Celebrate #SharkSummer at Newport Aquarium

NEWPORT, Ky. — It’s just not summer without sharks! Newport Aquarium, 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!

02SharkSummerLogoWithSurfBoards_PNG - CopyDuring #SharkSummer, May 27 to July 8, 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 including a new species of shark never before featured at Newport Aquarium. 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 27 to July 8 and must be purchased online at https://www.newportaquarium.com/Visitor-Tips/Aquarium-Events/Summer-Family-Hours.

New Baby Sharks
Newport Aquarium is excited to announce the arrival of a new species of shark that is swimming its way into Shark Central. Wasabi and Sake, two baby Japanese Bullhead Sharks just joined more than a dozen other sharks in the Shark Central touch tank.

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Guests can easily spot the sharks as they make sand angels in the bottom of their tank, and by their long fins as they swim alongside the bigger sharks. They join the rest of their kelp forest “cousins,” including the Port Jackson, Leopard Shark, Leopard Catshark and Striped Catshark species. The aquarium is welcoming the new residents during Shark Summer from May 27 to July 8.


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 27 and September 2.

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

 

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.

#SharkSummer
With extra time and free kid’s admission, guests have the opportunity to visit Newport Aquarium for Shark Summer, which runs May 27 to July 8. 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 six 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.

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Explore the tunnels, and be Surrounded by Sharks!

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. This brand new shark nursery is in the Shore Gallery.

Shark Bridge – More than 2 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.

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More than 2-million thrill-seekers have dared to cross Shark Bridge.

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.

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.

Touch Sharks – Inside Shark Central, guests have the opportunity to touch more than a dozen sharks including the brand new Japanese Bullhead Sharks. 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).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shark Central Reopens after State of the Art Transformation

Shark Central, the 4,500-gallon immersive touch tank, that has captivated guests since 2006, just reopened to the public after a state of the art transformation over the summer. In August of 2017, the exhibit temporarily closed for an upgrade. This meant sending the nearly two-dozen sharks that call Shark Central home to the offsite animal health facility until the completion of the project.

What makes Shark Central  unique is the opportunity to see and touch sharks from around the world. Some of the sharks in Shark Central are from the West Coast, like the leopard sharks, shovelnose guitarfish, and California horn sharks. Others are native to South Africa, such as the striped catsharks (also called pyjama catshark), and the leopard catshark. There is even a shark that can only be found in Australia – the Port Jackson horn shark.

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Guests can touch six different species in the Shark Central touch tank.

The biggest upgrade to Shark Central is behind the scenes, but vitally important – a new state of the art life support system. This new system was the major hype with all of the biologists working on it. Aquatic Biologist Scott Brehob shares his enthusiasm about the new design and more efficient system.

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Aquatic Biologist Scott Brehob eagerly shows off the new energy efficient life support system behind the scenes.

“I’m incredibly excited to have a brand new and more efficient life support system that gives these sharks great water,” Brehob said. Brehob takes care of the sharks in Shark Central. He has seen the evolution of the exhibit since it first opened in 2004, and shared his passion for taking care of the sharks in his Takeover Tuesday post.

The system is a technological upgrade; it’s less bulk and more bang, just like the ever evolving cell phones we use. We won’t get into the entire scientific nitty gritty; but the new pumps are VFD (variable flow drive) and they include their own computer systems. This allows for the biologists to manually type in what they need from the pump that feeds the tank and the bio towers. If they need more flow to the tank and less pull from it, they can simply type that in. Also with the upgrade, if one of the pumps goes down, the other one can do the work for it, ensuring optimal safety and efficiency.

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Other changes include resurfacing the tank walls, a new paint coat on the exhibit, new decking, and a new concrete ledge. When asked about his favorite part of the project, Assistant Curator Dan Hagley stated he “enjoyed the plumbing aspect and getting to use new things I’ve never played with before that will make it a lot easier for the biologists to maintain the tank.”

Teamwork played a big role in completing this project, and it would not have been possible without the help of the volunteers and interns who assisted our animal husbandry team, and engineers. Volunteers helped drain the tank and cleared out all of the gravel and river rocks so a crew could then come in and resurface the tank walls.

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A ton of work went into this transformation, some of which we could easily overlook like cleaning the new gravel before filling it in the tank! The new filtration systems could easily do that work over time; however, the gravel is very dusty and makes the tank cloudy if it isn’t cleaned beforehand. To save time and get the exhibit looking as nice as possible, several staff members and volunteers took on the task of cleaning the new gravel before shoveling it into the exhibit.

After filling the tank with freshly washed gravel, our biologists filled the tank with water. They made sure the temperature is 60 degrees – these sharks are accustomed to that cold temperature in their native environments,  Brrrr! Biologists also made sure the water has accurate flow rates, balance, and chemical levels before bringing the animals back in. The animals are brought back within a number of moves to ensure that all is well in the environment.Shark Central

“I love being able to educate people about these fascinating animals from around the world. Many people don’t even have the opportunity to see sharks up close, but our guests get to interact with them,” said General Curator, Mark Dvornak.

Dvornak shared his passion about the transformation and how the new water system will give the sharks the optimal healthy environment that a unique touch tank needs. His last big project was the new Stingray Hideaway. It is a larger scale touch tank project that is also open for visitors to experience along with our better than ever Shark Central!

Be sure to stop by and visit Shark Central to see the energy-efficient improvements on your next visit. There are sharks from all over the world awaiting your arrival right here, at Newport Aquarium.