Celebrate #SharkSummer and Meet a Baby Shark at Newport Aquarium

NEWPORT, Ky. — Just when you thought you got the “Baby Shark” song out of your head, it’s time to celebrate Shark Summer at Newport Aquarium, with a brand new baby shark! The Shark Capital of the Midwest is kicking off the summer season and Memorial Day weekend with free kid’s admission and a fintastic event celebrating sharks! During #SharkSummer, guests will get the opportunity to journey through the aquarium, discovering fun shark facts and shark related exhibits around every corner. They’ll even get to touch sharks in Shark Central.   Plus, Sundays through Fridays, one kid (ages 2-12) gets in free after 4 p.m. with the purchase of a full-priced adult ticket. This offer is available for a very limited time only from May 26 to July 21 and must be purchased online at NewportAquarium.com.

SharkSummer_BabyShark_1080New Baby Shark
Newport Aquarium is excited to announce a baby epaulette shark, born at Newport Aquarium, will be on exhibit for the first time ever during Shark Summer! Guests will also get a chance to help name the baby shark this summer. Once grown, the epaulette shark will follow in her parents’ “fin-prints” and become an ambassador for her species through the WAVE Foundation’s Wave on Wheels community outreach efforts. In the meantime, guests can watch her grow up in her new home inside the Seahorses gallery.

Extended Summer Hours
Just in time for summer, Newport Aquarium is extending its summer hours and will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily between May 25 and August 31.

Two Summers of Fun with an Annual Pass
For a limited time only, guests will get two extra months free when they purchase an Annual Pass.  That’s 14 months of fun and discovery for the price of 12 months, plus exclusive Passholder events, bring a friend free days and additional savings throughout the year. Plus, be the first to know about VIP experiences as Newport Aquarium celebrates its 20th anniversary all year long.02SharkSummerLogoWithSurfBoards_PNG - Copy

#SharkSummer
With extra time and free kid’s admission, guests have the opportunity to visit Newport Aquarium for Shark Summer, which runs May 26 to July 21. See sharks like never before when you cross over the open waters of the 385,000-gallon Surrounded by Sharks exhibit on Shark Bridge. Experience what it feels like to touch five different species in Shark Central. Then, get nose-to-nose with sharks when they swim next to you and above you as you venture through more than 80 feet of acrylic tunnels.

Shark-Infested Activities during #SharkSummer

Shark Nursery – See shark eggs from three different species of sharks. Guests will have the opportunity to see the early stages of life as a baby shark grows in the egg.

Shark Bridge – More than 3 million thrill-seekers have dared to cross Shark Bridge! Included with admission, Shark Bridge is a 75-foot-long rope bridge suspended just inches above nearly two dozen sharks.

Shark Talks and Dive Shows – Guests catch their first and largest views of shark rays and sharks in Shark Ray Bay Theater. Divers take questions from the audience about the biology and conservation of sharks and other animals found inside the huge habitat.

NPAQ_SharkTunnel

Explore the tunnels, and be Surrounded by Sharks!

Shark Tank Feed – Guests can watch biologists feed the sharks and shark rays from either the Shark Ray Bay Theater, Surrounded by Sharks tunnels or through a biologist’s point-of-view from the Shark Tank Overlook.

NPAQ_SharkCentral_Touch Experience

Guests can touch more than a dozen different sharks in Shark Central.

Touch Sharks – Inside Shark Central, guests have the opportunity to touch more than a dozen kelp forest sharks including Japanese bullhead sharks, Port Jackson, Leopard Catshark and Striped Catshark species. An Animal Experience Specialist teaches guests the proper technique to touch sharks and helps them understand each species in this international collection.

For more information, visit NewportAquarium.com or call 800-406-FISH (3474).

