Tail Talk: Weeki Wachee Mermaids at Newport Aquarium

By Madison Wallace, Newport Aquarium PR Aide

Mermaid Taylor interacts with children while swimming in Newport Aquarium's Coral Reef tunnel.

Mermaid Taylor interacts with children while swimming in Newport Aquarium’s Coral Reef tank.

NEWPORT, Ky. — Guests visiting Newport Aquarium might be surprised and delighted to find that mermaids have joined the finned inhabitants of our Coral Reef exhibit.

For the second year in a row, the Weeki Wachee Mermaids have made their way upstream from their home in Weeki Wachee, Fla.

Weeki Wachee is home to the deepest naturally occurring spring in North America. Crystal clear and seemingly bottomless, this spring is the highlight of the 538-acre Florida state park—and happens to be home to more mermaids than humans!

Looking into the pristine waters of Weeki Wachee Springs, it seems as though the spring should be inhabited by mermaids.

In 1947, Newton Perry, a U.S. Navy veteran, was inspired by this very vision and purchased the springs.

Seeing a potential business, Perry invented a more natural-looking method of underwater breathing and constructed a 16-seat underwater theater alongside the spring.

As a previous Navy diving trainer, Perry was more than capable of teaching aspiring mermaids to perform 20-feet under the water breathing off of air hoses—in a tail no less!

In no time, Perry’s mermaids began to attract attention, performing shows daily.

By the 1950s, women were traveling from as far as Tokyo to audition to become a Weeki Wachee Mermaid, and celebrities like Elvis were attending shows.

Elvis Presley visited the Weeki Wachee Mermaids in 1961.

Elvis Presley visited the Weeki Wachee Mermaids in 1961.

For the past 60 years, Weeki Wachee has carried on the same mysterious and enchanting legacy of mermaids, and has since become a Fla. State Park—technically making the Weeki Wachee mermaids government employees!

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park continues to offer three mermaid shows daily, based on the story of “The Little Mermaid”.

In addition to performing, the Weeki Wachee Mermaids have hit the road, traveling as far the United Kingdom, and regularly visit aquariums across the U.S.

But … What does it take to become a traveling, Weeki Wachee Mermaid?

Well, according to Mermaid Chelsea, almost a full year of intense training.

“It’s not like ‘here’s a mermaid tail, here’s an air hose, breathe’,” said Mermaid Chelsea, laughing. “It’s a step-by-step process.”

After becoming scuba certified (which is a requirement), mermaid trainees first practice all of the underwater choreography without a tail, learning how to master the constant 5 mph currents present in the springs.

Mermaid Chelsea has been a professional mermaid for 3 1/2 years.

Mermaid Chelsea has been a professional mermaid for 3 1/2 years.

The next step is to practice the same choreography 20-feet underwater, breathing through an air hose. Only after those are mastered, do mermaid trainees attempt them in a tail.

But, once you pass your mermaid test, you’re basically a mermaid for life.

“Once you’re in, it’s like a mermaid sorority. We’re all so close,” said Mermaid Chelsea. “We have to trust one another with everything we do.”

An average day in the life of a mermaid often includes two to three hours of underwater performances, and often features appearances from manatees, sea turtles, otters and even alligators.

The Weeki Wachee Mermaids also regularly perform choreographed shows at aquariums, but here at Newport Aquarium, they have the opportunity to interact with each guest one-on-one.

“I love Newport Aquarium. I love the fact that it’s up close and personal. Every kid almost gets his or her own personal interaction with a mermaid!,” said Mermaid Chelsea.

The Weeki Wachee Mermaids at Newport Aquarium can be seen swimming in the Coral Reef tank from 11 a.m to 4 p.m. through Oct. 12.

After encountering these amazing creatures here at Newport Aquarium, it’s possible that you might just be interested in becoming one yourself.

“Just keep swimming. Really practice, and feel free to come try out. We have tryouts all the time!,” said Mermaid Chelsea.

