An Enquirer.com Special Section FRIDAY, MAY 14, 1999
Hours, prices, and other information were current at time of publication and may have changed.

shark

THE AQUARIUM
- Introduction
- Going there
- The murals
- The music
- Shop and Eat
- Beginnings

THE EXHIBITS

- World Rivers
- Shore Gallery
- Touch Pool
- Bizarre & Beautiful
- Dangerous & Deadly
- Riverbank
- 'Gator Bayou
-Amazon Rain Forest
- Coral Reef
- Jellyfish Gallery
- Kingdom of Penguins
- Ray Nursery
- Repopulation
- Surrounded by Sharks

THE STAFF

- Staff and keepers
Oceanic Adventures Newport Aquarium] [Building image]
The Tristate is Goin' Fishin'
Newport Aquarium brings wonderful water creatures to our doorstep

[penguins]
One of the main attractions: 16 King Penguins.
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        Marine animals from all over the world have been collected and brought to Oceanic Adventures Newport Aquarium.

        Starting Saturday, visitors will see penguins from Japan, fish from as near as the Licking River and as far as Australia. Alligators from Florida and sharks from all over. An estimated 11,000 marine animals live in 1 million gallons of salt and fresh water.

        Some animals, such as sharks, rays, catfish and bass, were captured from the wild. Some were obtained from other aquariums or institutions (the Poison Dart Frogs, for example, came from the Cincinnati Zoo.) Others came from private owners and collectors.

[visitors]
Visitors walk through see-through tunnels surrounded by fish.
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        “We will get fish from the Amazon River regions of Brazil and Peru, and from as far away as Australia and the Philippines,” animal curator Pam Lyons said earlier this year. “In every case we have distributors who are skilled and experienced in obtaining the fish and transporting them.”

        Fish are in tanks of all sizes. The shark tank holds 380,000 gallons of water. The “swampland” in the 'Gator Bayou holds 3,600 gallons.

[eel mural]
Colorful murals cover the walls.
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        Seamless tunnels made of acrylic offer unobstructed views of the water and marine life above. In some tunnels, the floor is acrylic, too.

        Colorful murals cover the walls. The music, created especially for the aquarium, adds to the mood of specific exhibits.

        The Pirate Theater, decorated like a Spanish Galleon, shows educational films. Food is served in the Lighthouse Cafe. There's a gift shop, too, packed with all sorts of aquatic-related souvenirs.

        Click here to see the layout of the Aquarium: 620 pixels | 750 pixels

The main attraction
        It's called “Surrounded by Sharks,” and you are — or at least it appears that way.

[patton and shark]
Ky. Gov. Paul Patton watches a sand tiger shark swim overhead.
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        Wander through the winding, 84-foot tunnel and look up at the Lemon Shark. Look down at the Nurse Shark. Look left and right — only 21/2 inches of acrylic separates you from 25 sharks and thousands of other fish. This 380,000-gallon tank is the aquarium's largest exhibit.

        The dim lighting overhead and rippling water hide the ceiling, creating an optical illusion. The top of the tunnel seems to melt into water. An acrylic floor panel offers a glimpse below.

        After leaving the tunnel, turn right and look through the bubble windows to get a different perspective of the tank. Come up the escalator for a view from above — it's one of the largest open-air shark viewing areas in the United States.

Rocks, vine and corals
[coral]
Most of the coral is artificial.
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        Because coral is fragile, takes years to grow and is not easily harvested — not to mention protected — almost all of the coral here is man-made. So are the rocks and vines. Rock and Water Scapes of Irvine, Calif., crafted it from resin, polymers, fiberglass and reinforced concrete. The coral in the Coral Reef underwater tunnel is artificial. Live coral is found in the Bizarre & Beautiful exhibit.

Aquarium by the numbers
        $40 million: cost to build
        100,000: square feet of space
        16: themed galleries
        60: exhibits
        11,000: marine animals
        600: species
        16: King Penguins
        50: sharks
        200: feet of underwater tunnels
        1 million: gallons of water
        380,000: gallons of water in shark tank
        1,500-1,800: people can move through the aquarium per hour
        2-21/2: in hours, average length of visit



- The Tristate is Goin' Fishin'
Going to the Aquarium
Murals bring seascapes to life
Music sets the mood for 16 exhibits
Shop, eat and watch a movie
The making of an aquarium
World Rivers
Shore Gallery
Touch Pool
Bizarre & Beautiful
Dangerous & Deadly
Riverbank
'Gator Bayou
Amazon Rain Forest
Coral Reef
Jellyfish Gallery
Kingdom of Penguins
Ray Nursery
Repopulation
Surrounded by Sharks
Meet the staff and keepers

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