Our travel to and from Tennessee for our houseboat vacation resulted in a few nights at hotels along the way. Tyler was thrilled that this trip aligned with Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, as we don’t have cable at home. Our nights in the hotel were spent watching stories of shark attacks around the world, so it just made sense to make one of our stops, on our trip home, the Newport Aquarium so we could see some sharks in person!
Our path home from the houseboat led us by or through the cities of Louisville, Cincinnati, and Columbus. We decided to stay one night in Louisville and the second night in Cincinnati. In Louisville we visited the Kentucky Derby Museum and in Cincinnati we decided to visited the aquarium, located just over the river in Kentucky.
The Newport Aquarium is located at Newport on the Levee. This is an attraction in itself. The Riverwalk has lovely views, restaurants, shopping, and a theater.
I wouldn’t have minded spending more time on the Riverwalk. It had a fun summer vibe with live music playing and the smells of street fair BBQ.
Newport Aquarium isn’t a big aquarium but it was well laid out and we appreciated how “hands on” it was.
They have several touch stations throughout the aquarium, including a tank where guests can pet a shark.
Here were some of our favorite exhibits:
Octopus Den: Here guests can get up-close to fascinating animals like Moon Jellyfish and Japanese Spider Crabs.
They all make their home in a constantly changing ecosystem along the Ring of Fire where towering volcanoes and deep ocean trenches line the Pacific Ocean. With unique light and sound effects, we were able to experience the churning seismic activity that created the rippling sea floor, caves and other rock formations where amazing creatures like the Giant Pacific Octopus live.
Stingray Hideaway: So many stingrays!
The natural light that fills this exhibit made it a wonderful place to pause for a moment.
Guests are able to view the sting rays from below through the underwater tunnels that snake through the area under the pool,
Or simply hang out next to the water and wait for a ray to pass close enough to pet.
In this area they also have a cool exhibit where guests can place their hands in a shallow pool filled with shrimp. The shrimp climb onto your hand and will clean your hands and nails. It reminded us of Jacques, from Finding Nemo!
Shark Ray Bay: Shark Ray Bay is the highlight of the Newport Aquarium. There are multiple spots to view the sharks and other species. This huge tank really is the centerpiece for the aquarium and is so cool to view from the many angles available to guests. We especially enjoyed this area after our tv marathon viewing of Shark Week shows.
Tide Pool Touch: Tide Pool Touch allows visitors to touch various sea creatures and someone is there answering questions and educating you on the species you see.
Shark Bridge: The one activity stood out to all of us – adults AND kids alike was the shark bridge. The Newport Aquarium is home to the world’s first Shark Bridge. This V-shaped bridge is made from rope and hangs over the aquarium’s shark tank. The bridge is 75 feet, and we could see the sharks swimming in the tank below as we walked across.
This was the final exhibit before exiting into the gift shop and a perfect conclusion to our time at Newport Aquarium!