Takeover Tuesday: Celebrate World Penguin Day at Newport Aquarium

Happy World Penguin Day! My name is Dan Clady, I am the Senior Biologist in charge of penguins. Thank you for joining me on this special Takeover Tuesday. Every day, I take care of the almost 50 penguins in Penguin Palooza.

IMG_5033

Senior Biologist, Dan Clady, has worked at Newport Aquarium for 13 years. He takes care of almost 50 penguins in Penguin Palooza.

Feeding is my favorite part – I’m like a waiter, working the room (Penguin Palooza) and feeding anybody (any penguin) that looks hungry.

IMG_6791

Two Gentoo penguin eggs.

I’m holding two Gentoo eggs in this picture. I’m getting ready to “candle” the eggs, to see if they’re fertile. Stay tuned, if we have baby penguins, we’ll announce it on our social media pages.

IMG_6784

Spike, one of the Chinstrap penguins, just turned 30 years old.

Spike is a Chinstrap penguin. She just turned 30 years old in January. She is blind in one eye – she has a cataract in her right eye. When I feed her, I feed on her left side, because she cannot see on the right side. Even with the cataracts, she is as vocal as any other bird.

IMG_6777 (2)

King penguin, Madonna, is standing at center of attention in this photo.

Madonna  is a King penguin who is in love with people. She follows us around anytime we are in there, she “courts” us the whole time. Madonna is a wild collected egg from 1996, and is one of the original birds in Penguin Palooza.

 

 

IMG_5037

Penguins eat about 65-pounds of fish every day.

Feeding penguins is my favorite part of the day. Our flock of penguins eat about 65-pounds of fish every single day, 365 days a year. We hand feed them herring. They also eat ocean smelt and silver sides whenever they want.

Listen to Madonna, the boastful King penguin. In this video, she is showing courtship behavior, the sound she’s making is a courting call. She is “courting” us; it might be me, but she follows anyone around in Penguin Palooza.

Penguins in snow

King penguins take time to play in the snow.

Oops, someone left the snow machine on all NIGHT!

IMG_2533 (2)

I give the Macaroni penguins and Gentoo penguins rocks to build a nest. The igloos in this picture are for the Rockhoppers. They prefer grasses instead of rocks. I leave the rocks and igloos in there all year, it helps the penguins pair-bond for when breeding season comes around. Late fall, the Macaroni, Gentoo, Rockhopper and Chinstrap penguins all breed. The King penguins lay their eggs around Christmas time.

Thank you for celebrating World Penguin Day and #TakeoverTuesday with me today!

To learn more about all of the species of penguins at Newport Aquarium, and how we, along with other AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums are working to save species, read our previous World Penguin Day blog post here.

 

 

 

 

 

Newport Aquarium penguins gear up for their winter

This weekend, we will “spring forward” for Daylight Saving Time, and set the clocks forward an hour, as we get ready for warmer weather.  This is not the case for the cold weather penguins in Penguin Palooza one of the most diverse collections of penguins in the Midwest. The cold weather birds are getting ready for winter and less daylight. The Antarctic is on an opposite schedule from the United States. The Antarctic only experiences two seasons: winter and summer, because the earth’s axis is tilted. The penguins experience their summer from late October through mid-March and their winter from mid-March through Late October.

IMG_5033 (2)

Dan Clady, Senior Biologist, feeds penguins inside Penguin Palooza – home to nearly 50 penguins. It’s one of the most diverse collections of penguins in the Midwest.

“Our penguins have already been preparing for winter,” said Dan Clady, Senior Biologist at Newport Aquarium. “Believe it or not, that doesn’t involve lowering the temperatures or adding more snow to their exhibit,” Clady said. Clady is one of many biologists providing the penguins with expert care at the Newport Aquarium. The most important thing Clady does to get the penguins ready for winter is adjusting the lights in the exhibit. Clady starts the preparation by shortening the amount of time the lights are on in the exhibit. The penguins will have about seven hours of light during their winter, and up to 17 hours during their summer.

