From celebrating our 15-year anniversary, to making history with having the first shark ray to breed under professional animal care, to reaching the 11 million visitors, 2014 has been full of excitement, milestones and achievements for Newport Aquarium. As the year comes to an end, we take a moment to look back at the top moments at Newport Aquarium from the past 365 days. Here is our top-10 list in chronological order.
Sweet Pea Makes History (Jan. 24)
Sweet Pea, the first documented shark ray to breed in a controlled environment, gave birth to seven pups on Jan. 24.
Turtle Canyon opens (March 22)
Featuring a diverse collection of more than 14 species spanning three continents, highlighted by a 650-pound Galapagos tortoise named Bravo, Turtle Canyon opened to the public March 22.
Newport Aquarium Celebrates 15-year Anniversary (May 15)
Dignitaries, politicians and business leaders flocked to Northern Kentucky on May 15 to celebrate Newport Aquarium’s 15-year anniversary as a leading attraction in the Greater Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky region.
King penguin chicks hatch (May 24)
Two king penguin chicks, later named by Facebook voters Mario and Luigi, hatched inside the Kroger Penguin Palooza exhibit during Memorial Day weekend. The two chicks, which are not of relation, simultaneously began to pip the evening of May 23 before fully hatching the morning of May 24. The newborns shared an April 4 egg-laying date.
White Alligators return (July 17)
Albino American alligators Snowball and Snowflake, two of less than 100 known white alligators in the world, returned to Newport Aquarium on July 17. The white alligators made the Gator Alley exhibit their new permanent home.
Shark Wall unveil (Aug. 14)
In celebration of Shark Week, Newport Aquarium unveiled on Aug. 14 the 35-foot-long sand tiger shark to highlight the newly completed #SharkWall mural. A 40’x50’ tarp covering the sand tiger shark dropped following a short countdown by Newport Aquarium employees, officially unveiling the completion of the #SharkWall to the tri-state area.
NASCAR driver Brendan Gaughan visits Newport Aquarium (Sept. 8)
Brendan Gaughan, NASCAR Nationwide Series driver of the No. 62 South Point Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet and certified SCUBA divemaster, delivered an educational message about teamwork to 100 third-grade students from Crossroads Elementary School (Cold Spring, Ky.). Gaughan’s speech occurred as he dove inside the Surrounded by Sharks exhibit. Gaughan went onto win the the VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300. at the Kentucky Speedway 12 days later.
Tilly the sea turtle release (Nov. 5)
After being fostered at Newport Aquarium for a year, a 14-month-old loggerhead sea turtle named Tilly was released into the Atlantic Ocean on Nov. 5. Her return to the coastal shores of North Carolina was part of Newport Aquarium’s participation in the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission’s Sea Turtle Project.
Lauren Hill tours Newport Aquarium (Dec. 14)
Lauren Hill, the celebrated 19-year-old college basketball player with brain cancer, and her family took a private tour of Newport Aquarium on Dec. 14. The Cure Starts Now Foundation arranged the event after a trip to Newport Aquarium was among the events on a family activity to-do list the Hill family submitted to the nonprofit organization.
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.
One Aquarium Way | Newport, KY 41071 | 859-261-7444