Newport Aquarium Named One of Top Aquariums in the Country

NEWPORT, Ky. — Newport Aquarium was just named one of USA Today’s 10 Best Aquariums in the country. A panel of experts in zoo and family travel nominated the aquarium into the top 20, and thanks to thousands of fans who voted for their favorite, Newport Aquarium came in at #6.Newport-Aquarium_54_990x660

Newport Aquarium is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, with a year full of announcements and new exhibits. The 20th anniversary year kicked off with the opening of Jim Henson’s Splash and Bubbles Reeftown AdventureFreshwater Falls just opened in April, and features dozens of species of plants and animals among 13 tanks. Highlights of the new exhibit include a cross section of a cascading stream and waterfall both bursting with aquatic life. A trip through a tunnel will give nature lovers a look beneath the breaking surface of a Kentucky waterfall at a habitat that often goes unseen.Freshwater Falls Family 2

Aquariums put us face to fin with aquatic life from the world’s oceans, lakes and waterways in a fun and educational setting. The best aquariums also play a vital role in animal conservation by taking part in rescue efforts and advocating for the environmental health of our oceans. Newport Aquarium is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and nominated by a panel of 10Best experts, representing the best in North America for high quality exhibits and visitor interactions.grandparents

To learn more about Freshwater Falls, and to follow more announcements for Newport Aquarium’s 20th Anniversary, visit NewportAquarium.com.

New Freshwater Falls Exhibit Now Open at Newport Aquarium

NEWPORT, Ky. — A new exhibit is now open to the public at Newport Aquarium. Freshwater Falls lets guests take a peek at what lies below the rippling surface of cascading streams and waterfalls around the world. The exhibit includes several species never before seen at Newport Aquarium including a pair of eastern hellbenders, large aquatic salamanders who breathe through pores in their skin. The new exhibit is in dedication to the aquarium’s 20th Anniversary which is being celebrated this year.Freshwater Falls Now Open

Freshwater Falls features dozens of species of plants and animals among 13 tanks. Highlights of the new exhibit include a cross section of a cascading stream and waterfall both bursting with aquatic life. A trip through a tunnel will give nature lovers a look beneath the breaking surface of a Kentucky waterfall at a habitat that often goes unseen.

Cascading Stream:
See into a cross section of a cascading stream through the Congo. Discover animals like the West African lungfish, which walks on four fins and breathes air, and the elephantnose fish that finds food with an electric current in its long nose.

Freshwater Falls

Discover animals like the West African lungfish, which walks on four fins and breathes air, and the elephantnose fish that finds food with an electric current in its long nose.

 

Waterfall Cross Section:
Peer into a cross section of a Central American waterfall, home to a diverse collection of cichlids. These brightly colored fish come in countless sizes and shapes and are known for their social structure and being very attentive parents.

Freshwater Falls Family 2

Beneath the Falls:
Enter the first tunnel of the aquarium and experience what it’s like to be underwater beneath a Kentucky waterfall. See fish like bass, black crappie and perch as you’ve never seen them before amid the turbulent, bubbling waters.

To learn more about Freshwater Falls, and to follow more announcements for Newport Aquarium’s 20th Anniversary, visit NewportAquarium.com.

Freshwater Falls Exhibit Opening at Newport Aquarium in April

NEWPORT, Ky. — As part of its 20th anniversary celebration, Newport Aquarium announced today they will be opening a new exhibit this spring. Freshwater Falls will let guests take a peek at what lies below the rippling surface of cascading streams and waterfalls around the world.FreshwaterFalls_ComingApril2019_640x300

“There’s nothing more soothing than the sound of water cascading down a stream and nothing more invigorating than the roaring rush of a waterfall,” said Eric Rose, Newport Aquarium’s Executive Director. “The movement of the water draws us to these places but the rippling surface often hides the real wonder that lies beneath.”

Freshwater Falls will feature dozens of species of plants and animals among 13 tanks. Highlights of the new exhibit include a cross section of a cascading stream and waterfall both bursting with aquatic life. A trip through a tunnel will give nature lovers a look beneath the breaking surface of a Kentucky waterfall at a habitat that often goes unseen.

NPAQ_FreshwaterFalls2019_CascadingTankRendering

Enter a caption

Cascading Stream:
See into a cross section of a cascading stream through the Congo. Discover animals like the West African lungfish, which walks on four fins and breathes air, and the elephantnose fish that finds food with an electric current in its long nose.

Lungfish_1920x1080

The West African lungfish can breathe air.

ElephantNose_1920x1080

The elephantnose fish has electroreceptors used for finding food and navigation.

 

Waterfall Cross Section:
Peer into a cross section of a Central American waterfall, home to a diverse collection of cichlids. These brightly colored fish come in countless sizes and shapes and are known for their social structure and being very attentive parents.