“Our penguins must stay on a light schedule to recreate conditions just like in Antarctica,” said Clady. The entire team of biologists at Newport Aquarium provide expert and professional care for our penguins. They make certain the penguins’ exhibit replicates conditions just like the conditions the penguins would face in their natural habitat. The light schedule lets the penguins know the seasons are changing. It is important to keep the penguins on the same light schedule because their activities differ in summer and winter.

“During the summer, the penguins are molting, nesting and eating like crazy,” Clady said. There are five species of cold weather penguins at Newport Aquarium: Chinstrap, Gentoo, King, Macaroni, and Southern Rockhopper. All penguin species molt at different times throughout the summer. Penguins are more likely to try to steal rocks from each other and scuffle over them. Every day is different with the penguins. In the winter, the penguins start to leave their nest and move around in their space more. The penguins will come down from their loft area, where a lot of their nests are kept in Penguin Palooza. Penguins also are more likely to swim during their winter since they will not be molting.

king penguin

A King penguin takes a break in the freshly fallen snow. These cold weather penguins are getting ready for their winter.

Guests don’t have to worry about missing out on the cold weather penguins just because it is their winter. The penguins might be more active with the lights on, but that does not mean they are not active when the lights are out. Guests might even see some of the penguins sleep, standing up!  Even with the lights out, the penguins will still be able to be seen in Penguin Palooza. “The lights mimic the illumination of the moonlight which makes it just light enough for our guests to see the penguins,” Clady said.

No matter the season, guests can discover the wonder of cold weather penguins.

Saving penguins in South Africa

By: Ric Urban, Chief Conservation Officer

Our AZA African Penguin Tagging Team moves from the mainland to Robben Island. They’re spending 12 days in South Africa, tagging penguins and gathering data on Africa’s endangered penguins. The team includes Mike McClure from Maryland Zoo and Kylene Plemons from Sea World San Diego. Over the 12 days, the team is visiting a couple of penguin rescue and rehabilitation facilities as well as collecting data in three penguin colonies; the Robben Island colony, the Boulder’s Beach colony and the Stony Point colony.

Boulders colony 1

Experts from SeaWorld and the Maryland Zoo traveled to South Africa to work alongside the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) in an effort to help tag the endangered African penguin. The trip is part of the SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction African Penguin Conservation Action Plan. Since the early 1900’s the population of African penguins in the wild has dropped by a staggering 97%.

Robben Island
After a couple days of orientation and training at SANCCOB, the AZA African Penguin Tagging Team headed out to stay with the colony on Robben Island. Robben Island was once the site of the prison which held Nelson Mandela and once a thriving population of African penguins.  With the introduction of invasive species and introduced species such as house cats and rabbits, the penguin population has plummeted to approximately 3,000 birds.

Logging field work

Experts from SeaWorld and the Maryland Zoo traveled to South Africa to work alongside the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) in an effort to help tag the endangered African penguin. The trip is part of the SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction African Penguin Conservation Action Plan. Since the early 1900’s the population of African penguins in the wild has dropped by a staggering 97%.

Saving Species
While staying on Robben Island, the AZA African Penguin Tagging Team will be working with Dr. Richard Sherley, from University of Exeter.  Dr. Sherley has been studying African Penguins on Robben Island since 2007. His research focuses on the nesting success, survival and dispersal of seabirds to understand the impact of anthropogenic and environmental change in marine ecosystems.

The AZA African Penguin Tagging Team was able to tag and collect data on 53 penguins on Robben Island.  It was an impressive number for Dr. Sherley and Dr. Katrin Ludynia, field biologist for SANCCOB and the University of Cape Town.

MarylandZoo MMcClure

Maryland Zoo Curator Mike McClure spent the day tagging penguin chicks.

In an email, Mike McClure said, “Yesterday was very successful as we located and checked about half of the nests we were looking for. We transpondered 22 birds (6 adults and 16 fledglings) and gathered a lot of raw data on each bird. We also learned more about the project than we could ever do had we not been here in person.”

nesting penguins

The field conditions are quite harsh, penguins find areas to nest in dense, thorny underbrush which is a great defense against predators and provides protection from the weather.

The field conditions are quite harsh, penguins find areas to nest in dense, thorny underbrush which is a great defense against predators and provides protection from the weather.  Therefore it makes it difficult to locate the nests, and capture and collect data on the birds.

