Shark Week: Meet our Sharks

Since 1988, Shark Week has become almost a national holiday, popularized by Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, these amazing creatures have been a source of our own curiosity for decades. Newport Aquarium, Shark Capital of the Midwest, is home to nearly 50 sharks of all sizes! Make your way down to the aquarium this Shark Week to discover the wonder of sharks!

Shark Central

Guests can touch five species of sharks in the Shark Central touch tank.

Shark Central

Shark Central is home to more than a dozen smaller kelp forest sharks that guests can touch. With the proper two-finger touch technique, guests can have a personal encounter with these amazing creatures. Here are some of the different types of sharks guest can meet in Shark Central:

Horn Shark

The California Horn Shark hails from the waters of Southern California, Baja California,

Port Jackson, California Horn Shark

A Port Jackson shark (left) rests at the bottom of the tank next to the smaller California horn shark.

Galapagos Islands, and off the coast of Ecuador and Peru. Growing up to 48 inches in length, these little guys prefer kelp forests, sea caves, rocky reefs, and sand flats as their home. The horn shark’s diet consists of mainly urchins, crabs, abalones and other small invertebrates.

 

Leopard Catshark

This shark, reaching only about 34 inches in length prefers to hide safely in the bottoms of rocky reefs in small crevices.

napping sharks

A leopard catshark rests on top a pile of pyjama sharks. These sharks often take a nap in a pile.

These sharks are found mainly around southern and western South Africa. At night, the leopard cat shark leaves its hiding place to hunt for small fish, octopuses, worms, and crustaceans.

Leopard Shark

Not to be confused with the leopard catshark, these sharks might be small now but one day they could reach lengths of up to 7 feet.

leopard sharks

Leopard sharks can reach up to 7-feet long.

They prefer shallow, muddy, rocky and sandy areas like kelp forests. Their diet consists of mainly rays, bony fish, shrimp, octopuses, crabs, clams and worms. You can find these sharks in the eastern Pacific, from Oregon all the way down to Baja, California.

Port Jackson Shark

At full size, Port Jackson sharks can reach lengths of about 5.5 feet. These sharks love the waters of Southern Australia where they feed on mollusks, crustaceans, urchins and fish.

Port Jackson

The Port Jackson shark has a unique color pattern with dark, harness-like markings that cover the eyes, back and sides.

You can find them roaming through sandy, muddy and rocky environments as well as sea grass beds. There are two Port Jackson sharks in Shark Central. Their names are Sheila and PJ.

Striped Catshark     

Also commonly known as the pyjama shy shark, these sharks grow up to 40 inches long.

Pyjama shark

The striped catshark is also known as the Pyjama shark or shy shark.

They prefer rocky reefs, seas caves and crevices during the day and leave at night to hunt for crustaceans, fish, sharks, rays, worms, and cephalopods. The striped catsharks is mainly found around southern South Africa and southwestern Indian Ocean.

Surrounded by Sharks

This exhibit provides a truly unique experience for all those fascinated by sharks. Walk through the tunnels under a 385,000-gallon tank and watch as these fierce-looking and beautiful creatures swim right over your head. On your way out make your way to Shark Bridge and see if you have what it takes to DARE TO CROSS. Surrounded by Sharks is home to sand tiger sharks, zebra sharks, blacktip reef sharks, a nurse shark and shark rays.

Zebra Shark

Reaching up to 8 feet long, these sharks live in coral and rocky reefs as well as sea grass beds.

zebra shark

Zebra sharks are born with strips, which change into small dark spots as they mature.

They are mainly found in the Indo-Pacific from South Africa to the Red Sea in the West. Our zebra shark is named Roo!

Shark Rays

Shark Rays, also known as bowmouth guitarfish, live in tropical coastal waters of the western Indo-Pacific at depths of around 300 feet.

SharkRay_Group

Newport Aquarium is home to four shark rays: Sweet Pea, Scooter, Sunshine and Spike.

Usually found close the sea floor, the shark ray likes sandy or muddy areas where they can feed on bony fishes, crustaceans and mollusks. Newport Aquarium is home to four sharks rays: Sweet Pea, Scooter, Sunshine, and Spike.

