New Ribbontail Stingrays Explore New Home at Newport Aquarium

NEWPORT, Ky. – Two new stingrays representing a brand new species received a special escort into the Surrounded by Sharks exhibit at Newport Aquarium. The Ribbontail rays, affectionately named Chip and Lettuce, are brothers and come to Newport Aquarium from Georgia Aquarium where they were born and raised. Members of the aquarium’s animal care team spent the last couple months caring for the stingrays and getting them ready for their grand entrance. Divers helped guide the stingrays into the 385,000-gallon Surrounded by Sharks tank, where they were immediately greeted by Denver, the curious loggerhead sea turtle and Sweet Pea, one of Newport Aquarium’s famed shark rays. The ribbontail rays joined several species of sharks, tropical fish and other inhabitants of Surrounded by Sharks.

“The addition of a new animal to an exhibit is always fascinating as we observe the animal explore its new home and watch the other animals interact with the newest member of the community,” said Mark Dvornak, General Curator at Newport Aquarium.

Newport Aquarium is now home to the only Ribbontail stingrays in the Midwest. Chip and Lettuce are larger stingrays, about 3 ½ feet wide by 5 feet long. They join other stingray species including honeycomb, mangrove and southern stingrays, and are easy to identify as they gracefully swim through Surrounded by Sharks. They are darker in color, and have a fascinating variation on their tail that resembles a ribbon.

1 Kid FREE
Now is the perfect time to visit Newport Aquarium while one child (ages 2-12) gets in FREE with each full price adult.* The deal comes just in time for visitors to escape from the winter weather outdoors and see the new ribbontail rays explore their new home. The one kid free offer is only available until February 28, 2018. The aquarium is also operating with extended hours on select days this month.1 Kid FREE

At Newport Aquarium, there is always more new to see and do:

  • Stingray Hideaway – Touch stingrays and explore their tropical world from above and below the water’s surface. Explore an underwater tunnel through the 17,000-gallon touch pool where you’ll be surrounded by stingrays.
  • Shark Bridge –This 75-foot rope bridge allows guests to walk just inches above nearly two dozen sharks, exotic shark rays, stingrays and more than 300 fish in one of the country’s largest open-air tank displays.
  • Surrounded by Sharks – Guests can walk through three underwater tunnels within a 385,000-gallon tank filled with rare and exotic shark rays, six species of sharks, and Denver, the mischievous 200-pound loggerhead sea turtle.
  • Seahorses: Unbridled Fun – This interactive exhibit features some of nature’s most amazing creatures, including several species of seahorses, sea dragons, razorfish and pipefish.
  • Gator AlleyGator Alley is the home of Mighty Mike – who at 14-feet long and 800 pounds is the biggest alligator in the country outside of Florida, as well as Snowball and Snowflake, two of fewer than 100 white alligators in the world.
  • Penguin Palooza – With five different sub-Antarctic penguin species totaling nearly 50 birds, Penguin Palooza boasts one of the most diverse collections of cold-weather penguins in the country.
  • Frog Bog – Children have never seen frogs like this before as they can find secret frog tanks visible only when they climb through tunnels and tubes in the kids-only Frog Bog jungle gym.

The offer of one kid free with each full price adult will be available at the Newport Aquarium ticket window, online at NewportAquarium.com or by phone at 800-406-FISH (3474). Advance ticket purchase online is highly recommended to guarantee prompt entry to the aquarium.

*This special offer cannot be combined with other discounts or coupons.

 

 

 

Winter Family Days: One Free Kids ticket through Feb. 26, with paid adult

NEWPORT, Ky. – Just as meteorologists are forecasting a cold front and colder temperatures on the way, Newport Aquarium announces the return of Winter Family Days, where one child (ages 2-12) gets in FREE with each full-priced adult.* The aquarium has also added a brand new limited-time-only meet and greet opportunity with Jim Henson’s Splash and Bubbles from the new kids TV show by the same name.

Kids will have fun inside Newport Aquarium’s 72-degree climate-controlled facility, no matter the weather outside.

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NEW: Meet Splash and Bubbles
A new attraction has been added to Newport Aquarium in the form of a meet and greet with the title characters of Jim Henson’s Splash and Bubbles, the newest PBS KIDS TV show. The new ocean-themed animated kids’ series encourages children to explore the natural undersea world and features endearing and humorous characters on fun-filled adventures. During Winter Family Days, several of the species featured in the cartoon will be on exhibit in the Shore Gallery. And, Newport Aquarium’s Shark Ray Bay Theater will be transformed into the hit TV show’s Reeftown setting where guests will have an opportunity to meet and get their picture taken with Splash and Bubbles.

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Splash and Bubbles can be seen on local PBS station, CET. The TV show is co-produced by Newport Aquarium’s parent company, Herschend Enterprises (Herschend Studios) and the Emmy Award winning Jim Henson Company, the producers of Dinosaur Train and Sid the Science Kid.

Extended Winter Hours

The aquarium will open one hour early (9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.) on the following dates:

  • Saturdays in January & February (Beginning January 11)
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend
  • Presidents Day Weekend

Last entry to the aquarium will be one hour before closing. See website for operating hours.