But, if you’re not interested in quitting your day job, Weeki Wachee Springs also offers weekend-long Adventures of the Spring Mermaid Camps for children and Sirens of the Deep Mermaid Camps for adults.

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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

Nauti Nite, the WAVE Foundation’s largest annual fundraiser, set for Oct. 2 at Newport Aquarium

NEWPORT, Ky. — The WAVE Foundation, an independent nonprofit in partnership with Newport Aquarium, invites the public to paint the night blue for ocean conservation Oct. 2 at the 10th annual Nauti Nite fundraiser presented by PM/PC Direct Inc.

“Nauti Nite is one of the premier fundraisers for conservation in Greater Cincinnati,” said Scott Wingate, the WAVE Foundation’s execute director. “The funds generated during this ‘Party with the Penguins’ help the WAVE Foundation to serve as an advocate for marine life and to educate children throughout the community about the importance of conservation.”

Nauti Nite attendees are encouraged to wear their favorite blue cocktail attire as they celebrate the largest WAVE Foundation fundraiser of the year and party with Newport Aquarium’s adorable, tuxedoed African penguins.

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Proceeds raised from Nauti Nite directly benefit the WAVE Foundation’s education and conservation programs, such as the Finstitute, which serves more than 20,000 students per year through outreach programs, classes and aquarium visits.

Held at Newport Aquarium from 7:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., Nauti Nite will feature local catering, live music, a silent auction and exotic animal encounters, in addition to exclusive after-hours access to the one of the top-rated aquariums in the U.S.

Guests will have the opportunity to explore Newport Aquarium’s more than 90 unique exhibits, observe the beauty of aquatic life, enjoy food and beverages from dozens of Greater Cincinnati’s favorite eateries and listen to live music.

Tickets to Nauti Nite are available at wavefoundation.org for $75 per person, $140 per couple, and include unlimited food and beverages. Newport Aquarium Annual Passholders receive a 20-percent discount on Nauti Nite tickets.

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In 2014, Nauti Nite generated more than $50,000 to further the WAVE Foundation’s mission of promoting the welfare of aquatic life through advocacy, volunteerism and education.

For more information on Newport Aquarium, visit NewportAquarium.com or call toll free 800-406-FISH (3474). To learn more about the WAVE Foundation, visit wavefoundation.org.

About the WAVE Foundation at Newport Aquarium:
The WAVE Foundation is an independent, educational nonprofit organization at Newport Aquarium, which strives to excite, engage and educate the community about aquatic life and the importance of conservation. Its programming initiatives exist in three core areas: education, conservation and volunteerism. WAVE provides unique education curriculum and experiences for students of all ages; supports and provides leadership in local, national and global conservation efforts; and has a vibrant volunteer program with more than 500 dedicated volunteers.

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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.

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

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

WAVE Foundation at Newport Aquarium, Thomas More College announce marine biology lecture series

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NEWPORT, Ky.Thomas More College and the WAVE Foundation, a nonprofit in partnership with Newport Aquarium, have announced the launch of a new speaker series focused on marine biology and conservation.

Starting Sept. 9 at the award-winning Riverside Room at Newport Aquarium, the Marine Biology & Conservation Lecture Series features an exciting lineup of scientists, educators, explorers and conservationists who will speak on the topic of marine systems and their safeguarding.

“We are very excited about the caliber of speakers for this inaugural year of the lecture series. Each presenter is a renowned expert in the fields of marine biology and conservation and will speak about their ongoing research programs,” said professor Christopher Lorentz, director of TMC’s environmental science program and of the school’s Biology Field Station.

The lecture series is part of Thomas More College’s partnership with Newport Aquarium and the WAVE Foundation, which formally began in August 2014 when the school launched its new marine biology degree program, the first of its kind in the state of Kentucky.

Thomas More College Biology Field Station.

Thomas More College Biology Field Station.