Nurse Shark

Nurse sharks rest during the day. They have the lowest metabolic rate of any other assessed shark species.

Nurse Shark

Ziggy the nurse shark, rests alongside one of the tunnels in Surrounded by Sharks.

Nurse sharks live in shallow mangrove forests, sand flats, reefs, seagrass beds, and man-made objects. Reaching lengths of 14 feet, this shark hails from the eastern Atlantic, western Atlantic, and the eastern Pacific oceans. They feed on mainly mollusks, tunicates, crustaceans, octopuses, fish, sea snakes and rays. Look for Ziggy the nurse shark the next time you enter the tunnels of Surrounded by Sharks.

Sand Tiger Sharks

Sand tiger sharks reach lengths of up to 10.5 feet long. They are found in many temperate and tropical waters including shallow bays, inlets, coral and rocky reefs, shipwrecks and shelf drops.

Sand Tiger shark

All those teeth might make them look ferocious, but sand tiger sharks are a relatively docile, non-aggressive species.

These sharks are found almost everywhere except portions of the eastern Pacific. There are three sand tiger sharks at Newport Aquarium: Cal, Al, and Dan.

Blacktip Reef Sharks

Typically between 4 to 5 feet in length, the black-tip reef shark lives in and near coral reefs.

black tip reef shark

Here’s a rare view (not available to the public) of a black tip reef shark from the top of the feeding platform over Surrounded by Sharks.

They prefer to feed on fish, squid, octopuses, and shrimp that are old, injured or already dead. They are found in many spots including western Pacific, northern Australia, southeastern China and the western Indian Ocean. There are 8 blacktip reef sharks here at Newport Aquarium.

 

Epaulette Shark

Found in two locations in Newport Aquarium: Dangerous and Deadly exhibit and Stingray Hideaway. These sharks have a unique characteristic! The spot on their back acts as a defense mechanism because it looks like the eye of a much larger animal.

Epaulette shark

Epaulette sharks, Rocky, Clubber & Apollo were part of the first traveling Shark Cart outreach program with Wave Foundation. Guests can now see them in the Dangerous and Deadly exhibit.

Most predators will fear the large eye looking shape and back off. These sharks grow to about three feet long. They live around coral reefs and tidal pools around New Guinea and Australia. They usually feed on crustaceans, worms, and small bony fish.

Epaulette shark

One of the epaulette sharks guests can touch in Stingray Hideaway.

 

Coral Catshark
The coral catshark is a small, slender shark with a narrow head and elongated, cat-like eyes.

CoralCatShark

Two guests visiting Stingray Hideaway interacting with one of the coral catsharks.

They are found along shallow coral reefs across the Indo-West Pacific, from Pakistan and India to Malaysia and Japan. Guests can see and touch a coral catshark in the Stingray Hideaway touchpool, along with epaulette sharks.

Swell Shark

Swell sharks are found in rocky kelp beds from central California to central Chile. At Newport Aquarium, guests can spot a few in the Pacific Coast tunnel leading into Seahorses: Unbridled Fun. A swell shark can expand by filling its stomach with air or water when it feels threatened.

Swell Shark

The next time you pass through the Pacific Coast Tunnel, going into Seahorses: Unbridled Fun, see if you can spot a swell shark resting at the bottom.

To learn more about the sharks in Shark Central, and the Aquatic Biologist who takes care of the sharks, check out our Takeover Tuesday with Scott Brehob.

Celebrate Shark Week at Newport Aquarium

Newport Aquarium is the Shark Capital of the Midwest and with so many shark habitats to SEA, TOUCH and EXPLORE, it’s the best place to celebrate Discovery Channel’s Shark Week.

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.

Visit July 23 through July 30 to see nearly 50 sharks up-close, including sand tigers, zebra sharks, black tips, nurse shark, shark rays and more! Newport Aquarium currently features more than a dozen species of sharks from oceans around the world.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Shark-Infested Activities:

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.

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 tank.

Dive Show

One of the shark rays swims by during a Dive Show.

Shark Tank Feed – Guests can watch biologists feed the sharks and shark rays from either the Shark Ray Bay Theater, the 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 dozens of sharks. An Animal Experience Specialist teaches guests the proper technique to touch sharks and helps them understand each species in this international collection.