 

Boulder’s Beach
After spending several days on Robben Island, it was time to return to the mainland and head to Boulder’s Beach. Boulder’s Beach is one of the few mainland colonies of African penguins. Over 700,000 visitors come to see the penguins at Boulder’s annually. This colony is threatened by predation from wild and domestic animals, parasites, disturbance by guests and being hit by vehicles.

Boulders penguins in surf

Boulder’s Beach is one of the few mainland colonies of African penguins. Over 700,000 visitors come to see the penguins at Boulder’s annually.

At the time of writing this Blog, the AZA African Penguin Tagging Team was traveling to Gansbaii, which is home to the Dyer Island Conservation Trust (DICT) and the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary (APSS).  The APSS is another rescue and rehabilitation facility for African penguins and seabirds along the South African Coastline.  There, the team is going to work with African Penguins at APSS and learn about their programs for rehabilitation and release of the penguins.

After spending the weekend in Gansbaii, the AZA African Penguin Tagging Team will be heading back toward Cape Town to Betty’s Bay and Stony Point. Stony Point sits on this coastal bay and is home to the only penguin colony that is presently increasing in population.  This area is managed by our partners, Cape Nature.  Habitat restoration is important and the removal invasive plants have improved the area for the penguins.  This beach also sees a seasonal increase of penguins in November, when birds come from their island nesting colony to gorge on fish and molt. After the molt, they head back to their island colony for breeding and nesting.

There has been much learned and much more to learn in future trips to work with the field biologists, rangers and researchers.  The information gathered should help support management decisions and improve habitats for the nesting colonies. The goals will be set higher for 2017 and I hope to be reporting to all of our supporters from South Africa next spring on the successes of the AZA African Penguin Individual Identification Project.

If you are interested in helping support our efforts in protecting the African Penguins, you can:

  • Contribute to the WAVE Foundation at the Newport Aquarium (wavefoundation.org) to support the AZA African Penguin Tagging Project
  • Participate in a “Penguin Encounter” at the Newport Aquarium. A portion of the proceeds of your encounter benefit the Aquatic Conservation Fund.
  • “Round-Up” your purchase in the gift shop to support the “Dollars for Conservation” program
  • Adopt” a Penguin online from the WAVE Foundation at the Newport Aquarium
  • Download the Seafood Watch App and contribute to eating sustainable seafood
  • Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – reducing our dependency for plastic will help lower the amount of plastic pollution in the environment around us and in our oceans

Read more about the African Penguin PIT Tagging Project in Part 1: Chief Conservation Officer at Newport Aquarium leads efforts in saving African penguins

On World Penguin Day—and Every Day – AZA-Accredited Aquariums and Zoos are Working to Save Species

Today is World Penguin Day, and in honor of these species, aquariums and zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) are raising awareness to help the future of this beloved species.African penguins 2

AZA-accredited aquariums and zoos work not only for the penguins in their care, but also actively participate in efforts to help save them in the wild and to contribute to the scientific understanding of these species.

Paula Shark Wall

Paula the African penguin, pauses for a photo opp in front of Shark Wall.

“Here at Newport Aquarium, we engage our guests daily through a penguin parade and our penguin encounters; we educate them about the plight of the African penguin. Hopefully through our efforts, we can create awareness that will save the penguins,” said Ric Urban, Chief Conservation Officer at Newport Aquarium.

There are six penguin species at Newport Aquarium – African, King, Gentoo, Macaroni, Southern Rockhopper and Chinstrap. Currently, all 18 of the world’s penguin species are legally protected from hunting and egg collection, but they continue to face threats. In particular, African penguins have seen a large decrease in population size and are listed as Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species™. In the last 100 years, African penguin breeding pairs, which numbered almost one million at the beginning of the 20th century, have dropped to approximately 25,000 – a 97 percent decrease. Reasons for this decline include oil spills; a loss of nest burrow sites due to historical harvest of penguin droppings in breeding colonies; and a reduction in prey due to commercial fishing.

Between 2010 and 2014, more than 30 AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums took part in or supporting field conservation projects benefitting African penguins. During those five years, the AZA community invested almost a half million dollars in African penguin conservation.