Beneath the Falls:
Enter the first tunnel of the aquarium and experience what it’s like to be underwater beneath a Kentucky waterfall. See fish like bass, black crappie and perch as you’ve never seen them before amid the turbulent, bubbling waters.

Special Admission Offers:
Through February 24, 2019, all Annual Passes are on sale for just $34.99 when purchased online at NewportAquarium.com. That’s a savings of up to $16. The aquarium is also offering one free child admission with each full price adult through February 28, 2019.

npaq_1kidfree_snb_outdoorposter_2019

 

To learn more about Freshwater Falls, and to follow more announcements for Newport Aquarium’s 20th Anniversary, visit NewportAquarium.com.

 

 

Newport Aquarium Kicks Off 20th Anniversary with Opening of New Exhibit and Free Child Admission Offer

SplashAndBubblesReefTownAdventure_018_640x300

NEWPORT, Ky. — Newport Aquarium began celebrating their 20th Anniversary today with the opening of a new exhibit, Jim Henson’s Splash and Bubbles Reeftown Adventure. Just in time for winter weather, the new area provides an indoor space for kids to play and learn as they explore environments from the popular PBS KIDS series, Splash and Bubbles. The aquarium has also announced that now through February 28, 2019, families can get one free child admission with each full-price adult ticket.

Jim Henson’s Splash and Bubbles Reeftown Adventure lets kids climb and slide through Coral Cove, a three-level play structure. Families can also visit the Kelp Forest, an entirely new area never before available to guests. There they can color their own fishy friends before setting them loose digitally into the animated world of Splash and Bubbles. As they explore and learn about our One Big Ocean and the animals that call it home, kids can also become a Reeftown Ranger, just like in the show.

“As we start our 20th Anniversary year, it’s inspiring to think about the millions of visitors who have built special connections at Newport Aquarium.” said Eric Rose, Newport Aquarium’s Executive Director. “This new experience gives us even more opportunities to help parents teach their little ones that it’s fun to learn about animals and important to protect our oceans.”

Highlights of the new experience include:

Reeftown Adventure:
Just like Splash and Bubbles do on TV, guests will “Catch a current” as they enter this fun new experience on their way to explore and play in Reeftown, Coral Cove, Kelp Forest and other environments from the show.NPAQ_SnBReeftownAdventures_Entrance_1080

 

Reeftown Ranger:
Kids can learn about the importance of ocean conservation through fun hands-on games as they earn their status as an official “Reeftown Ranger.”
NPAQ_SnBReeftownAdventures_ReefftownRangerStation_1080

Kelp Forest:
Parents and kids can color a fish that reflects their own personality. Then, through the magic of technology, they’ll bring their creations to life and watch them swim through the world of Splash and Bubbles, along with popular characters from the show.NPAQ_SnBReeftownAdventures_KelpForest_1080

About Splash and Bubbles:
Splash and Bubbles are the stars of the ocean-themed animated kids’ series of the same name on PBS KIDS. The show encourages children to explore the natural undersea world and features endearing and humorous characters on fun-filled adventures. Splash and Bubbles can be seen on local PBS station, CET. The TV show is co-produced by Herschend Entertainment Studios and the Emmy Award-winning The Jim Henson Company, creators of Sid the Science Kid and Dinosaur Train.

npaq_1kidfree_snb_outdoorposter_20191 Kid Free Offer:
From January 7 to February 28, 2019, Newport Aquarium is offering 1 free child admission with each full-price adult ticket purchased. Advance ticket purchase online is highly recommended to secure your time of entry and is available at NewportAquarium.com. Tickets can also be purchased in advance by calling 800-406-FISH (3474).

To learn more about Jim Henson’s Splash and Bubbles Reeftown Adventure, and to follow more announcements for Newport Aquarium’s 20th Anniversary, visit NewportAquarium.com.