Summer Family HoursGet free kid’s admission during Summer Family Hours. Sundays through Fridays, one kid (ages 2-12) gets in free after 4 p.m. with the purchase of one full-priced adult ticket. This offer is available until September 1, 2017 online only: https://www.newportaquarium.com/Visitor-Tips/Aquarium-Events/Summer-Family-Hours.

For more information, visit NewportAquarium.com or call 800-406-FISH (3474).

 

 

 

Midwest shark scientist begins groundbreaking research on secret lives of sharks

By: Nick Whitney, Senior Research Scientist

We announced last fall, the arrival of Dr. Nick Whitney at Newport Aquarium. Read more here: Newport Aquarium announced Renowned Shark Scientist, Nick Whitney, joined the Newport Aquarium team.

From the time I was a young kid growing up in Michigan I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up: a garbage man. What could be better than riding around on the back of a truck all day, wearing whatever you want, and playing your music at full blast?

As I grew up I tried various other jobs: I umpired softball but was always getting screamed at by half the people (the half that knew the rules). I worked construction for a while but accidentally shot my boss in the hand with a nail gun (he handled it well). I worked in an aquarium store but got fired for missing too much work (spring break trip to Florida).

With all of these career failures during high school, college seemed like a logical choice for me. I was intrigued by the work of Dr. Jeff Carrier, a professor at nearby Albion College (Albion, MI), who was studying sharks in the Florida Keys. A shark scientist in the Midwest? What a concept!

I had been fascinated with sharks all my life, and my experience in the aquarium industry (including breeding some endangered species in a series of tanks in my bedroom), made me the closest thing to a marine biology student that this professor could find at a small liberal arts college in Michigan.

Jeff took the time to meet with me and eventually invited me to come to Albion and help him with his shark research. It took me about half a second to accept this invitation, and as an undergraduate I spent three summers capturing, tagging, and tracking nurse sharks on their mating grounds in the Florida Keys. I had the time of my life – no one screamed at me, there were no nail guns, and my boss was the one sending me on spring break trips to Florida.

whitney-right-tagging

Nick Whitney tags a nurse shark while on a tagging exhibition  in the Florida Keys, as an undergrad at Albion College. Photo Credit: Dr. Jeffrey C. Carrier

I learned how to handle myself on the water and how to handle sharks without getting bitten (most of the time). I also learned science skills that made me a good candidate for graduate school at the University of Hawaii.

Working in Hawaii for 8 years and Florida for another 7 after that put me on the front lines of shark research, and in the process I started learning how to use a new type of tag called an accelerometer.

These tags use the same sensors found in Fitbits, smartphones, and video game controllers to reveal fine-scale details about the secret lives of sharks. I’ll talk more about these cool tools/toys in an upcoming post.

It’s now 2017 and you can do whatever you want from almost anywhere! Take it from a shark scientist working for an organization in Boston, MA (New England Aquarium) living in Cincinnati, OH, working in Newport, KY, who still does much of his fieldwork in Florida. It sounds complicated, and it took some time to set up, but so far it’s fantastic.

My research now focuses largely on what happens to sharks after they are caught and released by fishermen. Our tags allow us to determine whether the sharks live or die, and how long it takes them to recover and start swimming normally again.

I’m also involved with exciting research on the behavior of sea turtles and other species, and all of my work involves a heavy logistical component. By that I mean we often have to design and build new tag packages for different projects. So I spend a lot of time brainstorming ideas on how we can combine different tags, how we can attach them to animals, and how we can get them back.

sharktagging20150805_-19_small

This is one of the things I am excited to work on with my new colleagues at Newport Aquarium. I now have easy access to a number of different sharks and rays (and other species) just 20 minutes from my house. We will be taking advantage of this in the coming months by testing a number of different tag packages and attachment styles, some of which you may see on animals when you visit the aquarium.