AZA-accredited aquariums and zoos frequently provide financial support to field conservation partners such as Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB), which provides high-quality rehabilitation and veterinary services to African penguins and other seabirds in need. SANCCOB also has a strong focus on raising awareness about endangered seabirds through conservation education programs and research projects, many of which have an AZA-accredited member as a collaborator.

Penguin Palooza

Newport Aquarium’s Penguin Palooza includes five species of cold-weather penguins including the Gentoo, King, Macaroni, Southern Rockhopper and Chinstrap.

In 2012, Ric Urban and WAVE Conservation Manager, Alle Barber (Alle Foster at the time), joined a small group of scientists on a penguin conservation trip to Peru to help protect endangered seabirds. Read more about their journey here.

Additionally, AZA aquariums and zoos, and other like-minded organizations, are collaborating through a bold effort focused on saving species from extinction and restoring them in their natural ranges. AZA SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction combines the power of engaging 183-million annual AZA-accredited aquarium and zoo visitors with the collective expertise of these facilities and their conservation partners to save signature species, including the African penguin. SAFE also provides a unique platform for AZA-accredited aquariums and zoos to increase the impact of their field conservation efforts and conservation contributions.

“World Penguin Day is the perfect day for people to get involved. While the number of African penguins has drastically declined, the good news is that by taking conservation actions, we can still make a difference in saving these species. However, we can’t do this alone, and we hope that others who care deeply about penguins–and the other species connected to their ecosystem—will join us in helping them,” said Urban.

Penguin painting

African penguins just finished painting these masterpieces, all of which you can purchase in the Newport Aquarium gift shop. Proceeds help the WAVE Foundation.

To help make a difference on World Penguin Day and every day, the public is encouraged to:

  • Purchase a one-of-a-kind hands-on experience with these amazing birds through a Penguin Encounter
  • Purchase original penguin artwork from our in-house Picassos – our African penguins created these masterpieces that you can order online or buy in Newport Aquarium’s gift shop
  • Buy sustainable seafood. Check out Seafood Watch for sustainable food selections.
  • Share messages about African penguins on social media to help raise awareness. Be sure to use the hashtag #SavingSpecies

For more information about AZA SAFE and how to help African penguins and other species, please visit: http://azaanimals.org/savingspecies/.

Spring Forward, Lights Off! Cold Weather Penguins Gearing Up for Spring

By Megan Gregory, PR Aide at Newport Aquarium

As we prepare to set our clocks forward one hour this spring, the Antarctic is preparing to enter winter and say goodbye to the sun.IMG_0290

The Antarctic is on an opposite schedule than the United States. As things get warmer for us, things are vastly getting colder in the South Pole.

Because the earth’s axis is tilted, the Antarctic only has two seasons: Summer and winter. During their summer (Late October through Mid-March) the sun doesn’t fully set while in the winter (Mid-March through Late October) the sun doesn’t rise.

How do we keep our penguins on this cycle?

The lights inside of the exhibit are slightly adjusted each week to mimic the lights of Antarctica. This helps keep the penguins in their natural cycle and exposed to a consistent photoperiod as if they were in the South Pole.

Why is it important to the penguins on this cycle?

It keeps the penguins on their natural cycle by promoting proper breeding and molting cycles. While penguins have reproduced under the care of institutions that chose to use an ON/OFF switch for their lights instead of mimicking the lighting schedules, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) reported enhanced reproductive success with varying annual day length and light intensity.

Ric Urban, Newport Aquarium’s Chief Conservation Officer and a member of the AZA’s Penguin Taxon Advisory Group Steering Committee, said that this also helps the penguins if they’re moved to a new AZA-Accredited institution. It keeps continuity with the penguin and creates a shorter adjustment period inside their new home.IMG_0214

If Newport Aquarium follows the seasons, will guests be able to see the penguins?

Absolutely! We still have lights on in the exhibits which usually start to dim toward the evening hours, around Newport Aquarium closing time. And like Newport Aquarium, most institutions don’t just mimic sunlight, but also moonlight! The illumination is still bright enough for guests to see our penguins waddling and swimming inside.