Scuba Santa’s Water Wonderland Celebrates 16 Years at Newport Aquarium

NEWPORT, Ky. — Just as it’s getting cold and icy outside, experience a taste of the tropics inside Newport Aquarium, as Scuba Santa returns for his 16th year. Newport Aquarium invites the public to experience the Cincinnati holiday tradition under the sea Nov. 23 – Dec. 31 at Scuba Santa’s Water Wonderland.NPAQ_ScubaSanta_HR_2015_Steve_Ziegelmeyer-8386-REVISED

Imagine, walking up to the 385,000 gallon Surrounded by Sharks tank, watching sharks swimming all around, and being greeted by Scuba Santa who knows your child’s name. Scuba Santa’s friendly elves also welcome guests to Shark Ray Bay Theater throughout the holiday season. Whether it’s singing along to the “12 Days of Christmas,” dancing playfully in the theater amid colorful holiday lights, or popping bubbles that fall from the ceiling, families are sure to make lasting memories.

“Every year Newport Aquarium transforms into a truly wondrous setting where families can discover the wonder of an undersea holiday celebration,” said Eric Rose, executive director of Newport Aquarium. “It’s the only underwater holiday tradition in Greater Cincinnati, and who wouldn’t want to celebrate the holidays in the tropics? You can at Newport Aquarium!”

The Water Wonderland journey will also take guests through a number of illuminated and holiday-clad galleries, culminating in a truly wondrous experience where families connect and interact with the magic of an undersea holiday celebration:

  • Shark Ray Bay Theater – Guests will be surrounded by lights, bubbles and holiday music as they join Scuba Santa’s elves in song and discover how some of Newport Aquarium’s most iconic animals celebrate holidays under the sea. Children will have the unique opportunity to meet Scuba Santa® one-on-one, as he dives inside the 385,000-gallon Surrounded by Sharks tank, and tell him their holiday wishes.
  • Seahorses: Unbridled Fun – Hundreds of twinkling sea-creature lights will hang from the ceiling of the Seahorses: Unbridled Fun exhibit over some of nature’s most amazing creatures, including pipefish and several different species of seahorses.
  • Stingray Hideaway – Visit the tropical paradise getaway where Scuba Santa goes to relax after the busy holiday season. His elves are already there decorating with festive tropical decor ready to welcome guests to Stingray Hideaway. Plus, guests can interact with and touch two dozen stingrays in the 17,000-gallon stingray touchpool, while enjoying the tropical holiday oasis.
  • Gator Alley – Honky-tonk holiday lighting, music and decorations welcome guests at Gator Alley, the home of Snowball and Snowflake, two of less than 100 rare white alligators in the world.
  • Kroger Penguin Palooza – Children can write their holiday wish on a magic bubble and mail it at Scuba Santa’s Post Office inside Kroger Penguin Palooza, where five species of cold-weather penguins – a total of nearly 50 birds spread their own brand of holiday cheer.

* Scuba Santa® will not be diving on Christmas Day – he will be resting after a busy night traveling to homes all around the world.

Buy3Get1FREE_SnBRA_640x350

Buy 3, Get 1 FREE Annual Pass Sale: In time for the holidays, guests who purchase three Newport Aquarium Annual Passes will receive a fourth Annual Pass FREE. The Annual Pass Holiday Special ends on Dec. 31. Annual Passes are valid for one year from the date of purchase, so guests can use them now to experience Scuba Santa’s Water Wonderland. Passes are also valid into next year, to enjoy all the new surprises coming for Newport Aquarium’s 20th Anniversary.

For more information, visit NewportAquarium.com or call 800-406-FISH (3474).

 

Closing a Door and Opening a Window… With a Beach View!

Farewell Scott Brehob

Newport Aquarium prepares to say so long to one of the longest tenured staff members here. Aquatic Biologist, Scott Brehob has been at the aquarium since the doors opened in the summer of 1999. Scott started out in guest services, selling admission tickets and has advanced through the ranks to become a resident shark expert. Passionate about his work and conservation, now he’s taking his talent to the Gulf Coast where he will continue to be an ambassador for wildlife and wild places.

20180316_140212(0)

“One major thing that I love about working here is educating people about all the amazing animals in our oceans, rivers, and lakes of the world,” Scott said in his Takeover Tuesday post. “I have had the joy of doing this in several different facets. From talking to the guests directly on the front line to caring for the animals and making amazing exhibits as an aquarist.”