At Newport Aquarium, there is always more new to see and do:

  • Shark Bridge –This 75-foot rope bridge is the only one of its kind in North America and allows guests to walk just inches above nearly two dozen sharks, exotic shark rays, two stingrays and more than 300 fish in one of the country’s largest open air tank displays.
  • Surrounded by Sharks – Guests can walk through a 385,000-gallon tank filled with rare and exotic shark rays, six species of shark, and Denver, the mischievous 200-pound loggerhead sea turtle.
  • Seahorses: Unbridled Fun – This interactive exhibit features some of nature’s most amazing creatures, including several species of seahorses, sea dragons, trumpetfish, razorfish and pipefish. At the Seahorse Creation Station, guests can discover their inner-artist and create a digital seahorse to share. The exhibit also features rare video of seahorses and their most unusual behaviors.
  • Gator AlleyGator Alley is the home of Mighty Mike – who at 14-feet long and 800 pounds is the biggest alligator in the country outside of Florida, as well as Snowball and Snowflake, two of fewer than 100 white alligators in the world.
  • Kroger Penguin Palooza – With five different sub-Antarctic penguin species totaling nearly 50 birds, Kroger Penguin Palooza boasts one of the most diverse collections of cold-weather penguins in the country.
  • Frog Bog – Children have never seen frogs like this before as they can find secret frog tanks visible only when they climb through tunnels and tubes in the kids-only Frog Bog jungle gym.

Beginning January 4th, Winter Family Days tickets will be available at the Newport Aquarium ticket window, online at NewportAquarium.com or by phone at 800-406-FISH (3474).

*This special offer cannot be combined with other discounts or coupons.

Shark Ray Pups Reach Milestones

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NEWPORT, Ky- Shark rays born at Newport Aquarium on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, are doing well according to the animal care team at the aquarium. From the time the shark ray pups were first born they have received care from biologists who have closely monitored them and attended to every need.  Today, the pups are eating on their own and continue to gain weight. See the shark ray pups being weighed, measured and fed in this video:

Pregnant shark ray, Sweet Pea, gave birth to nine shark ray pups at Newport Aquarium. Six female and three male pups were born. The pups’ weight ranged from 2.0 to 2.4 pounds, while their length ranged from 18 – 22 inches.  Shortly after birth, one female shark ray pup passed away, which is not uncommon with similar species, like sharks.  Eight pups are healthy and continue to show progress by independently eating and gaining weight.

Sweet Pea Update
Since shark rays do not tend to their offspring, Sweet Pea has returned to the Surrounded by Sharks exhibit.  The pups remain under constant observation at the aquarium’s offsite animal health facility and will transition to the aquarium and other Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited institutions at a future date. Watch Sweet Pea’s return into to the Surrounded by Sharks exhibit:

See Rare and Exotic Shark Rays at Newport Aquarium- Kids Get in Free through February 28, 2016. Four shark rays are currently on exhibit at Newport Aquarium- Sweet Pea, Scooter, Sunshine and Spike.

Shark Ray Breeding Program Background
In October 2015, Newport Aquarium announced both its female shark rays, Sweet Pea and Sunshine were pregnant– the second and third documented cases of shark ray breeding under professional animal care in the world.  Sweet Pea became the first documented shark ray to become pregnant in 2013. In January 2016, Sweet Pea gave birth to 9 shark ray pups.  Sunshine’s pregnancy did not come to full term.

Programs like Newport Aquarium’s Shark Ray Breeding Program are important, because the world’s shark ray population is depleting at a faster rate than it’s being replaced.  This is due to habitat destruction, pollution, overfishing and the use of their fins for products like fin soup.

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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
www.newportaquarium.com

Newport Aquarium’s Turtle Canyon exhibit, Winter Family Days to end March 1

Fans can enter to win an exclusive encounter with the Midwest’s largest turtle, Bravo the Galapagos tortoise, before he’s #Galapagone

NEWPORT, Ky. – The deadline for the public to visit Turtle Canyon, featuring Bravo the largest turtle in the Midwest, and take advantage of Newport Aquarium’s Winter Family Days special, when two kids get in free with each paying adult, is March 1.

Since March 2014, Bravo – a more than 85-year-old, 650-pound Galapagos tortoise – has been the star of Turtle Canyon. He is scheduled to return to his home at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in Columbia, S.C. on March 2.

Bravo, a 650-pound Galapagos tortoise, is the largest turtle in the Midwest.

Bravo, a 650-pound Galapagos tortoise, is the largest turtle in the Midwest.

In addition to Bravo, several other unique species of tortoise will be leaving Newport Aquarium once Turtle Canyon closes, including the Egyptian tortoise, the smallest tortoise species in the Northern Hemisphere.

On March 2, the facility housing Turtle Canyon will temporarily close for renovations and re-open as the all-new Canyon Falls exhibit in mid-March. Canyon Falls will feature Asian small-clawed otters, as well as two unique species of lizard – yellow monitors and panther chameleons.

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Asian small-clawed otters will return to Newport Aquarium in March.

Last Chance to Take Advantage of Winter Family Days
Newport Aquarium is entering the final stretch of Winter Family Days, when two children receive free admission* with the purchase of one full-priced adult ticket.

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This family-favorite offer is available through March 1, during which time Newport Aquarium will open one hour early at 9 a.m. every Saturday and holiday weekend.

Winter Family Days tickets can be purchased at the Newport Aquarium ticket window, online at NewportAquarium.com or by phone at 800-406-FISH (3474).

I Heart Turtles Facebook Sweepstakes
To celebrate the remaining days of Turtle Canyon, Newport Aquarium is running a Facebook contest where one lucky guest and four of their friends will win an exclusive VIP Bravo Experience.

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The Facebook contest, which runs through Feb. 17, includes a prize package of five general admission tickets in addition to the private encounter with Bravo.

*This special offer cannot be combined with other discounts or coupons.

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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