Guests can see one of the most diverse collections of cold weather penguins at Kroger Penguin Palooza 365 days a year! At Newport Aquarium, we have five species of cold weather penguins under our care: Chinstrap, Gentoo, King, Macaroni, and Southern Rockhopper. Guests can also see our African Penguins with our Penguin Encounter, an additional 20-minute experience inside the penguin house where you can get close and maybe touch one!

Happy Penguin Awareness Day

Today we celebrate our adorable tuxedo-clad birds. Penguins get their special day every year on Penguin Awareness Day, on January 20 – not to be confused with World Penguin Day or African Penguin Awareness Day. There are six species of penguins here at Newport Aquarium. You might be surprised to hear that not all penguins love the snow and cold. In fact, about two-thirds of penguins are warm-weather birds. When you visit Newport Aquarium, you can see the cold-weather penguins at Penguin Palooza. Kings, Gentoo, Macaroni, Southern Rockhopper and Chinstrap all love the snow. Another highlight of a visit to Newport Aquarium is the Penguin Parade. Newport Aquarium’s ambassador animals, African penguins, parade inside our front lobby in the colder months, and outside the aquarium during warmer summer months.

African penguins enjoy warmer temperatures than their cold weather cousins. Here at Newport Aquarium, they have a special home “backstage.”

Ric Urban, Chief Conservation Officer, holding Paula, one of Newport Aquarium's African penguins.

Ric Urban, Chief Conservation Officer, holding Paula, one of Newport Aquarium’s African penguins.

Our Chief Conservation Officer, Ric Urban, hand-fed many of the African penguins as chicks, and when you see him interact with them, you can tell how close their bond is. Guests are invited to purchase a one-of-a-kind hands-on experience with these amazing birds through a Penguin Encounter. An Animal Experience Expert will talk to you about the penguins while you visit the Penguin House. You get to sit on a bench, and the penguins can waddle right up to you. You’re allowed to take pictures, and maybe even touch one. A portion of the sales for Penguin Encounters is donated to the WAVE Foundation for penguin conservation programs.

Penguin Painting 2

Original artwork created by Blueberry, one of Newport Aquarium’s African penguins. Painting is a form of enrichment for our penguins, it provides mental stimulation.

Penguin Painting

Blueberry finished creating her masterpiece. Alle Barber, Conservation Program Manager at Newport Aquarium, helps create the works of art with each of the African penguins.

Penguin Painting

The work space of an artist. African penguins walk, run and waddle through the paint puddles and leave their tracks on the canvas.

Another one-of-a-kind opportunity is to purchase original penguin artwork from our in-house Picassos – our African penguins created masterpieces that you can order online or buy in Newport Aquarium’s gift shop. Speckles, Paula, Red Pepper, Green Bean, Simon, Sandy, Randi, Blueberry have all taken part in the penguin pitter platter spatter. Each original penguin art comes with a Certificate of Authenticity, an information sheet about the artists and a color photo of the artists in action! Painting is a form of enrichment for our penguins. Enrichment is about providing animals with stimulating and challenging environments, objects and activities. It aims to enhance their activity and provides mental stimulation for the penguins. Who wouldn’t have fun stomping and splattering in paint?!

So, the next time you’re visiting Newport Aquarium, be sure to stop by and say ‘hi’ to these incredible birds – one of the most diverse collections of penguins in the country.

Celebrate African Penguin Awareness Day by helping this adorable endangered species

By Madison Wallace, Newport Aquarium PR Aide

NEWPORT, Ky. — If you’ve been to Newport Aquarium, you’ve probably heard about, or even met, one of our beloved African penguins.

Oct. 17 is the perfect day to celebrate these birds with African Penguin Awareness Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness for African penguins and the factors threatening their species.

“African Penguin Awareness Day is an opportunity for us to celebrate these unique birds, along with bringing awareness to their status as an endangered species,” said Ric Urban, chief conservation officer at Newport Aquarium and resident penguin expert.

This international holiday was established by Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB), an organization supported by the WAVE Foundation, Newport Aquarium’s nonprofit partner.

African penguins 2

“The Conductor” by Flickr user Roger Smith. Boulders Penguin Colony, Cape Town, South Africa. https://www.flickr.com/photos/wodjamiff/5467655290/in/photostream/

One of SANCCOB’s most significant projects is known as chick bolstering and involves the rescue, rehabilitation and eventual release of African penguin chicks that have been orphaned or injured.

