Newport Aquarium to add North America’s first Shark Bridge

Aquarium’s 2015 exhibits lineup to include – back by popular demand – Otters!


NEWPORT, Ky.
– Newport Aquarium announced Wednesday an exhilarating 2015 lineup of coming attractions, featuring Shark Bridge, the only suspension bridge in North America where guests can walk just inches above nearly two dozen lurking sharks.

Scheduled for a mid-April opening, Shark Bridge is a 100-foot-long, V-shaped rope bridge suspended over the waters of the Surrounded by Sharks exhibit’s 385,000-gallon tank.

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Shark Bridge will be the first of its kind in North America.

Should guests dare to cross, Shark Bridge will offer an exclusive adventure and unique perspective of walking closely atop seven species of sharks, four rare and exotic shark rays, multiple stingrays and more than 300 fish.

Shark Bridge will be a completely new way to experience sharks and a truly one-of-a-kind attraction available nowhere but Newport Aquarium,” said Eric Rose, executive director. “Our diverse collection of sharks is the cornerstone of our more than 90 exhibits, and guests will now be able to experience them like they never have.”

The addition of Shark Bridge will triple the viewing area above the Surrounded by Sharks tank prior to guests exiting the aquarium.

Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks
Coinciding with the opening of Shark Bridge in mid-April, extremely rare scalloped hammerhead sharks will be added to the Surrounded by Sharks exhibit.

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Newport Aquarium will be the first institution in North America to exhibit multiple scalloped hammerhead sharks.

This exhibition of scalloped hammerheads will help communicate the species’ conservation message to the public.

Newport Aquarium is working with field researchers from Hawaii, where the new hammerheads originated, to educate the public about scalloped hammerhead conservation.

The scalloped hammerheads will join 17 other sharks currently in the Surrounded by Sharks exhibit that include sand tiger, zebra, sandbar, blacktip, whitetip and nurse sharks.

Canyon Falls (featuring Otters)
Coming in mid-March, Newport Aquarium will open its newest exhibit, Canyon Falls, which will occupy the area that currently houses the Turtle Canyon exhibit.

Canyon Falls will be the new home to Asian small-clawed otters, which are back by popular demand after the aquarium previously exhibited otters from 2004 to 2013.

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Asian small-clawed otters are returning to Newport Aquarium in mid-March.

Newport Aquarium will offer scheduled otter talks at Canyon Falls that provide guests educational opportunities to learn more about otters and otter conservation.

Other additions to Canyon Falls include two species of lizard never before seen at Newport Aquarium – yellow monitor, a rare and active tree-dwelling lizard from Indonesia, and panther chameleon, one of the most colorful lizards in the world from Madagascar.

Remaining in Canyon Falls will be Thunder, a more than 100-year-old snapping turtle and Newport Aquarium’s oldest resident, as well as the Turtle Corral, where guests have the unique opportunity to touch several species of tortoises.

Weeki Wachee Mermaids
Mermaids from Weeki Wachee Springs, Fla., will return to Newport Aquarium in October. The announcement of their return comes on the heels of their wildly popular 10-day visit to Newport Aquarium in October 2014, which was the 67-year-old institution’s first visit to the Midwest.

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Weeki Wachee Mermaids will make a second engagement at Newport Aquarium in October.

Further details of Weeki Wachee Mermaids returning to Newport Aquarium will be announced on a later date.

Scuba Santa’s® Water Wonderland
A newly reimagined Scuba Santa’s® Water Wonderland will return for its 13th season on Nov. 27. The 2015 edition of Scuba Santa® promises to offer guests new features and experiences. Further details will be provided on a later date.

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A newly re-imagined Scuba Santa’s Water Wonderland will make its debut in November.

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

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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

Alligator Snapping Turtle Thunder is a Newport Aquarium Mainstay

At more than 100 years old,  Thunder the alligator snapping turtle is the oldest animal at Newport Aquarium.

At more than 100 years old, Thunder the alligator snapping turtle is the oldest animal at Newport Aquarium.

If you came to Newport Aquarium when it opened to the public May 15, 1999, chances are you got to see our large alligator snapping turtle, graciously named Thunder.

If you’ve been to Newport Aquarium recently, chances are you’ve also spotted Thunder.

At more than 100 years old, not only is Thunder the oldest animal at Newport Aquarium, he’s also one of the original animals to go on display when we first opened.

Since the aquarium opened, Thunder has been in a tank near the Gator Alley exhibit. That is up until last week, when he was moved to the “Temple tank” at the new Turtle Canyon exhibit, which opens to the public March 22.

Alligator snapping turtles are one of the largest turtle species in North America. Across the U.S., populations of turtle species – including alligator snapping turtles – face a variety of environmental issues including water quality, habitat loss or degradation and hunting.

