Making Holiday Memories at Newport Aquarium

by Madison Wallace, Newport Aquarium Public Relations Aide

Walking through the Water Wonderland with Scuba Santa, it’s impossible not to feel like a kid again. At Newport Aquarium, we invite you to experience the holidays under the sea in a brand new way.

For more than 10 years, Scuba Santa has been delighting the greater Cincinnati area, and now the entire aquarium is joining in the holiday cheer.

This year was Sophia’s first time meeting Scuba Santa. Five years old, she was filled with nervous anticipation as she waited in line to see the big man himself.

She had been drawn to Shark Ray Bay by the sound of Scuba Santa’s elves singing Jingle Bells and laughing happily, but now that she was here, it all seemed a little bit overwhelming. As she got closer to the front of the line, something distracted her: bubbles were falling from the ceiling! Catching and popping bubbles, she almost didn’t realize it was her turn.

Although Sophia wasn’t quite sure what she wanted when Scuba Santa asked, there was a place for her to write down her Christmas wish on a bubble near the Penguin Palooza.

“I’m better reached by magic bubble, anyway,” said Scuba Santa with a smile. “Just tell Mighty Mike I said ‘hello’, okay?”

Kids can tell Scuba Santa what they'd like from Christmas

Kids of all ages  can tell Scuba Santa what they’d like for Christmas in Shark Ray Bay theater. (file photo)

Meeting Scuba Santa was most certainly one of her favorite holiday memories. And it’s one she will probably repeat every year.

Making fantastic memories and new traditions is easy with Newport Aquarium’s holiday celebration. With festive, holiday-decorated exhibits, families of all ages are able to experience Christmas, while at the same time exploring the ocean.

Decorated galleries include Shark Ray Bay featuring Scuba Santa, Bizarre and Beautiful Gallery, Gator Alley, and Penguin Palooza.

The first exhibit you’ll encounter is the Bizarre and Beautiful Gallery. Featuring hundreds of lights twinkling from above as beautiful sea creatures weave their way through, it’s impossible to not feel wonder at the strange creatures in this beautiful setting.

Holiday lights and festive fish decorate the Bizarre and Beautiful Gallery during Water Wonderland with Scuba Santa.

Holiday lights and festive fish decorate the Bizarre and Beautiful Gallery during Water Wonderland with Scuba Santa.

Gator Alley is home to Mighty Mike, the largest Alligator outside of Florida. After warmly welcoming Snowball and Snowflake, the white gators, in 2013, he generously agreed to share his home with bright, colorful lights and some mischievous reindeer.

Penguin Palooza captures the excitement of Christmas, with penguins flitting in and out of the water and playing with snowmen, while children have the opportunity to write letters on magic bubbles to Scuba Santa.

From chasing and playing with the bubbles filling the front lobby, to meeting Scuba Santa and exploring Newport Aquarium’s underwater celebration, Water Wonderland with Scuba Santa is an experience the whole family will enjoy. Plus, you can experience the offering of the aquarium’s more than 10,000 animals.

Scuba Santa greets kids while diving in the Surrounded by Sharks exhibit.

Scuba Santa greets kids while diving in the aquarium’s 385,000 gallon  Surrounded by Sharks exhibit, the home of nearly two dozen sharks.

This Christmas, combine the classic traditions of meeting Santa Claus and listening to beloved Christmas music with the magic of the holidays under the sea and connecting with your family and friends.

For more information on Newport Aquarium, or to purchase tickets, visit or call toll free 800-406-FISH (3474). Connect with Newport Aquarium on Facebook and Twitter, or subscribe to its blog, for the most up-to-date news on Newport Aquarium.


Newport Aquarium has showcased thousands of animals from around the world in a million gallons of water since May 15, 1999. Named one of the best aquariums in the U.S. by Travel Channel and USA Today, 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 located across the Ohio River from downtown Cincinnati at Newport on the Levee.

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One Aquarium Way | Newport, KY 41071 | 859-261-7444

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