In the wild, these warm-weather penguins can be found living in colonies on the coastal islands that dot the shore of South Africa and Namibia.

They prefer to eat anchovies, sardines and the occasional mollusk, and generally consume 14 percent of their weight in fish daily; the equivalent of a 150-pound person eating 21 pounds of food a day!

What you may not know is that these adorable, tuxedoed birds are endangered.

In the past century, the population of African penguins has plummeted from several million to roughly 30,000 as a result of pollution, global warming, egg harvesting and overfishing off the coast of southern Africa.

This species needs our help.

“If nothing changes, we could see African penguins disappear completely within the next couple of decades,” said Urban.

With an estimated 1,000 African penguins under professional animal care globally, it’s essential that zoos and aquariums across the world work together to help this species in recovering. Because of their drastic population decline, African penguins were one of the first 10 animals named to the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ SAFE (Saving Animals From Extinction) program that launched in May 2015.

Newport Aquarium is home to eight African penguins — Paula, Randi, Simon, Sandy, Speckles, Blueberry, Green Bean and Red Pepper — all of whom were hand-raised, allowing them to bond with humans more easily. This makes them ideal for helping to educate the public about their species.

African penguins at Newport Aquarium

The African penguins at Newport Aquarium. (L-R): Speckles, Paula, Red Pepper, Green Bean (back), Simon (back), Sandy, Randi, Blueberry

As ambassador animals for Newport Aquarium, our African penguins aren’t on exhibit, but guests can meet them by going on a Penguin Encounter, which allows guests to interact with these birds in small groups, along with opening up discussion about this threatened species.

“African Penguins are naturally inquisitive and social,” said Urban. “They’re very curious about people, making them amazing outreach animals. It’s almost impossible to see an African penguin waddling around and not smile in response. There’s something about these birds that people just connect to.”

While both Newport Aquarium and the WAVE Foundation have brought awareness to these birds through community outreach, monetary contributions and knowledge exchange, we need your help.

For African Penguin Awareness Day, there are many simple ways for everyone to help the future of these birds:
•    Experience a Penguin Encounter at Newport Aquarium; a portion of Penguin Encounter ticket proceeds directly to SANCCOB
•    Purchase Penguin Artwork (art by penguins, not of penguins) from the WAVE Foundation; a portion of proceeds benefit African penguins
•    Visit SANCCOB’s website and donate directly to the seabird conservation efforts
•    Spend a couple minutes learning about African penguins, and start the conversation with those around you

These penguins need our help every day, but African Penguin Awareness Day is a great place to start.

###

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.

Stay Hooked In: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | YouTube | WordPress

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

Newport Aquarium’s conservation efforts honored by Kentucky’s Environmental Quality Commission

DSC_6059

(L-R): Dr. Leonard K. Peters, Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet secretary; Alle Barber (with Paula the penguin), WAVE Foundation at Newport Aquarium program conservation manager; Eric Rose, Newport Aquarium executive director; Halida Hatic, Center for Interfaith Relation director of community relations and keynote speaker; Steve Coleman, Kentucky Environmental Quality Commission chairman.

FRANKFORT, Ky.Newport Aquarium received accolades Friday from the Kentucky Environmental Quality Commission for its environmental conservation efforts during the annual Earth Day Awards ceremony at Berry Hill Mansion.

Earth Day Awards from the EQC recognize individuals and organizations for their extraordinary efforts to enhance and improve environmental quality.

Newport Aquarium was praised for promoting a “Water Story” throughout its exhibits with the goal of educating its guests about the importance of water conservation throughout the world.

“Over 50 percent of the air we breathe is produced by the ocean, so it’s our job at Newport Aquarium to tell people about the importance of water and educate them about the everyday things they can do to help,” said Eric Rose, the aquarium’s executive director. “When guests visit the aquarium, not only do they get to see amazing animals they also get learn about how to help the animals and the environment.”

EQC Chairman Steve Coleman presented the award to Rose, along with Paula the African penguin.

DSC_6067

“EQC is very proud to recognize the contributions of the Newport Aquarium in raising awareness on the importance of our water resources and getting citizens involved in environmental stewardship,” said Coleman.