The whole goal is to figure out the best way of attaching these tags so that they will stay on the animals without inhibiting them. This takes a lot of trial and error, so don’t be surprised if most of the tags you see are in various stages of falling off the shark. That means we’re learning!

img_2344_small

Photo Credit: Rob Nelson, UntamedScience.com

I’ll also be helping the biologists at Newport Aquarium to formalize and publicize some of the research they have already been doing over the past several years. This includes some groundbreaking work in breeding and rearing shark rays that reminds me a lot of my work with mating nurse sharks in the Keys. So exciting!

Now my kids get to come to Newport Aquarium almost weekly and are blown away by the place. They try very hard not to admit that their uncool dad has a cool job, but once they start walking through the exhibits they go bonkers. My 2 year old wakes up in the middle of the night and says, “Go see Dory?”

They may grow up to be garbage men, or umpires, or construction workers, or most likely some career that doesn’t even exist today. But if they decide to be shark scientists, they have every reason to believe they can do that from here, or anywhere in the country.

 

 

 

National Veterinary Technician Week 2016

This week is National Veterinary Technician Week. The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) recognizes veterinary technicians for their contributions in animal healthcare. Vet Techs are educated professionals who work closely with veterinarians to ensure the best quality of care for animals. We’d like to recognize Jolene Hanna, the Animal Health & Quarantine Manager and Veterinary Technician at Newport Aquarium. Thank you, Jolene for all that you do!

Jolene Hanna, RVT Animal Health & Quarantine Manager at Newport Aquarium, feeds a shark behind the scenes.

Jolene Hanna, RVT Animal Health & Quarantine Manager at Newport Aquarium, feeds a shark behind the scenes.

Why did you choose to become a vet tech?

“I always wanted to work with animals. As a teenager, I worked as kennel help at the local vet hospital and was given the opportunity to go out on farm calls and to watch surgeries on a regular basis.”

Hanna received her Bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology. “I always wanted to work with dolphins.”

As fate would have it, she ended up working with a completely different species – sharks! She helped launch the world’s first Shark Ray Breeding program, and ended up working with sharks here at Newport Aquarium.

After college, Hanna joined AmeriCorps and completed the Vet Tech program before coming to work at Newport Aquarium.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

“The possibilities are limitless. I don’t have a ‘typical’ day. I could be in the Antarctic or I could be diving in the Amazon tank. There’s always something new to learn.”

Something new, such as taking part in research projects.  “Taking part in scientific research. I did a study on birth control implants on freshwater stingrays.”

Hanna makes tank-side visits with animals at Newport Aquarium. “I never would have imagined I’d be doing this, but this is what I do.”

What has been your most memorable moment during your career?

“Definitely, working with the shark rays – it’s been a long journey! It’s an opportunity to work with a first of its kind program in the world.”

“We’re part of (kind of) a new industry, working with sharks. What we learn, we’re sharing the knowledge with other institutions. We have become better stewards for the species. This is my contribution to something that is globally influential. I’m putting my fingerprint on it.”

Newport Aquarium’s Shark Bridge Celebrates One Year!

Newport Aquarium celebrates the one-year milestone of the world’s first Shark Bridge on April 30th. The V-shaped rope bridge is 75-feet-long and is suspended over the open water of the 385,000 gallon Surrounded by Sharks exhibit.

Newport Aquarium Shark Bridge

The world’s first Shark Bridge is 75-feet-long and is suspended over the open water of the 385,000 gallon Surrounded by Sharks exhibit.

It took about 788 hours of labor to make, build and install the Shark Bridge. More than 4 miles (approximately 21,750 feet) of rope was used to construct the Shark Bridge. It’s made of 1.5 tons of steel, and is strong enough to hold the weight of up to 20,000 pounds, which is equal to an entire semi-truck, 25 Mighty Mikes (our 14 foot, 800 pound American Alligator) or more than 600 King Penguins!

Newport Aquarium Shark Bridge

More than 4 miles of rope was used to construct the Shark Bridge. It’s made of 1.5 tons of steel, and is strong enough to hold up to 20,000 pounds.

Surround by Sharks is home to six species of sharks including our Sand Tiger Sharks, Sand Bar Shark, Zebra Shark, Black Tip Reef Sharks, Nurse Shark, and Scalloped Hammerhead. It also houses our four exotic Shark Rays Sweet Pea, Scooter, Sunshine, and Spike.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

You never know what you’re going to see when crossing Shark Bridge. Denver, the mischievous loggerhead sea turtle, might come to the surface to take a breath just below your feet. You can even watch as our biologists target feed our Shark Rays!

