WORTH THE DRIVE: Shark Summer returns to Newport Aquarium

Shark Summer at Newport Aquarium in Newport, Ky. runs May 27-Sept. 11, 2022. Visitors will have the chance to touch sharks. CONTRIBUTED

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Shark Summer at Newport Aquarium in Newport, Ky. runs May 27-Sept. 11, 2022. Visitors will have the chance to touch sharks. CONTRIBUTED

The sharks are the highlight again this summer at Newport Aquarium just over the Ohio River in Kentucky.

The aquarium announced Shark Summer returns Friday, and visitors will be able to celebrate the “often misunderstood” animal, officials said.

“Visitors are challenged to face their fears and get up-close to dozens of sharks as they learn the important role these animals play in maintaining healthy ocean ecosystems,” states a release from Newport Aquarium. “This year, you can visit the Shark Nursery, featuring real shark eggs from several species. You’ll also have a chance to touch sharks in Shark Central, including the new California horn shark,” the release says.

California horn sharks live in the shallow rocky reefs off the west coast of the country, officials said.

“Their pinkish skin and polka dot spots stand in stark contrast to the common image of sharks as sharp-toothed hunters on the prowl. In reality, sharks are an incredibly diverse family of animals. While the aquarium’s blacktip reef sharks circle the reef hunting in packs, many other species are much more docile, allowing guest to touch them while learning about their special sand-paper-like skin.”

Kelly Sowers, General Curator at Newport Aquarium, said “Shark Summer helps to disprove myths about these finned friends by giving guests a new kind of access to them.”

Visitors may touch sharks and cross the shark tank on the Shark Bridge.

Shark Summer runs through Sept. 11. Visitors to the Kentucky aquarium will see new exhibits, including the Coral Reef Tunnel and baby Orinoco crocodiles — a rare and endangered reptile.

HOW TO GO

What: Shark Summer

Where: Newport Aquarium, 1 Levee Way, Newport, Ky.

Info and tickets: newportsquarium.com

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