Newport Aquarium

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Explore the Ocean Blue at the Newport Aquarium

Located right across the scenic Ohio river and just minutes from Cincinnati, the Newport Aquarium is one of northern Kentucky’s most unique and unusual attractions.

In Newport, Kentucky, the Newport Aquarium opened in May of 1999 and has since become a world-class facility and home to thousands of animals — including some of the world’s rarest marine creatures, like two of the very few shark rays in captivity.

The aquarium is open 365 days a year, and features 14 different galleries, 70 exhibits, and five huge tunnels each totaling over 200 feet in length, offering visitors a spooky and immersive ocean experience.

Shark Spots

Besides the older, permanent exhibits, there are a number of brand new attractions opening in 2015 that guarantee some exciting sea creature entertainment. The Shark Bridge, opening in late April, is the only suspension bridge in North America on which visitors can stroll mere inches away from dozens of sharks. 75 feet in length, the bridge is suspended over the open water of the aquarium’s Surrounded by Sharks exhibit.

This isn’t the aquarium’s only new shark spot — in mid-April, a few incredibly rare scalloped hammerhead sharks made their debut at the aquarium. These new predators join the 17 sharks already swimming in the Surrounded by Sharks exhibit, making this collection of creatures one of the biggest and most impressive of its kind.

Otters and Turtles and Lizards, Oh My!

The Newport Aquarium also recently announced the arrival of some furrier friends — a group of irresistibly adorable Asian small-clawed otters. Housed in the Canyon Falls exhibit, which opened this March, the otters can be found frolicking around an indoor waterfall alongside some brightly colored lizards — the yellow monitor and the panther chameleon.

Other aquarium celebrities include Thunder, the aquarium’s resident snapping turtle, who enjoys the honor of being Newport’s oldest resident at a spritely 100 years of age. If you’re looking for something a little more interactive and educational, you can check out one of the daily "Otter Talks," where visitors have the chance to see a biologist in action as they feed, train, and play with the otters.

Family Fun

The Newport Aquarium is undoubtedly an ideal destination for families, and parents can rest assured that their children will have a fun, engaging, and educational time getting to know the wonders of the marine world. With events like the Penguin Parade, featuring the aquarium’s own crew of African Penguins, your kids might even get the chance to be "Grand Marshall" and lead the march.

If larger, more dangerous fish are what you’re after, the daily Dive Shows might be your thing, as you can watch divers hang out with some sharks and rays. In addition to these planned shows, you can visit the Surrounded by Sharks tunnels on your own schedule to get an unusual underwater view, or watch a feeding from the Shark Top Viewing Area. If you’re looking for something a little mellower, check out the Turtle Corral in Turtle Canyon, where you can meet and greet turtles hailing from three different continents.

Come for the Newport Aquarium, Stay in Cincinnati

If you’re planning a visit to the Newport Aquarium, it’s definitely wise to stay in Cincinnati proper. The city is home to some of Ohio’s most famous cultural attractions, including the Great American Ballpark, home to the Cincinnati Reds, and Paul Brown Stadium, home to the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Millennium Hotel Cincinnati is without a doubt one of the city’s most popular hotels, offering spacious accommodations and renowned services right in the heart of downtown Cincinnati. The hotel is within walking distance of a wide range of fun shops, museums, and restaurants, and it even boasts a rooftop pool that’s unsurprisingly popular with guests.

Beyond its immediate surroundings, the Cincinnati Hotel is just a short drive from the Cincinnati Zoo, the Botanical Gardens, the Beach Waterpark, and of course, the Newport Aquarium, making it a prime jumping-off point for people looking to dive into Cincinnati’s best. Be sure to book your room in advance, and gear up for your trip to the Queen City!