The Newport Aquarium is finally getting something visitors have been asking for for years, an octopus.
A new exhibit called "Ring of Fire" is set to open in March featuring a giant Pacific octopus, hundreds of moon jellyfish, and Japanese spider crabs.
"This is the largest octopus species in the world," says Executive Director Eric Rose. "It can grow up to 14 feet.... It's a shape-shifting, color-changing type of animal."
Rose says the aquarium is working with a collector/fishery in British Columbia, Canada that will find an octopus in the wild. "It's the same type of octopus that unfortunately may end up in the seafood market, but he's getting to come here and live a healthy life with us."
The cave-shaped exhibit will highlight the volcanoes and deep ocean trenches that line the Pacific Ocean rim. Visitors can examine the jellyfish up close through a floor-to-ceiling window.
Behind the scenes, the aquarium is "developing a brand new Moon Jellyfish Propagation Center and jellyfish nursery," Rose says. "We're going to be breeding and maintaining and growing our own jellyfish here at Newport Aquarium."
Details From Newport Aquarium
Giant Pacific Octopus: After witnessing the unusual characteristics of the Giant Pacific Octopus, like their ability to camouflage and change shape, guests will get to explore the Octopus Den. An arched rock portal invites guests into this cave-like new space never before accessible to the public. There, they will learn more about this highly intelligent species through videos and interactives.
Moon Jellyfish: An all-new custom built display of Moon Jellyfish will showcase hundreds of the animals as they float and flutter. The picture window display starts just inches off the ground so both little kids and grownups can take in the mesmerizing view.
Japanese Spider Crabs: The spider crabs will be featured in a cylindrical tank where guests can watch them explore their surroundings with a 360-degree view. Wall graphics showing the full size of the species will serve as a fun photo op next to a man-size crab as they can reach up to 12 feet claw to claw in the wild.