Scott became an Aquatic Biologist trainee in 2003. Three short years later, he fulfilled his dream of becoming an official Aquatic Biologist (inspired by the show SeaQuest) and has been inspiring the inner biologist in us all ever since. Often mistaken (by interns) for Charlie Hunnam, it’s hard to miss his ponytail! Whether it was greeting guests on tours, feeding sharks in Shark Central, or giving personal tours behind the scenes, Scott is never shy about sharing his enthusiasm about the animals he takes care of every day.

He took that enthusiasm outside of the aquarium as well, with several reoccurring TV segments, including Wild Wednesdays on Local 12 – most recently showing Jen Dalton baby sharks, and with Nagini the red-tailed boa constrictor on Living Dayton, as well as WLWT and  Fox 19. Scott is not only an amazing biologist, he also cares deeply about educating the public about marine life and why we should care about saving it.

“Everything we strive for is that conservation message. I love these touch tanks because they (guests) can get up close and personal with animals that they would never otherwise see in Kentucky,” Scott told Lyssa High from WTVQ, when she visited Shark Central.

What Scott’s Colleagues are Saying:

“Scott is a perfect example of a dreamer. He knew he wanted to work with sharks at age 7, and never lost focus of achieving that dream. He shares that story sometimes with guests on tours, as inspiration for the kids,” said Sydney Sharer, Newport Aquarium exhibits team member, who has worked with Scott for 18 years.

DSC_0029

This was one of Scott’s very first TV interviews.

“What I am going to miss about Scott is his ability to be available to help with whatever was going on, no matter the hour, be it an animal transport, a tank break down or set up, and anything else that needed to be done,” said fellow biologist, Michelle Fry. “He is a wonderful co-worker and an even better friend who I will miss working with but I am so excited for his new adventure.”

“Scott is like the little brother I’ve always wanted! It’s been fun watching him grow through the years, and watching his passion grow. We have such great memories being out in the ‘Shark Squad,’ the very first shark outreach cart.” said Tina Newberry, marketing manager. Tina has worked with Scott for 14 years.

IMG_E9982

“I have learned so much from Scott and appreciate all the struggles, holidays, diving, transport trips, presentations, feeds, training sessions, inventive MacGyver moments, and much much more. Love you, brother, and I’m proud to have worked with you.”   – Jen Hazeres, Biologist

IMG_3862C

“They’ve taught me a lot on how a team should function, and I definitely am taking that with me,” Scott said. The team of biologists got into the Halloween spirit and welcomed guests to Jurassic Park.

“I’ll miss Scott’s consistent dependability and calm demeanor,” said Jolene Hanna, Animal Health & Quarantine Manager, and Veterinary Technician.

Husbandry

Scott, Jen, and Jolene were part of the original team of biologists that worked closely with the shark rays.

Scott, Jolene, and Jen Hazeres were the three biologists who work with our shark rays the most. “It was such a learning curve with the adults and pups. He took everything in stride and was a major part of the success we’ve had with the species,” Jolene said.

“He has held many roles and enriched many of our lives in his time here.  While I am proud and excited for him, I am also saddened.  Scott will be sorely missed,” said Chris Pierson, Newport Aquarium operations director, who has worked with Scott for 17 years. “Having worked with him for so long, and watching him grow and move up to a higher position is very rewarding. We all share in that success. It makes me proud of him.”

“It’s very rewarding for me to see Scott grow in multiple roles to the leader and professional he has become. His unique personality and captivating presence comes through, showing his love and passion for wildlife and conservation,” said Eric Rose, Newport Aquarium’s Executive Director.

Scott gatorcheckup

Chris Pierson and Scott Brehob circa 2005

“As long as I’ve been at Newport so has Scott. I can’t condense my 15 years of working side by side with him down to one story.  We have done countless projects together.  He’s helped me out of some tight situations, usually of my own doing but he was always there to lend a hand,” said Dan Hagley, Newport Aquarium Assistant Curator. “Over the years I’ve learned to lean on Scott for his honesty and perspective on all the complex situations animals have presented us over the years. I’ve seen him grow from “Hottie Scottie” to a mentor for interns and his peers. Scott has left a lasting impression in my life that will always be there and he has left his mark on the Aquarium that will last for years.”

Diver Scott

Scott will be moving to warmer weather and larger bodies of water, as his new adventure is taking him to the Gulf Coast.

Good luck Scott! We will miss you!