Saved from a butcher’s block, Thunder was rescued from a Louisiana market because of his large size. He moved to a turtle farm in Missouri before calling Newport Aquarium his home.

Due to both these natural and synthetic factors, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service lists alligator snapping turtles as an endangered species. These factors are also why it’s rare to see an alligator snapping turtle the size of Thunder in the wild.

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Thunder, like other alligator snapping turtles, is an ambush predator and prefers to hide and wait for his food to swim by. Then – SNAP – he catches it by surprise.

Newport Aquarium biologists describe Thunder as a picky eater, especially when it comes to mackerel. He gets fed roughly twice per week, but can go weeks without eating due to the low amount of calories needed.

Often you can find smaller fish swimming in the tank with Thunder as he awaits for a larger, more appetizing meal. If fish enter his tank small and grow to be medium-to-large sized, Thunder probably will not try to eat them. However, if you were to throw in a large bass into his tank, after an about hour chances are Thunder has taken a bite out of it.

One of the unique personality traits of Thunder is his penchant to practice yoga in the mornings; keepers often spot him stretching out his limbs first thing in the a.m.

Visit Newport Aquarium’s official blog – aquariumworks.org – to read #TurtleTuesday updates.

Turtle Canyon to Open at Newport Aquarium in March 2014

Newport Aquarium will feature three of the largest turtle species in the world

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NEWPORT, Ky.Newport Aquarium announced Tuesday, Feb. 18, the addition of Turtle Canyon, a thrilling new exhibit set to open to the public March 22, 2014.

Turtle Canyon will feature a diverse collection of more than 14 species spanning three continents. From the largest tortoise species in the world, the Galapagos tortoise, to the smallest tortoise species in the Northern Hemisphere, the Egyptian tortoise, Turtle Canyon will showcase turtles of all shapes and sizes.

Following a renovation of the Rainforest exhibit, Turtle Canyon will allow guests to view turtles up close and personal from multiple angles and vantage points. The new exhibit will include a turtle corral, which offers guests the unique opportunity to touch a variety of these adorable shelled creatures, including one of North America’s largest tortoise species, the Gopher tortoise.

Two massive turtles are set to anchor the exhibits inside Turtle Canyon, giving Newport Aquarium a total of three of the largest turtle species in the world.

Bravo is a more than 600-pound Galapagos tortoise, the largest species of land turtle in the world. (Photo courtesy of Riverbanks Zoo and Garden)

Bravo is a more than 600-pound Galapagos tortoise, the largest species of land turtle in the world. (Photo courtesy of Riverbanks Zoo and Garden)

A 118-pound alligator snapping turtle named Thunder will make his new digs at Turtle Canyon. Believed to be more than 100 years of age, Thunder is the oldest resident at Newport Aquarium.

At more than 100 years old,  Thunder the alligator snapping turtle is the oldest animal at Newport Aquarium.

At more than 100 years old, Thunder the alligator snapping turtle is the oldest animal at Newport Aquarium.

Newport Aquarium mainstay Denver, the mischievous 200-pound loggerhead sea turtle with a three-foot-long shell, will continue to roam the waters of the Surrounded by Sharks exhibit. When he first arrived at Newport in 2003, Denver was treated for an air pocket caught under his shell that made it difficult for him to dive and swim. Now completely healed, Denver serves as the aquarium’s ambassador to its sea turtle conservation efforts.

Denver, our nearly 200-pound loggerhead sea turtle, serves an ambassador to Newport Aquarium's sea turtle conservation efforts.

Denver, our nearly 200-pound loggerhead sea turtle, serves an ambassador to Newport Aquarium’s sea turtle conservation efforts.

The newest member of the aquarium’s turtle family is a sixth-month-old, 1.9-pound loggerhead who was put on display at the Shore Gallery exhibit on Tuesday. After hatching in August at Emerald Isle, N.C., this female loggerhead has been fostered by the Newport Aquarium husbandry staff since late October. Her journey of survival has been documented on Newport Aquarium’s official blog, aquariumworks.org.

Newport Aquarium needs your help naming its young loggerhead sea turtle. Fans can vote on Newport Aquarium's Facebook page from Feb. 18-24, 2014.

Newport Aquarium needs your help naming its young loggerhead sea turtle. Fans can vote on Newport Aquarium’s Facebook page from Feb. 18-24, 2014.

Fans can help name this young loggerhead by voting on Newport Aquarium’s Facebook page. Voting begins Feb. 18 and runs through Feb. 24.

For more information on Turtle Canyon, visit NewportAquarium.com or call toll free 800-406-FISH (3474). Visit the aquarium’s Facebook page for #TurtleTuesday posts.

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Newport Aquarium, the No. 1 aquarium in the country according to USA Today’s 10Best.com, showcases thousands of animals from around the world in a million gallons of water. Named a 2013 top U.S. aquarium by Travel Channel, 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