Each lecture includes light appetizers and drinks, live animal encounters and a question-and-answer session.

The first three dates of the series have been confirmed, starting on Sept. 9 with the “Ocean Doctor” David E. Guggenheim, a marine scientist and submarine pilot who navigated the first manned submersible dives into the world’s largest underwater canyons inside the Bering Sea.

The second speaker in the series will be Craig O’Connell on Jan. 20, 2016. O’Connell was featured on several Discovery Channel programs during Shark Week 2015 for his research on the electrosensitivity of hammerhead sharks.

Lucy Hawkes is the third confirmed speaker of the lecture series on May 18, 2016. Hawkes is a physiological ecologist whose work focuses on the costs and drivers of migration in vertebrates using emergent technology.

Tickets for each lecture series are $20 for the public, or $15 for Newport Aquarium Annual Passholders and Thomas More College students. Registration for this event is available at wavefoundation.org/education/lecture-series.

Date Guest Speaker Lecture Theme
Sept. 9, 2015 Dr. David E. Guggenheim Lessons from the Deep: What the Oceans are Telling Us and Why it Matters
Jan. 20, 2016 Dr. Craig O’Connell Living with Sharks
May 18, 2016 Dr. Lucy Hawkes Thirty-Four Years of Tracking Sea Turtles: What We Now Know and How We Can Use it in Conservation

For more information on Newport Aquarium, visit NewportAquarium.com or call toll free 800-406-FISH (3474). Visit thomasmore.edu/marine for more information about the marine biology program at Thomas More College.

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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.

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

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

Newport Aquarium to offer free admission to police, fire and first responders during Fire & Safety Weekend, Sept. 11-13

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NEWPORT, Ky. — In recognition of Patriot Day, Newport Aquarium will offer free admission to first responders during Fire & Safety Weekend, Sept. 11-13.

“The men and women working in law enforcement, firefighting and first-response professions are our heroes,” said Eric Rose, executive director of Newport Aquarium. “Fire and Safety Weekend is a way Newport Aquarium can show them our appreciation for everything they do for our communities.”

Police officers, firefighters, EMTs, state troopers, correction officers, 911 dispatchers and other professionals involved in law enforcement, investigations and emergency response can receive free admission by presenting their professional credential, along with a valid government-issued photo ID, at the Newport Aquarium ticket window.Ric and Paula with Cincinnati Police Officers

Also during Fire & Safety Weekend, family members and friends who accompany police, firefighters and first responders at the Newport Aquarium ticket window can receive discounts of $3 off adult and $2 off child (ages 2-12) admission. Family and friends must be present at the time the first responder orders their ticket in order to receive the Fire & Safety Weekend discount.

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

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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.

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

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

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

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

Mermaids2015_GoogleCoverPhoto

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*.

Mermaid collage

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.

MermaidPirateCombo_header

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.

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

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

WAVE Foundation at Newport Aquarium to test public’s water knowledge at Water for Life event

Water For Life

The WAVE Foundation at Newport Aquarium will be one of 26 educational booths at the Water for Life event on Sunday, July 26, located just outside the Aquarium at the Newport on the Levee plaza.

NEWPORT, Ky. — Guests can meet an alligator and test their water knowledge through the WAVE Foundation, Newport Aquarium’s nonprofit partner, during the second annual Water for Life event on Sunday, July 26, located at the Newport on the Levee plaza and Riverboat Row.

“Newport Aquarium, as well as our partners at the WAVE Foundation, strives to promote the importance of water conservation and water quality every day,” said Chris Pierson, operations director at Newport Aquarium, which in April received an Earth Day Award from the Kentucky Environmental Quality Commission for featuring a “Water Story” throughout its exhibits. “The Water for Life event aligns with our water-conservation message and provides a fun opportunity to engage the community about the water story.”

Water for life flyer_finalA free event open to the public, Water for Life runs from 2-5 p.m. and will feature food, games and nearly 30 educational booths with interactive and fun ways for people of all ages to celebrate our most precious resource, water, while highlighting the importance and value of water conservation and quality.

