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Program 705

1. the Newport Aquarium
2. Big Bone Lick State Park
3. canoeing the Cumberland
Season 7 Menu

Campbell County

For more information:
Newport Aquarium, One Aquarium Way, Newport, KY 41071, (859) 261-7444

Producer, videographer, editor: Cheryl Beckley

Strolling with the Fishes

Newport Aquarium

Kentucky is a land of water: Rivers, creeks, and lakes abound. But up until a few years ago, the state was conspicuously lacking in oceans. That oversight was remedied in May 1999, when the Oceanic Adventures Newport Aquarium opened its doors and brought a little bit of the sea to the land-locked Commonwealth.

Inside are more than 11,000 animals, including 50 sharks of all varieties, who inhabit roughly a million gallons of water. Human visitors can get a very close look at many of them thanks to see-through floors and 200 feet of transparent tunnels that put you inside the watery world. The Newport Aquarium’s tunnels are unusual because they are “seamless”—there are no encircling connecting bands to block the view at any point.

The aquarium was privately funded, and it has rapidly become a popular tourist attraction, pumping millions of dollars into the Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati area economy. But in this case, economic development and environmental preservation are working hand-in-hand. As biologist Mark Lewin explains during this Kentucky Life visit, the aquarium is also involved in cooperative efforts with other zoos and aquaria to preserve endangered species. They include breeding programs for King penguins, the tiny poison-dart frogs of the tropical rainforests, and rare jellyfish.

In addition to ocean creatures, the aquarium features extensive exhibits on inland rivers—which is only fitting, since the Ohio practically laps at its walls—and on the Antarctic. It is open every day of the year. Teachers planning class visits can request pre-trip educational materials.

This segment can also be seen as part of a Kentucky Life Northern Kentucky special, Program 821. We made another visit to the aquarium to meet Scuba Santa in the 2005 Christmas special, Program 1121.

Boone County

For more information:
Big Bone Lick State Park, 3380 Beaver Road, Union, KY 41091-9627, (859) 384-3522

Producer: Megan Moloney
Videographer: David Brinkley
Editor: Esther Reed

Boning Up on the Past

Big Bone Lick State Park

When you’re through at the aquarium, wander a couple of counties west and you’ll find another site devoted to animals not normally associated with Kentucky. Big Bone Lick State Park, in Boone County, preserves the remains of mammoths, mastodons, giant ground sloths, and other Pleistocene-era mammals.

The “Big Bone” in the name of the place comes from the sheer size of these animals. The “Lick” is for salt lick, which is what brought them here. Between 15,000 and 20,000 years ago, at the height of the last Ice Age, the glaciers covering North America extended as far south as the Ohio River. Mammoths and other inhabitants of the Arctic regions followed the ice, seeking food. In the region that would later be Boone County, they found it, along with a bonus: exposed mineral deposits. Drawn by the salts they craved, some would die in the area’s marshes, left behind as the glaciers and the herds retreated back north.

Big Bone Lick is known as the place where American vertebrate paleontology was born. As early as 1739, a French Canadian explorer gathered some of the bones and shipped them home for the scientific edification of King Louis XV. Benjamin Franklin is known to have examined some of the remains (he erroneously concluded that modern-day elephants had once inhabited North America). And at one point, President Thomas Jefferson is said to have asked William Clark—who, along with a partner named Lewis, had just returned from another little scientific errand for Jefferson—to do some excavating at the site.

In fact, the bones from Big Bone Lick have been so scientifically sought-after over the years that many of them have been scattered to collections around the world. But some remain at the park to be marveled at. The park is also home to a herd of bison.

Big Bone Lick State Park is about 20 miles south of Cincinnati, just off Interstate 75. The Discovery Trail leads to a diorama showing what the area might have looked like 20,000 years ago.

This segment originally appeared in Kentucky Life Program 202.

McCreary County

For more information:
Sheltowee Trace Outfitters, P.O. Box 1060, Whitley City, KY 42653, (800) 541-RAFT (7238)

Producer, videographer: Gale Worth

Up the River with a Paddle

canoeing the wild Cumberland

The 700-mile-long Cumberland River has been at least partly tamed, dammed in two places to form the recreational havens Lake Cumberland and Lake Barkley. But it still has its wild side, as host Dave Shuffett discovers in this program’s final segment. It’s a canoe trip along a stretch of the Cumberland that’s been designated a Wild and Scenic River.

Guided by Dania Egedi of the family-owned Sheltowee Trace Outfitters of McCreary County, Dave gets to try his hand at a little whitewater navigation, experience a rainy day on the river, and explore the beauty found in abundance along its shores.

SEASON 7 PROGRAMS: 701702703704705706707708709: Along U.S. 60

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