Jim Henson’s Splash and Bubbles Reeftown Adventure Opening at Newport Aquarium in January

NEWPORT, Ky. — Newport Aquarium announced plans today to kick off a year full of surprises as it gears up for its 20th anniversary. A new experience, Jim Henson’s Splash and Bubbles Reeftown Adventure will open in January. The new addition for kids and families will kick off a year of surprises including new exhibits, animals, events and more.

SplashAndBubblesReefTownAdventure_018_640x300

Straight from the TV show to Newport Aquarium, Splash and Bubbles’ Reeftown Adventure will transform the space and expand the footprint of the area between Frog Bog and Stingray Hideaway. Kids can climb and play their way through Coral Cove and become a Reeftown Ranger as they learn about our One Big Ocean and the animals that call it home. The experience will also include the Kelp Forest, a completely new area to guests. Through technology, families can color their own fishy friends and bring them to life in the animated world of Splash and Bubbles.

“We’re inviting our youngest visitors to explore the undersea world of Splash and Bubbles where they can start learning about animals and conservation,” said Eric Rose, Newport Aquarium’s executive director. “And our goal is to show that exploring and learning about the ocean is so much fun!”

Highlights of the new experience include:

NPAQ_SnBReeftownAdventures_Entrance_1080

Just like Splash & Bubble do on TV, guests will “Catch a current” as they enter this fun new experience on their way to explore and play in Reeftown, Coral Cove, Kelp Forest and other environments from the show.

Reeftown Adventure:
Just like Splash and Bubbles do on TV, guests will “Catch a current” as they enter this fun new experience on their way to explore and play in Reeftown, Coral Cove, Kelp Forest and other environments from the show.

 

Reeftown Ranger:
Kids can learn about the importance of ocean conservation through fun hands-on games as they earn their status as an official “Reeftown Ranger.”

NPAQ_SnBReeftownAdventures_ReefftownRangerStation_1080

Kids can learn about the importance of ocean conservation through fun hands-on games as they earn their status as an official “Reeftown Ranger.”

Kelp Forest:
Parents and kids can color a fish that reflects their own personality. Then, through the magic of technology, they’ll bring their creations to life and watch them swim through the world of Splash, Bubbles, and other popular characters from the show.

NPAQ_SnBReeftownAdventures_KelpForest_1080

Parents and kids can color a fish that reflects their own personality. Then, through the magic of technology, they’ll bring their creations to life and watch them swim through the world of Splash and Bubbles among popular characters from the show.

About Splash and Bubbles:
Splash and Bubbles are the stars of the ocean-themed animated kids’ series of the same name on PBS. The show encourages children to explore the natural undersea world and features endearing and humorous characters on fun-filled adventures. Splash and Bubbles can be seen on local PBS station, CET. The TV show is co-produced by Herschend Studios and the Emmy Award winning The Jim Henson Company, creators of Sid the Science Kid and Dinosaur Train.

Annual Pass Deal:
From November 1 to December 31, Newport Aquarium is offering Annual Passes on a “Buy 3, Get 1 Free” sale. Annual Passes are valid for one year from the date of purchase, so guests can use them this year to experience Scuba Santa’s Water Wonderland. Passes are also valid into next year, to enjoy all the new surprises coming for Newport Aquarium’s 20th Anniversary. Annual Passes can be purchased at NewportAquarium.com or by calling 800-406-FISH (3474).

Buy3Get1FREE_SnBRA_640x350

To learn more about Jim Henson’s Splash and Bubbles Reeftown Adventure, and to follow more announcements for Newport Aquarium’s 20th Anniversary, visit NewportAquarium.com.

###

 Newport Aquarium, named one of the top 10 U.S. aquariums in 2017 by USA Today’s 10Best.com, one of the top U.S. aquariums in 2016 by Leisure Group Travel, and 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 and Destinations Travel Magazine in 2014, and also 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.

 

 

 

 

Mermaids Return to Newport Aquarium

Mermaids return to Newport Aquarium to enchant guests September 28 – October 14. And for the first time ever, guests will get to explore the all new Mermaid Cove, where a mermaid can swim right up and meet them. With this new addition, guests will now have three opportunities to see and interact with mermaids throughout Newport Aquarium. Add a couple of pirates, and it’s a swashbuckling good time!