Newport Aquarium Shark Bridge

Shark Bridge is an interactive family walk through experience.

Don’t fear! If Shark Bridge isn’t for you, you are welcome to walk along the edge of the tank and you can still view all of the amazing animals swimming inside.

Crossing Shark Bridge is included with Newport Aquarium admission. Since opening last year, it has been estimated that guests have crossed Shark Bridge more than ONE MILLION times! Do YOU dare to cross?

Shark Bridge is an interactive family walk through experience. Walkers will experience slight side-to-side motion and some uneven footing. All guests must use the entrance due to the one-way direction of travel. All guests must walk themselves. No guest may be carried. Shark Bridge is an able-bodied experience. For the safety of all guests running, jumping, rough play, climbing, food and drinks, hard or soft casts or braces of any kind are strictly prohibited on Shark Bridge. Closed-toe shoes are recommended and shoes must be worn at all times. Children younger than 5 years old must be accompanied by a parent, guardian, or chaperone. Newport Aquarium is not responsible for lost or dropped items. Guests are encouraged to secure all items before entering Shark Bridge. Items that fall may not be able to be retrieved.

Making Holiday Memories at Newport Aquarium

by Madison Wallace, Newport Aquarium Public Relations Aide

Walking through the Water Wonderland with Scuba Santa, it’s impossible not to feel like a kid again. At Newport Aquarium, we invite you to experience the holidays under the sea in a brand new way.

For more than 10 years, Scuba Santa has been delighting the greater Cincinnati area, and now the entire aquarium is joining in the holiday cheer.

This year was Sophia’s first time meeting Scuba Santa. Five years old, she was filled with nervous anticipation as she waited in line to see the big man himself.

She had been drawn to Shark Ray Bay by the sound of Scuba Santa’s elves singing Jingle Bells and laughing happily, but now that she was here, it all seemed a little bit overwhelming. As she got closer to the front of the line, something distracted her: bubbles were falling from the ceiling! Catching and popping bubbles, she almost didn’t realize it was her turn.

Although Sophia wasn’t quite sure what she wanted when Scuba Santa asked, there was a place for her to write down her Christmas wish on a bubble near the Penguin Palooza.

“I’m better reached by magic bubble, anyway,” said Scuba Santa with a smile. “Just tell Mighty Mike I said ‘hello’, okay?”

Kids can tell Scuba Santa what they'd like from Christmas

Kids of all ages  can tell Scuba Santa what they’d like for Christmas in Shark Ray Bay theater. (file photo)

Meeting Scuba Santa was most certainly one of her favorite holiday memories. And it’s one she will probably repeat every year.

Making fantastic memories and new traditions is easy with Newport Aquarium’s holiday celebration. With festive, holiday-decorated exhibits, families of all ages are able to experience Christmas, while at the same time exploring the ocean.

Decorated galleries include Shark Ray Bay featuring Scuba Santa, Bizarre and Beautiful Gallery, Gator Alley, and Penguin Palooza.

The first exhibit you’ll encounter is the Bizarre and Beautiful Gallery. Featuring hundreds of lights twinkling from above as beautiful sea creatures weave their way through, it’s impossible to not feel wonder at the strange creatures in this beautiful setting.

Holiday lights and festive fish decorate the Bizarre and Beautiful Gallery during Water Wonderland with Scuba Santa.

Holiday lights and festive fish decorate the Bizarre and Beautiful Gallery during Water Wonderland with Scuba Santa.

Gator Alley is home to Mighty Mike, the largest Alligator outside of Florida. After warmly welcoming Snowball and Snowflake, the white gators, in 2013, he generously agreed to share his home with bright, colorful lights and some mischievous reindeer.

Penguin Palooza captures the excitement of Christmas, with penguins flitting in and out of the water and playing with snowmen, while children have the opportunity to write letters on magic bubbles to Scuba Santa.

From chasing and playing with the bubbles filling the front lobby, to meeting Scuba Santa and exploring Newport Aquarium’s underwater celebration, Water Wonderland with Scuba Santa is an experience the whole family will enjoy. Plus, you can experience the offering of the aquarium’s more than 10,000 animals.

Scuba Santa greets kids while diving in the Surrounded by Sharks exhibit.

Scuba Santa greets kids while diving in the aquarium’s 385,000 gallon  Surrounded by Sharks exhibit, the home of nearly two dozen sharks.

This Christmas, combine the classic traditions of meeting Santa Claus and listening to beloved Christmas music with the magic of the holidays under the sea and connecting with your family and friends.

For more information on Newport Aquarium, or to purchase tickets, visit NewportAquarium.com or call toll free 800-406-FISH (3474). Connect with Newport Aquarium on Facebook and Twitter, or subscribe to its blog, for the most up-to-date news on Newport Aquarium.

###

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.

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

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

Shark Week to feature beneficiary of WAVE Foundation at Newport Aquarium

10406406_274726682713184_1120889138724634849_n

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.

10650040_277405549111964_1002799819828543198_n

“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).

###

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.

DSC_7342

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:

NAqAll-Stars_BaseballDiamond

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

main-run2

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.

Ride the Ducks Combo: For baseball fans traveling to the Queen City for the All-Star Game, Ride the Ducks is a perfect way to tour Greater Cincinnati. Ride the Ducks is the only tour in the region that uses amphibious World War II replica DUKW vehicles that travel on land and water. A 45-minute Ride the Ducks tour splashes down in the Ohio River and travels through downtown Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. A Newport Aquarium/Ride the Ducks ticket combo allows you to experience two of Cincinnati’s best family-friendly attractions for one low cost. More info

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

###

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, the Shark Capital of the Midwest, announces Shark Week activities

Aquarium joins Species Survival Program for zebra sharks, to add 2 females on exhibit

NEWPORT, Ky. — The introduction of two female zebra sharks highlights a jaw-some lineup of Shark Week (July 5-12) activities at Newport Aquarium.

The addition of the two female zebra sharks will increase the number of exhibited sharks at Newport Aquarium to 56 across 15 species, the most in the Midwest.

As part of a breeding program sanctioned by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), both female zebra sharks will be introduced to the Coral Reef tunnel during a media event on July 6. The two females will eventually make their way to the Surrounded by Sharks tank, where two adult male zebra sharks reside.

Newport Aquarium will be a new participant in Species Survival Plan for zebra sharks when they add two female zebra sharks to the Surrounded by Sharks exhibit.

Newport Aquarium will be a new participant in Species Survival Plan for zebra sharks when they add two female zebra sharks to the Surrounded by Sharks exhibit.                                              (Photo credit: worldwildlife.org)

 

The AZA’s Species Survival Plan for zebra sharks calls for accredited institutions to help develop the population by arranging for biologically distant matches to meet in environments conducive to mating.

From touching sharks, to viewing sharks above, below and around, the most shark-infested place to celebrate Shark Week is Newport Aquarium, where there is always more new to see and do:

  • Shark Bridge – Guests can experience sharks like never before by crossing the world’s first and only Shark Bridge. Included with admission, the Shark Bridge is a 75-foot-long rope suspension bridge that hangs just inches above nearly two dozen sharks.
  • Surrounded by Sharks – Newport Aquarium’s signature exhibit, guests can travel through an 85-foot-long acrylic tunnel inside a 385,000-gallon tank as seven species of shark – scalloped hammerhead, sand tiger, whitetip, blacktip, zebra, sandbar and nurse – swim over and above.
  • Shark Tank Dive Shows – Guests catch their first and largest views of shark rays and sharks at the Shark Ray Bay Theater, where our shark dive shows feature a scuba diver addressing and taking questions from the audience about the biology and conservation of sharks and other animals found inside the tank. (July 5 and July 10-12: Noon, 12:20 p.m., 12:40 p.m., 2 p.m., 2:20 p.m. and 2:40 p.m.)
  • Shark Feedings – Newport Aquarium performs public feedings for its sharks and shark rays, where guests can watch biologists feed from either the Shark Ray Bay Theater, the Surrounded by Sharks tunnels, or through a biologist’s point-of-view from the Shark Tank Overlook. (Shark tank feed 11 a.m. July 6 and July 8; Large shark feed 11 a.m. July 7; Shark ray feedings 1:30 p.m. July 6-10)
  • Shark Touch Pool – At the Shark Central exhibit, guests have the opportunity to touch dozens of sharks. An Animal Experience Specialist teaches guests the proper touch technique and helps them understand each species in this international collection. (9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily)
  • Sharks After Dark Overnight – Guests can sink their teeth into some great shark facts and sleep safely as they swim above. Every Overnight Adventure includes exclusive aquarium access, shark-themed games and activities. (7:30 p.m. July 10)

