Two new stingrays representing a brand-new species received a special escort into the Surrounded by Sharks exhibit at Newport Aquarium. The Ribbontail rays, affectionately named Chip and Lettuce, are brothers and come to Newport Aquarium from Georgia Aquarium where they were born and raised.
Members of the aquarium’s animal care team spent the last couple months caring for the stingrays and getting them ready for their grand entrance. Divers helped guide the stingrays into the 385,000-gallon Surrounded by Sharks tank, where they were immediately greeted by Denver, the curious loggerhead sea turtle and Sweet Pea, one of Newport Aquarium’s famed shark rays. The ribbontail rays joined several species of sharks, tropical fish and other inhabitants of Surrounded by Sharks.
“It’s always fascinating when we add a new animal. There are so many places to see them explore for the first time,” said Mark Dvornak, General Curator at Newport Aquarium.
Newport Aquarium is now home to the only Ribbontail stingrays in the Midwest. Chip and Lettuce are larger stingrays, about 3 ½ feet wide by 5 feet long. They join other stingray species including honeycomb, mangrove and southern stingrays, and are easy to identify as they gracefully swim through Surrounded by Sharks. They are darker in color, and have a fascinating variation on their tail that resembles a ribbon.
At Newport Aquarium, there is always so much to see and do:
- Stingray Hideaway – Touch stingrays and explore their tropical world from above and below the water’s surface. Explore an underwater tunnel through the 17,000-gallon touch pool where you’ll be surrounded by stingrays.
- Shark Bridge –This 75-foot rope bridge allows guests to walk just inches above nearly two dozen sharks, exotic shark rays, stingrays and more than 300 fish in one of the country’s largest open-air tank displays.
- Surrounded by Sharks – Guests can walk through three underwater tunnels within a 385,000-gallon tank filled with rare and exotic shark rays, six species of sharks, and Denver, the mischievous 200-pound loggerhead sea turtle.
- Seahorses: Unbridled Fun – This interactive exhibit features some of nature’s most amazing creatures, including several species of seahorses, sea dragons, razorfish and pipefish.
- Gator Alley – Gator Alley is the home of Mighty Mike – who at 14-feet long and 800 pounds is the biggest alligator in the country outside of Florida, as well as Snowball and Snowflake, two of fewer than 100 white alligators in the world.
- Penguin Palooza – With five different sub-Antarctic penguin species totaling nearly 50 birds, Penguin Palooza boasts one of the most diverse collections of cold-weather penguins in the country.
- Frog Bog – Children have never seen frogs like this before as they can find secret frog tanks visible only when they climb through tunnels and tubes in the kids-only Frog Bog jungle gym.
And don’t forget: now is the perfect time to visit Newport Aquarium while one child (ages 2-12) gets in FREE with each full price adult! The deal comes just in time for visitors to escape from the winter weather outdoors and see the new ribbontail rays explore their new home.
The one kid free offer is only available until February 28, 2018. The aquarium is also operating with extended hours on select days this month.The offer of one kid free with each full price adult will be available at the Newport Aquarium ticket window, online at NewportAquarium.com or by phone at 800-406-FISH (3474). Advance ticket purchase online is highly recommended to guarantee prompt entry to the aquarium. Please note this special offer cannot be combined with other discounts or coupons.