That cry of sweet freedom rings across Central Kentucky as kids put together their wish list of things to do, places to go…..
…and many parents will see Newport Aquarium in Northern Kentucky / Cincinnati pop on their kid’s radar once again. Indeed, I just blogged about Newport Aquarium in my Cincinnati weekend feature last summer, but a return trip was definitely in order once my kids found out about this game-changer we didn’t do on the first visit.
The Penguin Encounter at Newport Aquarium!
I should elaborate; my oldest son, Jackson, (8) is absolutely crazy about penguins. He has poured over the “March of the Penguins” documentary and every book he can find on the topic…he was so happy last year watching the Aquariums impressive Penguin line up do their thing in the tank, so I knew that I would score major Dad points and blow his 2nd grade mind if we went on the Penguin Encounter and actually got to touch a Penguin!
Younger brother Harrison (4) was on board as well. He doesn’t quite have the scholarly approach Jackson has on the subject …he just thinks they are “cute” and “funny”.
Right on both counts and everybody wins. Let’s do this!
The Penguin Encounter is an add on experience at Newport Aquarium, but if viewing the Penguins are a favorite on the aquarium tour…you must build the encounter into your next visit. It’s a private, 20 minutes in the Penguin House, the backstage home to the Aquariums African Penguin population. Once inside you will talk with one of Newport’s specialists who will introduce you to these adorable birds. You can take photos, ask questions, and even pet them!
We were fortunate to get Ric Urban, the Birds and Mammals Curator himself! Ric was incredible with the kids and very impressed and complementary of Jackson’s knowledge of Penguins. He taught us so much and we really appreciated his expert view into the world of these Penguins. His affection for them and his love of his job really left an impression on Jackson. Another young mind inspired! Thank you, Ric!
You can see from the pictures how happy and in awe Jackson and Harrison were during our time with these well dressed little guys. The Penguins were amazing to touch and watch up close. They didn’t disappoint! My wife, Lyssa and I thoroughly enjoyed the time as well.
After we left the Penguin Encounter, we went back to the Aquarium and took in the sights once again. With thousands of animals and a million gallons of water, this visit seemed as different and as exciting as the first go around last year.
Newport Aquarium is tops in my family, regardless of season or frequency of visits…... we’ll be looking at that annual pass!
If you kids are interested in Penguins, a world class and extremely rare encounter is just an hour’s drive from Lexington. Highly recommended for your summer adventure planning!
Here is a link to the Penguin Encounter page on the Newport Aquarium website with all the intel you need: