Mermaids return, ‘Shark Summer’ grows as Newport Aquarium marks 25th year

Credit: Newport Aquarium

Credit: Newport Aquarium

The Newport Aquarium is celebrating its 25th anniversary, and to mark the important milestone, the attraction is kicking off the year with a few surprises.

“It’s really amazing, and we have a lot of new adventures planned, and some recurring things as well that guests have really connected with over the past 25 years that makes this place so great,” said Madison Brady, public relations manager at Newport Aquarium.

Mermaids will be coming back, and we haven’t announced dates for that. Of course, Santa will be returning, and Shark Summer is going to be a lot bigger than it has been in the past, she said.

“There are also some other surprises throughout the year that we’re still finalizing, but if you are on the fence about getting a membership for the 12 months, this would be the year to do it, because we have so much planned,” Brady said. “We have something really exciting planned for the fall, and also around spring break. Those are two things that parents will want to follow us closely on, to see what’s to come.”

The aquarium is celebrating the 25-year milestone with the promise of a full year of new animals, exhibits and events with surprises coming all year long. Since opening in 1999, its continually grown and added new experiences for families to enjoy together.

Newport Aquarium, which borders Ohio and Kentucky has announced a free Pre-K Membership that offers unlimited visits for a full year to kids ages 2-4 and a new Underwater Scavenger Hunt Around the World.

“The Underwater Scavenger Hunt Around the World is really special. It’s an all-new experience featuring all of the animals. We have hidden little globes throughout the aquarium, and in exhibits, and the globes have special characters on them. And the special characters help you spell a secret phrase. When you spell the phrase, you are entered for a chance to win a family four-pack of Gold annual memberships, and a $100 gift-card to Skyline Chili. Gold Memberships include benefits like free parking and no reservations required,” Brady said.

This is the first year guests can see Hatchling Harbor, which features young animals. The colorful Cuban Hogfish is just one example of what visitors will discover in this busy Caribbean corner.

“I love it because it highlights some hidden gems throughout the aquarium. So, there are animals you might not notice as you’re walking through, and you get to learn about them and where they are from, and their habitat,” Brady said.

Visitors will also learn about Whitey, Newport Aquarium’s Chinstrap Penguin.

“One of the highlights is Whitey. He’s our Chinstrap Penguin. He’s our only one. He’s the oldest penguin in Penguin Palooza. He’s 37-years-old. He just had his birthday, and in the wild, they live to be about 15 to 20-years-old. So, he is almost double his life expectancy. He is actually the last stop on the Underwater Scavenger Hunt,” Brady said.

Whitey’s birthday was Jan. 4, and he is tied right now for 15th oldest Chinstrap Penguin in North America, which is amazing, she said. Things like that help kids connect with our animals in a new way, while playing this fun activity with their families.

As an anniversary gift to young visitors, Newport Aquarium’s free Pre-K Membership offers kids ages 2-4 unlimited free visits to the aquarium for a full year, including dedicated events like the return of Mermaids and Scuba Santa. Parents and grandparents must register their children online through March 3 and then activate their Membership, with proof of age, when they visit by March 4. Quantities are limited so guests are encouraged to act quickly.

How to go

What: Newport Aquarium

Where: Levee Way, Newport

More info and tickets:

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