Water samples from Newport Aquarium’s Shark and Amazon tanks, as well as from the Ohio River, will be set up at the WAVE Foundation booth, where guests can guess the source of the samples based on pH, salinity and temperature.

Additionally, Newport Aquarium’s Garry the gator will greet guests from the WAVE Foundation booth throughout the event.

Garry the gator

Kids who pick up a booth passport upon their arrival at Water for Life can get their passport stamped each time they complete an activity at a booth. Once a booth passport is completed, kids can earn a free snow cone from Kona Ice, along with other prizes.

Inflatable Slide

Similar to last year’s Water for Life event in Chattanooga, Tenn., this year’s Water for Life event in Newport, Ky., will feature an inflatable slide.

In addition to the nearly 30 interactive booths, Water for Life will include an inflatable slide and a water tasting competition.

Water for Life kicks off the 2015 Kentucky-Tennessee Water Professionals Conference, which runs from July 26-29, when approximately 1,500 water professionals will gather in Northern Kentucky to learn and network about water issues affecting the customers and communities they serve. The Northern Kentucky Water District and Sanitation District No. 1 are the conference’s co-hosts.

For more information on Newport Aquarium, visit NewportAquarium.com or call toll free 800-406-FISH (3474). To learn more about the WAVE Foundation, visit wavefoundation.org.

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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.

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

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

Make-A-Wish kids visit Newport Aquarium, meet Paula the penguin, prior to attending 2015 MLB All-Star Game

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Newport Aquarium animal ambassador Ric Urban and Paula the penguin met four Make-A-Wish All-Star kids and their families before the Wish kids attend the MLB All-Star Game.

NEWPORT, Ky. — Four children supported by the Make-A-Wish® Foundation visited Newport Aquarium on Tuesday morning (July 14) as part of their wish to attend the Major League Baseball All-Star Game.

Before they attend the All-Star Game later in the evening, the Make-A-Wish® kids received an exclusive penguin encounter at the Kroger Penguin Palooza exhibit, where they met Paula the African penguin.

After getting their photos taken with Paula and learning about the biology and conservation of penguins, the Wish kids went on a personal tour of Newport Aquarium led by Ric Urban, animal ambassador for the Aquarium.

Wish Kids

The Make-A-Wish kids were:

  • Carson, 15, of Almo, Kentucky, who is battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia
  • Christopher, 14, from New Jersey, who is fighting kidney disease
  • Riley, 13, from California, who is battling kidney disease
  • Nathan, 15, from Nebraska, who has Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Following the end of their tour, the Wish kids were presented with Newport Aquarium backpacks filled with aquarium memorabilia and souvenirs. Additionally, Digiphoto Entertainment Imaging provided the Wish kids complimentary photos taken throughout the tour.

Wish Kids 2

MLB coordinated the Wish kids’ visit to Newport Aquarium through the Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana chapter of the Make-A-Wish® Foundation.

In addition to visiting Newport Aquarium during their stay in Cincinnati, the Wish kids participated in MLB activities that included the T-Mobile All-Star FanFest; the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game and the All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game (Sunday) and the Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders (Monday).

Tuesday evening, the four Make-A-Wish® kids will have their wishes granted by attending the 86th MLB All-Star Game at Great American Ball Park.

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.

Facebook: Facebook.com/NewportAquarium
Twitter: @NewportAquarium
Instagram: @newport_aquarium

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

Shark Week to feature beneficiary of WAVE Foundation at Newport Aquarium

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NEWPORT, Ky. — A beneficiary of the WAVE Foundation, Newport Aquarium’s nonprofit organization, will be on Shark Week programming on Discovery Channel this week.

