Mermaids at the Newport Aquarium: Thank a capitalist like Steiner for conservation awareness

Many think that because I’m a conservative that I naturally do not support conservation. These are the same types who think that the issue of slavery was only a white on black occurrence occurring in America from the 1600s until the mid 1800s. Of course slavery was a much larger social problem involving all races and sexes of that particular time period and it was America who was the first to take a moral stand against it—to such an extent that a war was fought over it—led by Republicans. The same type of manipulation has occurred to make conservatives into villains regarding conservation—and largely it has gone unchallenged. That is because the answer to the conservation question is again that it is capitalism which is the biggest spokesman for the conservation movement which is much to the frustration of the bleeding heart liberal types. So it is with some surprise that people learn of my love and support of the Newport Aquarium.

The primary reason that I am so excited about the upcoming Liberty Center development being constructed as we speak in my community of Liberty Township is because it is a Steiner project. The Steiner group twenty years ago envisioned a way to save the embattled city of Newport, Kentucky with a brilliant new development on the river built around a new state-of-the art aquarium. That aquarium was a game changer and to this day is worth an out-of-state visit just to see. Situated across from the Cincinnati skyline, it has changed life on the banks of the Ohio River for the culture of the Cincinnati region and it all started with the capitalist Steiner.


Years later during a week in mid October 2014 the Newport Aquarium brought in the Weeki Wachee Mermaids from the popular Florida resort to perform in an extravaganza that I thought was incredibly wonderful. To the music of the Little Mermaid from Disney thousands upon thousands of little girls lined up to meet the beautiful mermaids and see them perform in the Coral Reef tank—which was absolutely glorious. Capitalism was on display at its finest. Of all the little girls present many will find they have an appreciation of sea life because of that experience and will likely carry it with them their entire lives. Two Disney films dominate the exhibits in a subtle way at the Newport Aquarium, Finding Nemo and of course The Little Mermaid. Disney created the gateway into such stories by creating the mythology. Steiner and his group brought that mythology to reality. And the wonderful Weeki Wachee swimmers from Florida and their capitalist endeavor their brought mythology to life for profit which further intensifies the experience for countless lives touched by their endeavors.

Leaving the Newport Aquarium after seeing the exhibit of mermaids on a sunny day in October with the great Ohio River rolling by just feet away, with Mitchells, Barnes and Noble and the AMC movie theater looming above, it was the vision of the Steiner group which brought this experience to so many people and God love him for it. It took a lot of headache to bring that vision to reality and I am thankful that he did so twenty years ago. My brother is a diver at the Newport Aquarium and it has been an important place for my family for a number of years. I simply love the place, but without Steiner—the capitalist—it would have never happened. The Newport Aquarium is one of the best exhibits of its kind in the world and has maintained that status into its second decade. And it’s still going strong and is able to bring in talent like the Weeki Wachee Mermaids from such a distance to bring a bit of Disney World to the Midwest.


At the aquarium in Newport, conservation is on full display. It is evident why manufacturers would want to refrain from careless drilling, over deforestation, and a destruction of the earth’s natural resources by seeing the exhibits. Science driven by capitalism is the best conservation method that there is, and the Newport Aquarium is the perfect example of such an endeavor. I could sit in front of their exhibits for hours and just watch the animals—and appreciate the unique circumstances which made them possible as a life form. Without a profit motive however, there would be no Newport Aquarium, or a Newport Levee experience. Profit drives science and conservation. A lack of such formulas gives you the Middle East—sand, poverty, and stupidity. The Newport Aquarium is culture at its finest—it brings out the best in people and is a wonderful, magnificent creation of the Steiner group.


With the same epic vision the Steiner group is bringing its latest creation to Liberty Center. I expect that complex to dwarf what has occurred at the Newport on the Levee development. And because of the well-designed shopping complex the very popular outdoor store Cabela’s is moving in across the street on Liberty Way. I can’t think of any aspect of modern culture that most brings conservation to the minds of the masses than such a shopping experience at Cabela’s—an outlet dedicated to the outdoor experience and the preservation of those outdoors for future lives. Without Steiner, there would be no Cabela’s. And without Cabela’s the Bass Pro Shops down the road wouldn’t be expanding the way they are by necessity of competition. Because of those two retail outlets millions of people will become inspired to not only participate in outdoor activities, but to preserve them through the education programs that come as natural off-shoots of those shopping experiences. Because of the Steiner group and their use of capitalism to create profit driven experiences, conservation awareness will be greatly expanded dwarfing the great work done at the Newport Aquarium so many years ago even into the present.

If there are little ones in your family now is the time to see the Weekie Wachee Mermaids at the Newport Aquarium. I’ve seen the show in Florida and it was wonderful, but the Newport Aquarium provides a much more up-close and personal experience because of the tubular design of the display in the Coral Reef section. It was quite majestic. It was a brilliant move by both the Weekie Wachee crew and the Aquarium to pull those two elements together. They are playing only through this upcoming weekend, so make sure to see it. Better yet, take a day off work and visit during the day when the crowds are much less. Take your kids out of school for the experience. They’ll learn a whole lot more at the Newport Aquarium than they will in school, that’s for sure, and the experience you’ll share as a family will be unrivaled. It is that good, and is just one more reminder of how wonderful capitalism can be when it’s used properly in the hands of wonderful people in the Steiner Group. Their creativity and desire for quality has given thousands an experience in their own back yards worthy of a week-long vacation to a distant land. Only it’s right there at Newport on the Levee. So take your kids, eat at their fine restaurant, pet some sharks and thank a capitalist for the enriching experience.

Rich Hoffman