Saturday, July 08, 2000

Aquarium attendance at a peak

By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NEWPORT — The long July Fourth holiday weekend that stretched for five days produced the busiest week of the year for the Newport Aquarium, with an average of nearly 8,000 visitors each day.

        Aquarium vice president and general manager John Tighe said a steady stream of out-of-town visitors and area residents, who wanted to see the aquarium's new baby penguins, combined to produce big crowds.

        The temporary exhibit, titled Tiny Tuxedos, features three baby Gentoo penguins that hatched three weeks ago. Visitors can view the penguin nursery area where the rapidly growing babies eat, make noise and swim in a little rubber pool.

        The babies will be large enough by the end of August to be moved into the Kroger King dom of Penguins exhibit with the 16 king penguins and four adult Gentoo penguins.

        Mr. Tighe said the aquarium has added staffing and opened more registers to move visitors more easily into the facility, and has adopted a “steady-flow” policy to ensure that the various galleries are comfortable and not overcrowded.

        “We have some of our young staffers in every exhibit, and by using hand-held radios to communicate, they can let us know how the traffic is moving through the galleries and where help is needed if there is a backup,” said aquarium spokeswoman Lisa Popyk.

        Aquarium visitors now can park in the parking garage adjacent to the aquarium building, providing convenient and direct access from Ky. 8. The garage, which will be part of the Newport on the Levee entertainment complex, will eventually accommodate 2,000 cars.


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