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'Freshwater Falls' takes visitors beneath waterfalls, below streams at Newport Aquarium

Three animals brand new to aquarium
Freshwater Falls exhibit
Freshwater Falls exhibit
Elephantnose fish
Hellbender in Freshwater Falls exhibit
Posted at 1:47 PM, Apr 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-11 13:59:51-04

NEWPORT, Ky. — Visitors at Newport Aquarium can experience a brand new underwater world at “Freshwater Falls,” the aquarium’s newest exhibit.

It showcases species that live in environments beneath waterfalls and at cross sections of cascading steams.

"You come in and you're just surrounded by the sound of rushing water,” said Newport Aquarium biologist Kristen Guevara. “We have several waterfall features. It’s a really nice way to showcase some of the animals in Kentucky and Ohio as well as some of the animals around the world.”

“Freshwater Falls” features 13 tanks with plants and animals including fish found in Kentucky such as bass, black crappie and perch.

Freshwater Falls

Three animals in the exhibit have never been seen before at Newport Aquarium, Guevara said, including the West African lungfish.

“They have a rudimentary lung and they will actually gulp air from the surface and they can hibernate in periods of drought,” she said. Guests will be introduced to the elephantnose fish for the first time as well.

The elephantnose fish | Newport Aquarium

“They have a nice long proboscis and it's just an extension of their nose,” Guevara explained, “and it has some electrical receptive properties that help them find their food and eat and things like that.”

The hellbender — a salamander also known as a “snot otter” — is another new animal at the aquarium thanks to “Freshwater Falls.” The eastern hellbender is found locally in Kentucky.

The eastern hellbender | Newport Aquarium

The opening of “Freshwater Falls” is one part of the aquarium’s 20th anniversary. The opening of the “Jim Henson's Splash and Bubbles Reeftown Adventure” kicked off the milestone year in January. 

“Freshwater Falls” is open now. Purchase a pass or tickets to the Newport Aquarium by clicking here.