Kentucky state Rep. Dennis Keene attended the ceremony in support of Newport Aquarium, the largest tourist attraction in his district in Campbell County.

EQC Award  - Dennis Keene, Alle Barber and Eric Rose

(L-R): Kentucky state Rep. Dennis Keene; WAVE Foundation at Newport Aquarium Program Conservation Manager Alle Barber (with Paula the penguin); Newport Aquarium Executive Director Eric Rose.

“I congratulate the Newport Aquarium for its outstanding efforts to educate its visitors on the importance of water quality and conservation efforts to improve the aquatic life in both ocean and fresh water environments,” said Rep. Keene. “This aquarium continues to evolve as both an entertaining tourist attraction and a valuable resource for education and enhanced understanding of our relationship to the world around us. I’m pleased the aquarium’s staff and administration is being recognized for their dedication and thank the Environmental Quality Commission for this opportunity to highlight these insightful educational programs.”

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

About the Environmental Quality Commission
EQC is a seven-member citizen advisory board created under Kentucky state law in 1972. Its mission is to facilitate public dialog on issues, monitor trends and conditions, promote partnerships to improve and protect the environment for future generations. EQC also advises state officials on environmental matters and promotes public awareness, responsibility and positive action toward a healthy environment.

###

Newport Aquarium, voted the No. 1 aquarium in the country by USA Today’s 10Best.com in 2012, 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.

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

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

Cincinnati Reds, Newport Aquarium team up for 2015

Top Tri-State attractions to offer exclusive penguin encounter, special promotions

Cincinnati Reds fans can see Paula the penguin at Great American Ball Park on April 12.

NEWPORT, Ky. — In time for Opening Day, Newport Aquarium and the Cincinnati Reds are teaming up to provide Reds Country with exclusive promotions, along with one very special animal encounter, throughout the 2015 baseball season.

This distinctive partnership will allow baseball fans and animal lovers of all ages to experience the thrills of two of Greater Cincinnati’s jewel attractions.

PaulaThePenguin_OnFieldWithBall

Paula the penguin will deliver the game ball at Great American Ball Park during pregame ceremonies on April 12.

Paula the Penguin Game Ball Delivery: Newport Aquarium’s Paula the penguin will deliver the game ball to the Great American Ball Park pitcher’s mound during pregame festivities prior to the Reds’ afternoon matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals on April 12, the first Sunday home game of the 2015 season. Following first pitch at 1:10 p.m., the famous African penguin will greet fans at the Kroger Fan Zone before participating in a Reds Heads Kids Club Q&A session at the Wiffle® ball field during the third inning.

Combo Ticket Nights: For select 2015 home games, a family of four can enjoy a trip to Newport Aquarium and a Cincinnati Reds game for as low as $100*. This combo includes a voucher for one general admission ticket to Newport Aquarium per each Reds game ticket. The combo is available for Reds home games on April 27, May 11, June 21, July 1, July 20, Aug. 4, Sept. 4 and Sept. 6. The Cincinnati Reds-Newport Aquarium combo ticket can be purchased online at reds.com/newportaquarium.

Keep Your Reds Ticket Stub and Save at Newport Aquarium and Ride the Ducks: Coupons for $2 off Newport Aquarium admission, and $9 off an Aquarium/Ride the Ducks Newport combo, can be found on the back all Cincinnati Reds home game ticket stubs during the 2015 season, including premium and season tickets (not applicable for tickets purchased and printed online).

Annual Passholder Appreciation Nights: Newport Aquarium Annual Passholders can purchase Cincinnati Reds tickets at exclusive pricing during Annual Passholder Appreciation Games, which are May 11, June 21, July 20 and Sept. 4. Passholders can purchase these discounted tickets at reds.com/napassholders.

Newport Aquarium/Ride the Ducks Newport at Opening Day Parade: Newport Aquarium and Ride the Ducks Newport will be entry No. 106 of 200 in the 96th Findlay Market Opening Day Parade on April 6. The parade is set to begin at noon near Findlay Market on Race Street in downtown Cincinnati. Newport Aquarium and Ride the Ducks Newport employees will be highly visible in a Cincinnati Reds-decorated Duck, an amphibious vehicle modeled after the famous World War II DUKW machine. Ride the Ducks Newport is scheduled to begin 2015 tours on April 10, weather permitting. Visit newportducks.com for the complete operating schedule.

