper Week is celebrated during the third week of July each year. As the need to protect and preserve our wildlife and vanishing habitats increases, zoo keeper’s roles as educators and wildlife ambassadors become more essential. Throughout this week, Newport Aquarium will highlight members of our dedicated animal husbandry staff.

Before Newport Aquarium opened in May 1999, Sr. Biologist Crystal Phillips traveled to Adventure World near Shirahama, Japan to bring king penguins to Northern Kentucky.

Before Newport Aquarium opened in May 1999, Sr. Biologist Crystal Phillips traveled to Adventure World near Shirahama, Japan to bring king penguins to Northern Kentucky. (Source: The Cincinnati Enquirer)

Title: Senior Aquatic Biologist

Exhibits/Areas of Responsibility: Parts of Frog Bog; Aquatic/terrestrial quarantine; and records.

Month and Year in which you began working at NAq? November 1998

What is your favorite animal at Newport Aquarium? Penguins

What has been the most rewarding experience while working at NAq? Being given the opportunity to work with such a diverse collection of species.

What’s your favorite part of your job? Seeing the animals thrive, and the guests who enjoy connecting with the animals. Also sharing with guests information about the animals and why they are important.

How and when did you decide to get into the zookeeper field? Quite young – elementary school – at least for biology. It was narrowed down to zookeeping in college.

Zookeeper WEEK.Logo 2006 V

About the American Association of Zoo Keepers
The mission of The American Association of Zoo Keepers is to advance excellence in the animal keeping profession, foster effective communication beneficial to animal care, support deserving conservation projects, and promote the preservation of our natural resources and animal life.

National Zoo Keeper Week Spotlight: Zoological Operations Manager Jeff Gibula

National Zoo Keeper Week is celebrated during the third week of July each year. As the need to protect and preserve our wildlife and vanishing habitats increases, zoo keeper’s roles as educators and wildlife ambassadors become more essential. Throughout this week, Newport Aquarium will highlight members of our dedicated animal husbandry staff.

Jeff Gibula has worked at Newport Aquarium since before it opened in 1999.

Jeff Gibula has worked at Newport Aquarium since before it opened in 1999.

Title: Zoological Operations Manager

Exhibit(s) in which you work: ALL

Month and Year in which you began working at NAq? January 1999

What is your favorite animal at Newport Aquarium? Sandtiger Sharks

What has been the most rewarding experience while working at NAq? The “light bulb” moment…the very second that something we created is both in harmony for the animals and inspires, excites / enlightens any of guests. Hopefully creating a connection, a respect for all wildlife and wild places when they are outside of the aquarium.

What’s your favorite part of your job? Working with exotic animals from around the world.

How and when did you decide to get into the zookeeper field? I was born in Baltimore, Md. and at a young age started visiting the National Aquarium in Baltimore (NAIB). I believe my first time was when I was 4 years old. I was inspired and in awe of the facility and told my father that I was going to work their one day. Less than 20 years later I fulfilled that promise and was working at NAIB.

Zookeeper WEEK.Logo 2006 V

About the American Association of Zoo Keepers
The mission of The American Association of Zoo Keepers is to advance excellence in the animal keeping profession, foster effective communication beneficial to animal care, support deserving conservation projects, and promote the preservation of our natural resources and animal life.

Rare White Alligators to Return to Newport Aquarium

Snowball and Snowflake set to become Mighty Mike’s new neighbors

WhiteGators_Bayou450

NEWPORT, Ky. – There will be guaranteed snow in Northern Kentucky this summer as albino American alligators Snowball and Snowflake are set to return to Newport Aquarium on Thursday, July 17.

The white alligators will make their new permanent home at the Gator Alley exhibit, which features one of the most distinct collections of alligators in the country.

Snowball (left) and Snowflake.

Snowball (left) and Snowflake.

Snowball and Snowflake are two of less than 100 known white alligators in the world. Due to a lack of camouflage and sensitivity to UV rays, white alligators have a low survival rate in the wild.

Their new neighbor, Mighty Mike, is the largest American alligator in the United States outside the state of Florida at 14 feet in length and 800 pounds.

Mighty Mike

Mighty Mike

“We are thrilled to provide our guests the opportunity to see a variety of truly unique crocodilians species all in one exhibit,” said Chris Pierson, husbandry operations director at Newport Aquarium. “Snowball and Snowflake are truly wondrous creatures. Pairing them side by side with Mighty Mike really makes for a special exhibit that you can’t find anywhere else but at Newport Aquarium.”

Each white gator measures roughly six feet in length, with the female Snowflake weighing approximately 65 pounds and the male Snowball approaching 85 pounds.

Snowball and Snowflake made their Newport Aquarium debut in November 2013 at what was then known as the Rainforest exhibit.

At the end of February, the two white alligators were moved off exhibit as Newport Aquarium prepped to convert the Rainforest into the new Turtle Canyon exhibit that opened in March.

