Day Trip: The Newport Aquarium

Max, Liam, & I exploring the touch pool at the Newport Aquarium on our day trip

Max, Liam, & I exploring the touch pool at the Newport Aquarium on our day trip

We are officially in the last month of summer! The ongoing rain has finally ceased and while we are trying to spend as much time as possible outside in the sunshine, some days are just too hot for the boys to be out all day. I’m not sure how the time I look forward to all year comes with a bit of summer burnout but it does. Plus, let’s be honest the weather has made it kind of a strange summer. We are needing some new adventures to shake things up.

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The stingrays were really majestic to watch

That made the Newport Aquarium the perfect day trip. Only two hours from Indianapolis. Air Conditioning to give us a day of learning new things out of the heat. Plenty for the boys to do at a time when I’m liable to let PBS kids become their mother. Check: All of the above.

From the start of your journey in freshwater falls to where you end at the shark bridge suspended above shark infested waters, there is something for everyone in your family and plenty of fun while you are all learning new things.

Max (3.5) is right in the sweet spot for exploring a new place. He loves to “sea”, touch, & explore everything. He craves new information. So all of the helpful signage around the aquarium helped me answer all of his questions. If you have a “Max” then you’ll understand why I know every fish kind in every fish tank in the aquarium now. There isn’t a better time to visit a new place then right in the middle of the Why stage. Plus the aquarium is very interactive with the multiple touch tanks and tunnels. From an adult perspective, it was really neat to be completely surrounded by sharks in the tunnels. I can only imagine how cool it feels from a little ones perspective.

For the under two littles, I love the aquarium. The nice thing about sea creatures is that they are always moving. Liam was in awe of all the fishy fishies as he calls them. For Liam, it was a lot of picking him up and down. The aquarium recommends a baby carrier (and even has some at guest services if you need to borrow one!) and it would definitely be better than a stroller for them to see everything. The great thing is that littles under two are free!

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The center of attention

Liam looking through the tunnel from the middle of the stingray touch pool

One of the newest areas is the Jim Henson Splash & Bubbles Reeftown Adventure. The boys loved climbing through Coral Cove play area. I love that it hit right at the time in our adventure that the boys needed to get all of their wiggles out. It was definitely designed with the needs of kids in mind. My kids both love the Splash & Bubbles show on PBS, if your little ones haven’t seen it yet I recommend it to both learn some ocean facts and introduce them to the characters before they go. Of course, there is plenty of fun to be had even if they don’t recognize the characters.

Each area had things for all ages and each of us had our own favorite parts. Max loved the white alligators, I thought the cleaner shrimp were really cool, & Liam loved the lookout area of the stingray tank (surprise surprise that Liam liked being the center of attention). We all loved the shark areas. It took us about 4-5 hours to go through. We stopped for a snack at Sharky’s Cafe and let them linger where they wanted to. Plus our playtime in Coral Cove. The aquarium is also right outside of Cincinnati and the area around it called Newport on the Levee has some food (and ice cream!) options. You could easily turn it into a weekend getaway. Take in a Cincinnati Reds game or explore any of the family friendly spots in the area.

Don’t worry if you can’t make it by the end of summer though; the Newport Aquarium is open 365 days a year!