The Newport Aquarium near Cincinnati is the perfect size for families with small children. Not only that, but the variety of interactive exhibits and areas to explore make Newport Aquarium an ideal attraction for families with active little ones. Our family was hosted by the aquarium for a day of exploring, and we’re excited to tell you about all of the fun we had!
When you enter the aquarium, you will first take care of tickets, coat check, security, and looking at the giant whale and shark sculptures in the lobby. Then, you will go down the escalator to access the rest of the aquarium. I love this because it makes you feel like you’re really heading down under the sea to spend the day with the animals. It’s so exciting!
The Fish and Marine Life
With 1,000,000 gallons of water in their aquariums and thousands of animals to see, there is a new surprise waiting around every corner in this building. I wanted to write about the “top 3” or “top 10” exhibits in the aquarium, but I could not narrow it down. Sorry! There are just too many cool things to see!
Just know that when you visit, everyone in your group will be delighted by the variety. Among the animals you’ll encounter are:
- Shark Rays (Newport Aquarium is famous for their work with these guys!)
- Fish from around the world!
The Interactive Areas
There are several places within the aquarium where you and the kids can stick your hands into the water and pet the marine life (including sharks!). We all really enjoyed this!
Shark Ray Bay Theater
This theater is actually a giant window into an aquarium holding a 200 pound sea turtle, sharks, shark rays, and other fish. The presenter will discuss different animals and conservation efforts, answer questions from the crowd, and show short video clips to supplement what you’re learning.
The show lasts about 10 minutes and they typically start every 20 minutes or so. On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, some of the shows even feature divers in the tank! You do not need special tickets to the show. You will sit on bench seats, and there is plenty of room for strollers and wheelchairs.
The Tunnels, Bubble Windows, and Shark Bridge
You really do feel immersed in the sea as you walk through several tunnels where sea animals are swimming above and below you. They also have a tank with bubble windows. These are really neat! The bubble windows allow you to sit inside of the window and really be a part of the aquarium–without getting wet, of course.
In the Stingray Hideaway area, kids (or adults) can crawl under the enclosure and then pop up inside a cylinder in the middle of the tank so that they are completely surrounded by the stingrays and the water. It’s great!
Finally, on the way out of the aquarium, and only if you dare, you can cross a 75-foot-long rope bridge that is suspended just inches above an open water tank holding dozens of sharks! The Adventure Kids thought this was amazing!
The Play Area
In Jim Henson’s Splash and Bubbles Reeftown Adventure area, kids can play in an indoor climber for as long as they’d like. They can also color their own fish and other sea life that will magically swim to life on the wall.
Additionally, they can take a rest and use the provided iPads to learn and create. This is a perfect area for families like ours that want to give the younger crowd some time to burn off energy.
It is highly recommended that you purchase your tickets online ahead of your visit. The aquarium uses timed entry, so you will pick your day and time. Typically, one day general admission tickets are:
- $25.99 per adult
- $17.00 per child age 2 and older
- FREE for children under 2
There are also special behind-the-scenes animal encounters available for an additional cost. If you’re looking for a place to host an event or party, the aquarium does that as well. They even have overnight adventures. How awesome does that sound?!
You are not allowed to bring in any food or drinks (except bottled water). However, there is a cafe inside of the aquarium that sells items such as burgers, wraps, pizza, hotdogs, chicken fingers, snacks, and kids meals.
The Newport Aquarium is located in Newport, Kentucky, which is really just across the Ohio river from downtown Cincinnati. There is quite a bit to do in Newport.
In addition to the aquarium, our family loves the Hofbräuhaus Restaurant and Brewery just across the street. If you’re looking for a bite for lunch or dinner, we highly recommend them as a family-friendly sitdown restaurant with lots of options for picky kids and adults.
Parking is an additional cost. It is available at the Newport on the Levee Parking Garage and a few surface lots nearby.
We absolutely loved our day at Newport Aquarium! If you’re looking for indoor fun that allows your kids to be active while also learning about the world, then you don’t need to look any further.