Newport Aquarium is currently hosting mermaids through October 22, 2023. Part of the legend and lore of these magical creatures is their love of Earth’s ocean and waterways. As they entertain visitors to Newport Aquarium with their flipping tails and bubble kisses, they’re also helping land-dwellers understand the role they can play in protecting our environment and the animals that depend on it, including African penguins.
African Penguin Awareness Day takes place the second Saturday in October and provides mermaids and humans a chance to highlight the plight of these special animals in the wild. The population of African penguin breeding pairs has declined 99% over the past century. Sadly, they could be functionally extinct in the wild within 12 years.
As you can learn from a mermaid, many of the reasons behind the decline in African penguin populations can be linked to our everyday choices. Doing things like reducing our carbon footprint, selecting sustainably sourced seafood and reducing single use plastics can help.
Newport Aquarium generates funds for their conservation partner SANCCOB (Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds) through Penguin Encounters where visitors learn all about penguins while getting to meet them up-close. The relationship and understanding that’s built during these interactions is a critical part of saving these animals in the wild as it motivates and inspires positive change.
Mermaids will be sharing stories about their feathered and fishy friends as they continue to dive, sing and play at Newport Aquarium through October 22, 2023. Mermaids are included with General Admission and Newport Aquarium Membership, with the mermaids not on exhibit Tuesdays and Wednesdays. With the aquarium’s Plan-Ahead-Pricing program, tickets can be found at discounted prices when purchased early at NewportAquarium.com.