The magical mermaid experience begins in Shark Ray Bay Theater where Newport Aquarium guests will be greeted by a mermaid while she’s sitting on her throne. It’s the perfect photo opp, while ocean friends like Denver the sea turtle, Sweet Pea the shark ray, and our sand tiger sharks all swim up to the Surrounded by Sharks window to say hi.

Next stop on the journey to find mermaids is the tropical habitat of the Coral Reef. Visitors will be mesmerized when they see real-life mermaids swimming gracefully underwater, alongside cownose stingrays and other tropical fish friends in the 30-foot long, 60,000-gallon Coral Reef Tunnel.

New for 2018 – The mermaid pod has taken over Stingray Hideaway, and transformed the tropical locale into Mermaid Cove. This unique new interaction will allow a mermaid to swim, show off her glorious tail and talk to guests. With the mermaids visiting from different parts of the world, it’s the perfect spot for them to tell their new friends all about their adventures and how important ocean conservation is for them and all sea life.

“Newport Aquarium’s mermaids are a tradition families looks forward to every year,” said Eric Rose, Executive Director at Newport Aquarium. “Mermaids are ocean advocates, and help share important conservation messages like saying ‘no’ to plastic bags, and skipping single-use plastic straws.”

Daily mermaid appearances are included with regular admission, and guests can visit NewportAquarium.com for more information.

Mermaids and Pirates Party
The festivities kick off with the Mermaids and Pirates Party on Friday, Sept. 28 from 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. This after-hours family-friendly costume party includes appetizers and refreshments, dancing, an adventure map and mermaid and pirate-themed activities. There’s also a special mermaid meet-and-greet and much more. Tickets can be purchased online for this signature event.

Mermaid and Pirate Breakfasts
Another add-on experience this year is the Mermaids and Pirates Breakfast on Oct. 7 and 14 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Guests can enjoy breakfast with their families in Newport Aquarium’s Riverside Room. All guests get exclusive access to meet a mermaid and pirate. After breakfast, guests will be invited into the aquarium before it opens to the public.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit NewportAquarium.com or call 800-406-FISH (3474).

 

National Zoo Keeper Week 2018

This week is National Zoo Keeper Week. Even though we don’t have “Zoo Keepers,” our Biologists give exemplary care to the animals that live here at Newport Aquarium. Follow us throughout this week to see what our biologists do every day! #NZKW

nzkw-2018-logo

Mission: To recognize and promote dedicated zoo and aquarium professionals year round, culminating in an annual celebration during the third week in July – National Zoo Keeper Week.

Newport Aquarium has twelve biologists that care for all of the fish, reptiles, amphibians, and penguins that have their home here. Care for these animals is more than just simply feeding and giving the animals some attention. They also have a lot of cleaning, food preparation, and maintenance work to do! #NZKW

Training is an important part of the care of many of our animals here at Newport Aquarium. Animals like Mighty Mike and our Sharkrays are target trained. This means that they know to come to a target pole to get their food. This helps the biologists safely work with these animals and ensures that every one of them gets the food they need.

Kelly and Erin feeding Mike (2)

Kelly and Erin target feed Mighty Mike, our 14-foot long, 800-pound alligator.

Our biologists give animals enrichment. Enrichment can be anything from a new object in their space, changing around their furniture, a new scent, sounds of their wild cousins, or a new food item. Our biologists use enrichment all of the time to stimulate our animal’s minds, keep them active, and help our animals engage in natural behaviors.

IMG_5499 (2)

Kristen celebrated Dr. Seuss Day by reading to the penguins.

There are many types of animals at the aquarium, which leads to many types of biologists who care for them. We have biologists who prefer work with the big sharks and those that work with the tiny dwarf seahorses. We have biologists who prefer to work with penguins and those that would rather work with frogs. But whatever our biologists do, they always work as a team to make sure the animals get the best care possible!

Tamara penguin house (2)

Tamara is one of our resident penguin biologists. Her main job is taking care of our African Penguins. Tamara also works with our outreach reptiles.  Tamara says, “My favorite part of my job is learning the different personalities of all of the animals I work with!”

IMG_8321 (2)

Scott feeds Shark Central in the morning. The sharks like to eat squid.