“There will be some Shark Week appearances that were partly made possible by the WAVE Foundation,” said Dr. Craig O’Connell, co-founder of the O’Seas Conservation Foundation (OCF). “If it wasn’t for (the WAVE Foundation’s) funding, I wouldn’t have been able to follow my passion for shark conservation.”

O’Connell and his work with the OCF will be in the follow Shark Week episodes:

Ninja Sharks (Wednesday, July 8 | 10 p.m. ET)

Shark After Dark (Thursday, July 9 | 11 p.m. ET)

Shark Island (Sunday, July 12 | 8 p.m. ET)

OSEAS

In 2014, the WAVE Foundation contributed $4,500 to the OCF to assist with shark science and youth education. The funds were used to help study the life history characteristics of the common thresher shark, smooth hammerhead and white shark in the Atlantic Ocean near the New York and New Jersey. WAVE Foundation’s donation was also used to develop a youth education program to provide students with skills to excel in marine biology.

By integrating shark tagging with youth education, this innovative approach has increased the knowledge pertaining to an understudied species and has helped secure our future through the education and motivation of our environmentally conscious youth.

“The funds from the WAVE Foundation have been put to good use,” said O’Connell. “We have made many discoveries, including observing common thresher, white, smooth hammerheads, and huge mako sharks feeding around our longlines. This will yield a complexity of studies that will largely contribute to species conservation!”

O’Connell stated the most important aspect of the WAVE Foundation’s contributions were the marine biology experience gained for his approximate 25 students, who range from 5th to 12th grade.

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“The funds from the WAVE Foundation were used to essentially sponsor these kids and the experience they gained, and the smiles they left, which is something I will forever cherish, so I want to thank you again,” said O’Connell. “This funding has changed my life!”

The WAVE Foundation also contributed to the OCS in 2013 in the amount of $750, which was used to purchase materials necessary for one of O’Connell’s project aimed to decrease the amount of shark mortalities caused by beach nets and produce an eco-friendly alternate solution to netting in the form of magnets.

About WAVE Foundation
The WAVE Foundation is an independent, educational non-profit organization at Newport Aquarium, which strives to excite, engage and educate the community about aquatic life and the importance of conservation. Its programming initiatives exist in three core areas: education, conservation and volunteerism. WAVE provides unique education curriculum and experiences for students of all ages; supports and provides leadership in local, national and global conservation efforts; and has a vibrant volunteer program with over 500 dedicated volunteers.

About O’Seas Conservation Foundation
Established in 2013, the O’Seas Conservation Foundation (OCF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that actively participates in wildlife conservation projects all over the world. Founded by Dr. Craig O’Connell and Dr. Nicole O’Connell, OCF was established to conduct local and global conservation engineering, population dynamics, and other field studies focusing on some of the most endangered species on the planet.  However, with a home base in New York, OCF’s key focus is to characterize the shark, skate and ray fauna in local waters to help obtain valuable population dynamics and structure-related data for several critical species.  Besides this, OCF is unique in that it runs summer programs for 6th-12th graders, giving them the opportunity to be part of shark research projects and inspiring them to pursue a career in the field of conservation/marine biology.

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
Instagram: @newport_aquarium

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

Newport Aquarium announces All-Star roster

NEWPORT, Ky. — Thousands of baseball fans are expected to flock to Cincinnati this July for the 2015 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.

This year’s Midsummer Classic will be played on July 14, 2015, at Great American Ball Park – which is the home of the Cincinnati Reds and located just a Babe Ruth home run away from Newport Aquarium across the Ohio River.BUYNOW2_ButtonAs excitement mounts for watching baseball’s best play on one field, for one game, to determine whether the American League or National League pennant winner receives home-field advantage in the World Series, a lot of discussion has sparked among Newport Aquarium staff over who is most deserving of making the All-Star teams.

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Welcome to the MLB All-Star Game in Cincinnati from Newport Aquarium!

This conversation inevitably led to the question, “If Newport Aquarium had an All-Star team, who would crack the starting lineup?”