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

(*Prices subject to change without notice)

###

Newport Aquarium, voted the No. 1 aquarium in the country by USA Today’s 10Best.com in 2012, 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.

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

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

Newport Aquarium treats third graders on field trip to surprise announcement

Third king penguin chick hatched at Aquarium in less than 12 months

NEWPORT, Ky.Newport Aquarium announced to a group of schoolchildren Tuesday the addition of a baby king penguin that hatched inside the Kroger Penguin Palooza exhibit.

Third-grade students from St. Francis de Sales School in Lebanon, Ohio, went on a field trip to Newport Aquarium and took an “All About Penguins” class ran by the WAVE Foundation’s Manager of Education Programs Dan Dunlap.

At the end of the class, Dunlap revealed to the schoolchildren that a king penguin chick hatched on the afternoon of Feb. 7. Senior biologists Dan Clady and Jen Hazeres were stationed inside the cold-penguin exhibit and displayed the chick for the students to see following the announcement.

A photo of king penguin chick Kevin Bacon from Feb. 12, five days after it hatched.

A photo of king penguin chick Kevin Bacon from Feb. 12, five days after it hatched.

The king penguin chick has been affectionately named Kevin Bacon in reference to the renowned actor’s 1980 film “Friday the 13th” – the young bird’s due date.

Bebe (father) and Wednesday (mother) are the biological parents of Kevin Bacon, the second chick the couple has reproduced in the less than a year after a pair of chicks hatched simultaneously May 24, 2014.

Kevin Bacon is the second third-generation king penguin that has hatched at Newport Aquarium. Wednesday was the last king penguin hatched at the aquarium in 2010, before the cold penguin exhibit was renovated and reopened as Kroger Penguin Palooza in March 2011.

Kevin Bacon initially weighed in at 225 grams and has grown to more than 2.5 pounds (1,188 grams) as of Feb. 24.

Actor Kevin Bacon, who starred in the 1980 movie "Friday the 13th" was the inspiration behind Newport Aquarium's newest king penguin chick's name.

Actor Kevin Bacon, who starred in the 1980 movie “Friday the 13th” was the inspiration behind Newport Aquarium’s newest king penguin chick’s name. (Photo via ABCnews.com)

Guests can catch a glimpse of the chick inside the Kroger Penguin Palooza while the parents share rearing duties.

Newport Aquarium is one of only 16 institutions in the United States to exhibit king penguins, the second largest species of penguin in the world with adults growing to more than three feet in height.

The successful breeding of three king penguins from one institution over a nearly nine-month span is a rarity. There has been an average of only 14 king penguin hatchings annually over the last 10 years at Association of Zoos and Aquariums institutions in the U.S.

King penguin chick Kevin Bacon hatched Feb. 7 and already weight more than 2.5 pounds.

King penguin chick Kevin Bacon hatched Feb. 7 and already weight more than 2.5 pounds.

Newport Aquarium has exhibited king penguins since the Northern Kentucky attraction first opened to the public in May 1999, originally exhibiting king penguins acquired from Adventure World near Shirahama, Japan.

Kroger Penguin Palooza features 50 birds that form one of the most diverse collections of penguins in the country. With the addition to Kevin Bacon, there are 13 king penguins in total, as well as chinstrap, gentoo, macaroni and rockhopper penguins. A sixth penguin species, the African penguin, is also on exhibit at Newport Aquarium in The Penguin House.

King penguin facts:

  • With their fluffy brown appearance, king penguin chicks look so dissimilar to adult king penguins that early explorers described them as an entirely different species, the woolly penguin.
  • King penguins are one of the few birds that do not build nests. Instead, they incubate their eggs under the belly on top of their feet.
  • King penguins can be found in the waters of the sub-Antarctic. They breed on many of the sub-Antarctic islands, such as South Georgia, Crozet, the Falklands, and the islands southeast of Australia and southwest of New Zealand.

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

###

Newport Aquarium, voted the No. 1 aquarium in the country by USA Today’s 10Best.com in 2012, 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.

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

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