I’ve lived in Cincinnati my entire life, and yet there are times I’m still surprised at all our area has to offer. It’s so fun to pretend to be a tourist in our own city, and try places for the first time – especially with curious youngsters in tow. One local destination that is perfect for this is the Newport Aquarium. If you’ve never been to the aquarium, don’t worry! I will share everything you need to know for your first visit. And if you have been there – it’s probably time to plan another trip!
Now is a great time to visit the Newport Aquarium for several reasons. It’s no secret the weather isn’t the best this time of year, so you’ll stay warm and dry while visiting under the sea. The aquarium also has a great deal right now – a child can get in free with a paying adult! Throughout the year, they also have various exhibits and “visitors” and right now Splash and Bubbles from the hit PBS kids show are on display at the Shark Ray Bay Theatre!
If you’ve never been to Newport on the Levee, you’ll find that it’s easy to navigate. There is plenty of parking in the garage and a quick elevator trip to the top and a few steps will bring you to the entrance of the aquarium. Be sure to head to your right before going in for a photo op with downtown in the background. After you purchase your tickets, feel free to take advantage of the free coat check right inside the main entrance. There is then escalator or elevator access to the beginning of the underwater fun!
The aquarium is filled with a wide variety of creatures to watch, learn about and even (in some cases), touch! We do have a few favorites, though. I personally love the sections where you get to reach into the icy water and touch the animals. You can even pet a shark! My son loves Gator Alley – Snowball and Snowflake, along with Mighty Mike – are pretty cool and you get very up close and personal with Mike! My daughter’s favorite has to be the penguins. We can sit for quite awhile, watching them waddle and swim. They have so much character!
The aquarium is filled with so many activities; you can really make a visit a daylong affair. A few other must-see exhibits include the Seahorse Creation Station, the Frog Bog and indoor play area and the Shark Bridge! I highly recommend visiting the aquarium’s website before visiting, as they have great descriptions of everything they offer.
With the great deal happening at the aquarium right now, there’s no better time to make a first visit. When you get hungry, they have Sharky’s Café right inside that now serves Skyline Chili, among other yummy choices. The Newport Aquarium is incredibly family friendly and a wonderful place to take infants, children – even teenagers! Your first visit to the aquarium surely will not be your last.
A native Cincinnatian, Andrea has experienced life in all four corners of this city. After growing up on the west side, she headed north to attend Miami University, then moved east to Hyde Park and now lives in Northern Kentucky with her family.
When she’s not playing trains and doing the “hot dog dance” as a stay-at-home mom to her two toddlers, Andrea is busy writing for Cincinnati publications and brainstorming ideas for her next children’s book! With a newfound passion for fitness and overall health, she spends a lot of time at her family gym and loves to play outside.
Andrea worked in education for several years and has a special love for children’s literature. She loves showing her children all our city has to offer and enjoys sharing her finds with other parents. Her favorite spots include the Cincinnati Zoo (although she steers clear of the bird house), her local library and any playground.