Turtle Canyon at the Newport Aquarium

“We break for turtles!” That was our motto growing up! haha. Anytime we were driving and saw a little box turtle my dad would stop the car, get out and grab the little guy. We would take him home, put him in an open cardboard box and give him tomatoes and lettuce. The next day we would walk him down to the creek and let him go.

Not sure why I am referring to the turtle as “him” haha…I guess they could’ve been little lady turtles.

Anyway, it was fun! I mean who doesn’t like a turtle? They are so slow and precious.

And now the Newport Aquarium has a brand new exhibit, Turtle Canyon, featuring the one, the only, the turtle!


Turtle Canyon features a diverse collection of more than 14 species spanning three continents, as well as a turtle corral that offers guests the unique opportunity to touch a variety of shelled reptiles.

The star of Turtle Canyon is Bravo – a 650-pound, 84-year-old Galapagos tortoise and the largest turtle in the Midwest! Hatched on the Ecuadorian island of Santa Cruz, Bravo arrived at the United States as part of the last group of tortoises exported from the Galapagos Islands.

Plus the 118-pound alligator snapping turtle, Thunder, has made his new digs at Turtle Canyon. Believed to be more than 100 years of age, Thunder is the oldest resident at Newport Aquarium.


And then there’s Denver, the nearly 200-pound loggerhead sea turtle with a three-foot-long shell, continues to roam the waters of the Surrounded by Sharks exhibit. When he first arrived at Newport in 2003, Denver was treated for an air pocket caught under his shell that made it difficult for him to dive and swim. Now completely healed, Denver serves as the aquarium’s ambassador to its sea turtle conservation efforts.

Plus there’s an interactive area where you can actually “pet” the sweet little turtles!

Turtle Corral Touch Experience

The newest member of the aquarium’s turtle family is Tilly, a seven-month-old, 2-pound loggerhead who was put on display at the Shore Gallery exhibit in February. After hatching in August at Emerald Isle, N.C., Tilly has been fostered by the Newport Aquarium husbandry staff since late October as part of the North Carolina Sea Turtle Project, which gives loggerheads a head start as only one in 1,000 survive to adulthood.

For more information on Turtle Canyon and the Newport Aquarium Annual Passes, visit NewportAquarium.com or call toll free 800-406-FISH (3474). Visit the aquarium’s Facebook page for #TurtleTuesday posts and be sure to follow them on twitter!


Newport Aquarium, the No. 1 aquarium in the country according to USA Today’s 10Best.com, showcases thousands of animals from around the world in a million gallons of water. Named a 2013 top U.S. aquarium by Travel Channel, Newport Aquarium is a Herschend Family Entertainment company and an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Newport Aquarium is open to the public 365 days a year and is located across the Ohio River from downtown Cincinnati at Newport on the Levee.

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