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Scuba Santa’s Water Wonderland at Newport Aquarium; Bayou Babies celebrate first Christmas

Newport Aquarium invites the public to experience one of Cincinnati’s most unique holiday traditions as Scuba Santa visits from November 29 to December 31. The jolly elf will be ready to hear your Christmas wishes while swimming underwater surrounded by sharks, stingrays and a curious sea turtle named Denver.

Scuba Santa’s elves and Denver the sea turtle greet visitors to the Newport Aquarium (photos by Mark Hansel)

“A lot of our guests are surprised and delighted to learn they actually get to talk with Scuba Santa while he’s swimming underwater,” said Eric Kilpatrick, Newport Aquarium’s Elf Wrangler. “And through a little elf magic, he knows your child’s name by the time their turn comes to step up and share their holiday wishes.”

Guests will find the aquarium decked out in its holiday best as Scuba Santa’s Water Wonderland takes over. They can join the elves in a sing-along to their aquatic version of the 12 Days of Christmas and take in the colorful lights and decorations throughout. While waiting for Scuba Santa, they’ll also catch a flurry of magical bubbles filling the theater every 10 minutes.

“It warms my heart to see the kids playing and popping the bubbles,” said Scuba Santa. “You know, every time a bubble pops, someone’s wish comes true.”

Newport Aquarium’s two dozen new baby American alligators, affectionately known as The Bayou Babies, are also celebrating their first Christmas, complete with 24 tiny stockings for Scuba Santa to fill. See them explore their new home in Gator Alley right next to the rare white alligators Snowball and Snowflake.

Scuba Santa will be at the Newport Aquarium until December 31, with the exception of Christmas Day.

The Water Wonderland journey will take guests through a number of illuminated and holiday-clad galleries as they interact with the magic of an undersea holiday celebration:

    • Shark Ray Bay Theater – Join Scuba Santa’s elves in song and discover how some of Newport Aquarium’s most iconic animals celebrate holidays under the sea. Guests will have the unique opportunity to meet Scuba Santa as he dives inside the 385,000-gallon Surrounded by Sharks tank, and tell him their holiday wishes.
    • Seahorses: Unbridled Fun – Twinkling sea-creature lights hang from the ceiling over some of nature’s most amazing creatures, including pipefish, seahorses and our baby shark!

Sometimes Scuba Santa’s elves join him in the tank.

  • Stingray Hideaway – Visit the tropical oasis where Scuba Santa’s elves and reindeer have decorated with festive tropical decor. Plus, guests can interact with and touch two dozen stingrays in the 17,000-gallon stingray touchpool.
  • Gator Alley – Honky-tonk holiday lighting, music and decorations welcome guests to Gator Alley, home of Snowball and Snowflake, two of less than 100 rare white alligators in the world. Plus, it’s the new Bayou Babies’ first Christmas.
  • Penguin Palooza – Make a stop at Scuba Santa’s Post Office where you can write your holiday wish on a magic bubble and drop it in Scuba Santa’s mailbox. Plus, five species of cold-weather penguins – a total of nearly 50 birds spread their own brand of squawking, swimming and waddling holiday cheer.

* Scuba Santa will not be appearing on Christmas Day – he will be resting after a busy night traveling to homes all around the world.

 Annual Pass Holiday Special: Through December 31, guests who purchase three Newport Aquarium Annual Passes will receive a fourth Annual Pass free. Annual Passes are valid for one year from the date of purchase, so guests can use them now to experience Scuba Santa’s Water Wonderland and into next year, including a VIP Passholder-only preview party for the opening of Shipwreck: Realm of the Eels in the spring.

For more information, visit NewportAquarium.com or call 800-406-FISH (3474).

Newport Aquarium

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