For more information on Newport Aquarium, visit NewportAquarium.com or call toll free 800-406-FISH (3474).

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Newport Aquarium, the No. 1 aquarium in the country according to USA Today’s 10Best.com, has showcased thousands of animals from around the world in a million gallons of water since 1999. Named a top U.S. aquarium by US City Traveler in 2014 and by Travel Channel in 2013, Newport Aquarium is a Herschend Family Entertainment company and an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Newport Aquarium is open to the public 365 days a year and is located across the Ohio River from downtown Cincinnati at Newport on the Levee.

Find us on: Facebook.com/NewportAquarium | Twitter: @NewportAquarium

One Aquarium Way | Newport, KY 41071 | 859-261-7444
www.newportaquarium.com

U.S. Airman Reunites With Family at Newport Aquarium

By Derek White, Newport Aquarium PR Aide

NEWPORT, Ky. — It was a heartfelt day at Newport Aquarium as U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Timothy Kisner returned home from his post more than 6,500 miles away in Korea to see his wife Whitney and surprise his 6-year-old stepson Logan.

The surprise happened during one of the aquarium’s dive shows done daily throughout the week. Logan and family were invited up front for what Logan was told to be a special view of the Shark Ray Bay theater and to take photos for his dad, who Logan believed to still be overseas.

Once Logan’s attention was directed toward the tank, the aquarium’s dive show cast member directed the audience to say hello to a special friend straight from Korea. As Sgt. Kisner entered to Logan’s and the full audience’s surprise, Logan quickly ran to his father’s embrace while those who witnessed applauded for the returning Airman and his family.

Kisner, who has been in Korea for 7 months, is just glad to be home.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” said Sgt. Kisner as he held Logan tight in his arms. “Seeing the smile on his face is worth it.”

Whitney, wife of Sgt. Kisner admits the idea to surprise Logan in this way was planned because it’s difficult to surprise him.

Logan will be the first to tell you how surprised he was and he admits he hadn’t seen his stepfather, “for a long time.”

When asked why they choose Newport Aquarium for their surprise, Sgt. Kisner said that it’s one of Logan’s favorite places to go.

Kisner will be spending time with family for the next few days before returning to his post in Korea for five more months of service.

Rosalind Tallmadge leading ArtWorks’ efforts on Newport Aquarium’s #SharkWall

By Derek White, Newport Aquarium PR Aide

Roz Tallmadge

NEWPORT, Ky. — To someone without artistic experience, the thought of designing a 300-foot mural in possibly the most viral spot on the Northern Kentucky riverside would be frightening.

However, if you ask Rosalind Tallmadge, the designer and lead artist of the ArtWorks Cincinnati project known as #SharkWall currently underway at Newport Aquarium; she would tell you that it’s exciting.

Tallmadge, who is currently in her eighth summer in collaboration with ArtWorks Cincinnati, which orchestrates urban art pieces all over Greater Cincinnati.

Tallmadge and her team of 12 apprentices are working feverishly on the mural that is projecting to be done by the second week of August. She received support from her apprentices and teaching assistants, such as Jenny Ustick, who Tallmadge lovingly calls her “partner in crime” in all things art.

“(Jenny) is just amazing, supportive, encouraging, diplomatic and an intelligent women and she’s also just a great teacher,” said Tallmadge. “I’ve learned so much from working with her.”

Together this is the third project they have worked on together, each mural getting larger then the last, with #SharkWall being the largest according to Tallmadge.

DSC_2593

With there being so many people working on the project at once, Tallmadge would tell you that working together is the key.

“It’s definitely a team activity. No one has their own particular area they are working on. We try to just switch things up,” said Tallmadge, who added the team has really made a big difference to help keep progress moving quick.

“We’re on task,” said Tallmadge. “This is the best team of apprentices I’ve ever had. They have a really strong work ethic and they take initiative and they are very skilled. I’m really lucky on this project.”

Tallmadge cites ArtWorks as the program that has really made things happen for the #SharkWall. She also cites ArtWorks as a great program for aspiring artists. Not only are the painting experiences at ArtWorks invaluable, the organization also has other programs to help young artists. Tallmadge knows well what they can do for artist apprentices; she has worked off and on with the organization since 2005 as a student, assistant and teacher.

“It’s a really great professional opportunity and ArtWorks teaches resume and portfolio building in workshops for students, ” said Tallmadge, citing that as a perk of being a part of ArtWorks.

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“We also teach them a lot of different techniques and processes,” said Tallmadge. “They also have interaction with publicity and visitors.”

Tallmadge also says that a great thing about ArtWorks is that the organization helps artists break the mold of what most think the stereotypical artists is to society.

“Artists aren’t just like this inspired romantic figure working alone; it’s more about collaboration and putting yourself out there, being professional and learning you can have a career in the arts; that it’s realistic.”