is not exactly well known as a great vacation spot, but there are a few tourist attractions. One of these is the recently
built Newport Aquarium
. The Aquarium is located on the banks of the Ohio River
, directly across from Cincinnati
The last and largest tank is the Aquarium's main event, featuring some 25 sharks and 2,200 other tropical fish. The patrons navigate this huge tank through an acrylic seamless tube. After your eyes get used to looking through the curved plastic the effect is quite spectacular as sharks glide directly over and under you. Not surprisingly, Nurse Sharks are the most prominent sharks on display. While they sport a ghastly toothy grin they aren't as dangerous to the keepers.
For me, the next coolest attraction was the Jellyfish Gallery. In a small room there are displays of six different species of Jellyfish. With special lighting and tanks they float around somewhat like they would in the wild. This attraction works because of the amazing beauty of the rather nasty Jellyfish.
The other two major attractions are the Kingdom of the Penguins and 'Gator Bayou. Kingdom of the Penguins features several species in a fairly large exhibit. It features, of course, a large "frozen" land area and a cut-away of a pool so you can watch the penguins diving and swimming. Whee! 'Gator Bayou features several American Alligators around and below a small bridge that patrons cross. This exhibit is worth seeing just because of the proximity to the animals.
Besides the big tanks there are hundreds of other exhibits in the Aquarium. There are sections of the aquarium devoted to strange marine life and scary marine life. There are also exhibits for fish that reside in Rivers and Shorelines. The Shore exhibit is interesting because it recreates a tide. The fish slowly move forward and backward as the tide moves. There is also an exhibit devoted to local fish at the very beginning of the aquarium. And, of course, there is a "Touch Pool" where you can harass starfish, urchins, etc.
The Newport Aquarium is located at the South-Eastern corner of Newport on the Levee, which is basically a brand new mall including a large movie theater. The address is One Aquarium Way, Newport, KY 41071. The Aquarium is open year round from 10am to 6pm. Tickets cost $15.95 for adults and $9.95 for children. The aquarium features an eatery called the Lighthouse Cafe. It takes about 1.5 to 2 hours to walk through the Aquarium.
Personally, I was very impressed with the Newport Aquarium when I visited it. Many of the exhibits were very well done and the number of animals displayed is quite impressive. The Aquarium is laid out in a linear fashion so you won't miss an exhibit. If you're ever in Northern Kentucky I'd highly recommend it. For more information you can visit www.newportaquarium.com.