Scott is a jack of all trades. He is an aquarist, a plumber, and one of the local news station’s favorite interviewees. Scott did our first Takeover Tuesday blog post. One of his favorite tanks to work with is our shark touch tank, Shark Central. “I love working with Shark Central because it has sharks from all over the world.”

IMG_3652 (2)Erin works with our reptile and amphibian collection. We featured Erin in A Day in the Life of a Herpetologist. While she is in charge of the care of our alligators and venomous reptiles, there is a special place in her heart for the frogs of Frog Bog. “Frogs are incredible animals. The way they change from their fish lifestyle as a tadpole to becoming a frog has always fascinated me!” #NZKW

Kristen Paddlefish (2)

Kristen is one of our new biologists. She was first featured in our Animal Experience Specialist Takeover Tuesday. Because of this, she helps take care of a little bit of everything. “I love that I get to take care of many different kinds of animals. It helps to make every day interesting!”

Rob cleaning coral (2)Rob takes care of our live coral tanks. He also helps out in our Seahorse Gallery with the Ribbon Dragons and Dwarf Seahorses. “I love corals because they are colorful, challenging, and confusing to many people. They are a reminder to everyone that the health of our oceans is very important.”
Ty jelly tank (2)

Ty has a passion for the invertebrates at Newport Aquarium. He leads team in the care for Simon the Octopus and the Jellyfish. “My favorite part of working with jellyfish is the culturing and propagation.” Learn more about Ty in his Takeover Tuesday: World of the Octopus Edition.

Health care is always on the mind of a good biologist. Daily observation of the animals helps to spot a problem before it starts. And if the need arises, our biologists work closely with our Vet Team to address any issue.

Our biologists realize that there is more to their work than simply taking care of the animals right in front of them. Conservation is a vital consideration at any aquarium. We at Newport Aquarium play our part as well. Our biologists have taken part in such projects as freshwater mussel studies here in Kentucky and sea turtle headstart programs in North Carolina.

Kelly feeding caiman (2)

Kelly target trains the caiman lizard.

Kelly helps our reptiles live a happy, healthy life. She knows that training helps the animals get better care and helps to stimulate their minds. She is currently working to train many of our reptiles, including Nester, our caiman lizard. “I feel proud of Nester when he targets correctly. It is very satisfying.”

Jen

Jen is with one of our shark rays in the acclimation pool.

Jen is an aquarist who works with all of our tunnel systems. This includes her favorite tank, Surrounded by Sharks. She says her favorite part of her job is “definitely the incredible animals she gets to work with!”

Feeding stingrays (2)

Michelle hand feeds the stingrays in our stingray touch pool.

Michelle spends much of her day caring for our stingrays in Stingray Hideaway, and was featured in a special Takeover Tuesday all about Stingray Hideaway. Because stingrays are so intelligent and curious, she also makes sure they get the enrichment they need to live a stimulating and happy life. “Each stingray interacts with the enrichment in a different way. I love to watch the way each one expresses her own quirks when I give a new enrichment item.”

Dan, Jolene, and Victoria1

Introducing Victoria to her “snow spa” behind the scenes. It helped her stay cool during her molting process.

Dan is our senior penguin biologist. He spends most of his day cleaning and caring for our cold weather penguins in Penguin Palooza. He’s taking care of Victoria the penguin. He says his favorite part of his job is penguin breeding. “It is challenging to breed them. I get one shot a year and if it doesn’t work, I have to try and figure out why.” Dan also wrote a Takeover Tuesday for World Penguin Day.

Feeding Starfish PictureMargaret is an aquarist who works with a variety of saltwater fish. She was featured in a special Tide Pool edition of Takeover Tuesday. She gives her time and talent to the animals that live in our Shore Gallery. “I am currently target training the Snowflake Eels and Trumpet Fish. It is cool to watch them learn and engage with me.”

IMG_1730 (2)Laurel works closely with our quarantine animals and those that live at our offsite animal health facility. She and the vet team are the first people that our animals encounter before they make their way to the exhibits here at Newport Aquarium. “The best part of this job is bringing animals to people who may never get to see them otherwise. It makes an impact on these people and helps them become more aware of the world and conservation needs.”

Thank you for following along and learning more about our talented team of animal care takers. Next time you see one of them,. #ThankAKeeper