This week, the City of Newport, Save The Bay, and the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority signed agreements that will allow the local nonprofit organization to move its Exploration Center and Aquarium to the ground floor of the Gateway Transportation & Visitors Center at 23 America’s Cup Blvd.

“Save The Bay’s family-friendly Exploration Center and Aquarium is a welcome addition to downtown Newport,” said Newport Mayor Jeanne-Marie Napolitano in a statement. “The site will support increased environmental educational opportunities for our schoolchildren, Bay-related experiences for residents of all ages, and a new kind of family destination for visitors—all the while enhancing the City-by-the-Sea’s efforts to become more committed to blue economy initiatives.”

“We are grateful to city leadership and RIPTA for sharing our vision of an expanded Exploration Center and Aquarium at the Gateway Center,” said Save The Bay Executive Director Jonathan Stone in a statement. “We are looking forward to continuing to unveil the wonders of Narragansett Bay for the people of Newport by introducing new and engaging exhibits and activities, and building on the success of our Easton’s Beach location.”

“We are excited to be sharing space with Save The Bay,” said Scott Avedisian, RIPTA’s Chief Executive Officer in a statement. “We think that their programming will be a great fit for our passengers, and visitors to Newport, and will offer an opportunity to be educated and entertained.  This is a great partnership between Save The Bay and the City of Newport, and I want to thank Mayor Napolitano for all her work bringing this to fruition.”  

The Exploration Center and Aquarium, currently located at Easton’s Beach, offers exhibits that feature more than 40 locally sourced species, from lobsters and seahorses, to sharks and skates. Three touch tanks and multiple activity stations bring the world beneath Narragansett Bay to life for visitors, and serve as the basis for yearlong school programs for students throughout the region.

While the 6,500-square-foot Gateway Transportation & Visitors Center was utilized by the Aquidneck Growers Market in the fall and winter of 2020-2021, it has not been permanently leased since the departure of Discover Newport in December 2020. Save The Bay’s Exploration Center and Aquarium will transition to the first floor of the center.

Founded in 1970, Save The Bay is a nonprofit organization that has been protecting and improving Narragansett Bay through habitat restoration, advocacy and education programs for more than 50 years. The Newport Exploration Center and Aquarium has been in operation since 2006, welcoming more than 30,000 guests annually and hosting hundreds of school programs in a typical year.

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Ryan Belmore has been the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp since 2012. He also currently works for Mountain News, where he serves as Senior Editor - North America for OnTheSnow. He previously worked for the New England Patriots and American Cancer Society. He currently serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).