My family and I spent a day this past weekend checking out the Newport Aquarium near Cincinnati, OH. It is about an hour and half drive from Louisville and makes for a fun daytrip (could have easily turned into a nice weekend trip with all the other Cincinnati attractions). We found some metered parking (free since it was on the weekend) within a few blocks of the aquarium. Followed the signs up the stairs and saw the beautiful skyline of Cincinnati before heading in to see the exhibits. The ticket sales are outside. I’ve read online that the local Kroger’s sell slightly discounted tickets so you do not have to wait in line or pay full price. Also, if you plan on going more than once in a year, the annual membership pays for itself. Definitely recommend purchasing tickets in advance to avoid waiting in the ticket line at the aquarium.
Unfortunately, the aquarium was pretty crowded when we got there, which was about a half hour after it opened. We were thankful that we didn’t bring the stroller with how crowded it was! There were several photographers there to take your group photos if you were so inclined. Afterwards we followed the crowd through World of Rivers, Shore Gallery – where we bypassed the theater because of the crowd, Shark Cage, and Bizarre and Beautiful. The crowd started to thin out by the time we got to the Ohio Riverbank and things became much more enjoyable for our family.
The décor at the museum was great and engaging. You really have to be observant because you can easily overlook a sneak peak window as you walk through tunnels or walking over windows to get a peak at the alligators. The frog bog exhibit provided some great interactives such as climbing on frogs, slides, and a frogger game. They have two touch tanks which were a great way to get up close and personal with the animals. Our favorite exhibit was definitely the surrounded by sharks area. Sharks were swimming next to you and over you as you walked through the exhibit.
Their brochure is online that gives more information. By the time we got to the end of the aquarium, the line to get in had diminished so it might have just been crowded since it had just opened. It took us about an hour to go through, but could have easily had spent at least 2 hours had it been less crowded and our 2 young kids would have been able to move through at their own pace. There is even an e-how article about how to visit the aquarium, so check this out for more tips. The aquarium is definitely worth checking out, but I would do some research to go on a less crowded day.