    A portion of the proceeds from Shark Week tshirts will be donated to the WAVE Foundation.

    A portion of the proceeds from Shark Week t-shirt sales at the Newport Aquarium gift shop will be donated to the WAVE Foundation.

  • Shark Week T-Shirts for Conservation – Officially licensed Discovery Channel Shark Week T-shirts will be available for purchase at the Newport Aquarium gift shop starting July 5. A portion of the revenue generated from these Shark Week tees will be donated to the WAVE Foundation at Newport Aquarium, which supports aquatic conservation.

Two Summers of Fun: Now through July 29, guests who purchase a Newport Aquarium Annual Pass will receive two summers of fun – 14 months of unlimited visits for the price of 12. Annual Pass benefits include discounts on guest admissions; invitations to passholder-exclusive events; as well as discounts at select Newport on the Levee vendors and other partner attractions, including the Cincinnati Reds and Dollywood.

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

###

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

Association of Zoos & Aquariums chooses Newport Aquarium to publicly detail international endangered species campaign

Newport Aquarium’s AZA accreditation extended through 2019

Newport Aquarium Executive Director Eric Rose (left) receives the aquarium's renewed accreditation from Association of Zoos & Aquarium Executive Director Kris Vehrs.

Newport Aquarium Executive Director Eric Rose (left) receives the aquarium’s renewed accreditation from Association of Zoos & Aquarium Executive Director Kris Vehrs.

NEWPORT, Ky. — On Endangered Species Day, an international initiative to help save species from extinction and restore them to healthy sized populations in the wild was publicly announced to the world from Newport Aquarium.

Standing in front of Newport Aquarium guests and elected officials at Shark Ray Bay theater, the executive director of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Kris Vehrs detailed a new campaign entitled SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE).

“By focusing the wild animal care, conservation, and science expertise of our 229 AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums and our conservation partners with the power of activating our 180 million annual visitors, we believe SAFE will be a game changer for global conservation,” said Vehrs.

Initially, SAFE will focus on 10 key species from a list of more than 100 that are facing serious threats and are critical to maintaining overall ecosystems. Newport Aquarium exhibits three of those species: African penguins, sharks and sea turtles.

Tilly is the name of choice for Newport Aquarium's Facebook fans.

Sea turtles are one of three species at Newport Aquarium that are now part of the SAFE program.

Every year for at least the next decade, 10 species will be added to SAFE based on the most current science and the availability of resources.

Vehrs also announced the renewal of AZA accreditation to Newport Aquarium, which opened its doors 16 years ago to the day on May 15, 1999.

“Newport Aquarium is passionate about caring for and sharing the amazing aquatic world with our guests, said Eric Rose, executive director of Newport Aquarium. “We couldn’t be prouder to serve as a host site for the AZA to launch the SAFE program and to receive our renewed AZA accreditation on both Endangered Species Day and our 16-year anniversary.”

Newport Aquarium will be raising awareness for the SAFE program and recognizing Endangered Species Day all weekend long, May 15-17, with special programming geared toward educating guests about the everyday actions they can take to help with animal conservation.

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

About AZA
Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and seven other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visit aza.org.

About SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction
SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction combines the power of zoo and aquarium visitors with the resources and collective expertise of AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums and partners to save animals from extinction. Together we are working on saving the most vulnerable wildlife species from extinction and protecting them for future generations. To learn more, visit AZAsavingspecies.org.

###

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