Weeki Wachee Mermaids return to Newport Aquarium Sept. 25-Oct. 12

Special engagement extended to 18 days for 2015 due to popular demand

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NEWPORT, Ky. — The world-famous Mermaids from Weeki Wachee Springs (Fla.) State Park will return to Greater Cincinnati this fall to enchant Newport Aquarium guests Sept. 25 through Oct. 12.

“The Weeki Wachee Mermaids tremendously enjoyed their visit to Newport Aquarium in 2014,” said John Athanason, spokesperson for Weeki Wachee Springs State Park. “Because of the overwhelmingly positive response we received last year from the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky community, we have extended the Weeki Wachee Mermaids’ visit to 18 days this year, allowing them to engage with even more folks from the region.”

Included with admission to Newport Aquarium, guests will be able to see real-life mermaids clad in colorful fishtailed costumes gracefully glide through the aquarium’s 60,000-gallon Coral Reef tank, which that features nearly 200 aquatic animals and more than 50 species of fish, including a newly added zebra shark, from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily*.

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Newport Aquarium guests will also have the opportunity to personally meet a mermaid, as well as have their pictures taken in the aquarium’s Shark Ray Bay Theater from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30-3:30 p.m. daily*.

An exclusive event added to the Weeki Wachee Mermaids’ visit to Newport Aquarium is the Mermaid & Pirate Family Ball, an after-hours family-friendly costume party on Sept. 25 that includes appetizers and refreshments, a treasure hunt, dancing and a special mermaid meet-and-greet. Newport Aquarium is giving away a four-pack of tickets to the Mermaid & Pirate Family Ball to one lucky fan who enters its Facebook sweepstakes, which runs Sept. 7-14.

Also new for 2015, Newport Aquarium is offering a combo ticket with BB Riverboats, allowing the public to enjoy a full day of mermaids and pirates for one low price. The Meet the Mermaids, Cruise with the Pirates ticket is for Oct. 9 and includes admission to Newport Aquarium and the Pirates of the Ohio Cruise on the Belle of Cincinnati fleet, as well as a picnic-style buffet lunch in the Aquarium’s award-winning Riverside Room.

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Additional mermaid encounters at Newport Aquarium during the Weeki Wachee Mermaids’ 18-day engagement include Breakfast with a Mermaid on Oct. 4 and Oct. 11.

Tickets are limited for Mermaid & Pirate Family Ball, the Meet the Mermaids, Cruise with the Pirates combo, and Breakfast with a Mermaid are available for purchase at NewportAquarium.com.

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

The mermaids are travelling from Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, a freshwater spring north of Tampa, Fla., home of underwater mermaid appearances and performances since 1947.

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

*Mermaid dive and meet-and-greet times are subject to change. Check website for schedule.

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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. The Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky jewel attraction is home to: The world’s first and only Shark Bridge; the world’s first Shark Ray Breeding Program; Mighty Mike – the biggest and baddest American alligator outside the state of Florida; the largest and most diverse collection of sharks in the Midwest; and one of the world’s largest and most diverse penguin exhibits. 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.

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

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

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(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.

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“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.

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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