After intense debate, we finally came up with a consensus. Ladies and gentlemen, your Newport Aquarium All-Stars:

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Pos. Name Species Scouting Report
1B Mighty Mike American Alligator The biggest and baddest alligator outside the state of Florida displays the raw power desired from a corner infielder.
2B Kevin Bacon King Penguin Chick This rookie is a natural diver, which is great for fielding groundballs up the middle.
SS Cal Sand Tiger Shark When you’re named after Cal Ripken Jr., it’s practically assumed that you play shortstop.
3B Paula African Penguin Aside from being a great base runner (as evidenced by the video above), this South Africa native feels right at home at the hot corner.
C Denver Loggerhead Sea Turtle His shell provides natural padding for blocking wild pitches from behind home plate.
P Pork Chop Asian-Small Clawed Otter This “southpaw” was one of the few animals at Newport Aquarium with the arm to pitch.
LF Sweet Pea Shark Ray Sweet Pea has a knack for finding the “Sweet Spot” of the bat.
CF Hercules Arapaima Fish His ability to jump out of the water to catch prey translates well to center field, where he can rob potential home run balls.
RF Greg Sandbar Shark Named after power-hitting outfielder Greg Vaughn, who played for the Reds in 1999, Newport Aquarium’s first year.

The team would be managed by Thunder, a more than 100-year-old alligator snapping turtle and Newport Aquarium’s oldest resident, who has the experience to lead this group to victory.

What are your thoughts on Newport Aquarium’s All-Star roster? Did we hit a home run or swing and miss? Give us your thoughts with a comment below!BUYNOW2_ButtonPacket Pickup for The Color Run MLB All-Star 5K, presented by Nike: Newport Aquarium will be staffing the packet-pickup operations for The Color Run MLB All-Star 5K, presented by Nike. Registered racers can pick up their packets from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 9-10 near the old IMAX building adjacent to Newport Aquarium and near the valet circle next to Brio Tuscan Grille at Newport on the Levee. The Color Run MLB All-Star 5K, presented by Nike begins July 11 at 9 a.m. AllStarGame.com/Run

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Summer Family Hours: Newport Aquarium is making a splash this summer with the return of its Summer Family Hours promotion, when up to two children (ages 2-12) receive FREE admission between 4-7 p.m. with the purchase of one full-priced adult ticket. This family-favorite offer is available for purchase online only, at newportaquarium.com, for visits now through Aug. 31, Sundays through Fridays.

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
Instagram: @newport_aquarium

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

Happy #SMDay from Newport Aquarium!

NAQ entranceNEWPORT, Ky. — On this #SMDay (Social Media Day), Newport Aquarium would like to take the time to say ‘Thank You’ to our more than 100,000 fans across all of our multiple social media networks.

Launched in 2010, Social Media Day was created by Mashable to celebrate social media’s impact on communication worldwide. Social media has grown immensely over the years and projects to become an even bigger part of people’s everyday lives moving forward.

City of Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley even proclaimed June 30, 2015, as Social Media Day in Cincinnati (or #SMdayCincy)!

At Newport Aquarium, we like to use social media to for a number of different reasons – to educate, to entertain, to inform and, most importantly, to connect with our fans.

We want to make our fans laugh, teach them about interesting animal facts, raise awareness about conservation efforts and provide useful information regarding Newport Aquarium.

We love seeing photos, videos and posts from our guests, as well as feedback and suggestions to help us improve your social media experience.

For a quick reference, here is a directory of all of our social media networks:

Facebook

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The next time you publish a post about Newport Aquarium (especially on Twitter and Instagram) tag it with #NewportAquarium. We use a number of different hashtags throughout the year, but you can’t go wrong with the aforementioned #NewportAquarium.

If you have any suggestions on ways we can provide a better social media experience for you, we would love to hear them. Feel free to leave your suggestions with a comment on this blog post.

Happy #SocialMediaDay2015!

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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
Instagram: @newport_aquarium

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