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Shark Week at the Adventure Aquarium

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sharkWe are fully immersed in summer and hopefully enjoying fireworks, treating our taste buds to funnel cake or salt water taffy, soaking in the sun’s rays and most importantly, finding time to escape to the beach and take a dip in the ocean. But moments after wading in playful waves, the unforgettable music from Jaws begins to play in the back of everyone’s mind. Consider facing this fear or exciting your aquatic curiosity at Adventure Aquarium’s Shark Week Live celebration.

This week-long educational and exhilarating shark party, “held in coordination with the Discovery Channel’s SHARK WEEK, cables longest running event,” gives you access to behind-the-scenes sights via a 550,000 gallon exhibit, VIP tours, Touch-A-Shark experiences, virtual shark cage and live underwater shows.

Beyond giving people a chance to see over 40 of these “remarkable animals in all of their glory,” Kimberly Walker, Adventure Aquarium’s Public Relations and Communications Manager, believes that, “the more that people observe, learn about, and enjoy these magnificent animals, the more they will respect them and want to help protect them and their habitats for future generations.”

Unlike your up-close and personal experience with sharks on a TV screen, Adventure Aquarium gives you the chance to practically immerse yourself undersea without donning a snug wetsuit in their 40-ft suspended shark tunnel in the 550,000 gallon shark realm exhibit. Watch the beauty of the shark’s graceful, fluid movements above your head as the 27 sharks slide through the water. Make sure to leave the camera by your side for a few moments while keeping your gaze off the floor. You might lose sight of the thick acrylic glass, becoming one with the water world, and find yourself feeling as though you are treading water in shark territory (although a quick glance at your shoes will surely assuage any fear of being lost at sea). Experience an interactive element in the Touch A Shark shallow pool, where unintimidating White-Spotted and Brown-Banded Bamboo sharks smoothly flow under anxious fingers. Don’t let the group of children eagerly outstretching their tiny hands be the only few to come that
close to nature. Although if you prefer a reality that is a bit more virtual, step into the Cage Match, which simulates the experience of being enclosed in a Shark tank off the coast of South African, submerged in Shark infested waters. The hydraulic plates mimic the sway of the sea as the large videos screen reveals the view of the life-size sharks attempting to eat the metal bars in front of you. But before panic sets in, the attendant will open the curtain and lead you to dry land.

sharksThere are those special few thrill seekers who will jump at the chance to experience rare opportunities, such as the ability to gain limited time access to spectacular views from the top of the 550,000 gallon Shark Realm exhibit. “This seldom-seen view of Shark Realm allows guests to observe our sharks from the top of the exhibit, where our biologists care for and feed the sharks.  Observe shark fins as they slice through the water and get a feel for the inner workings of this behemoth shark exhibit,” added Walker. Imagine being able to brag to friends about the time you came too close to the great hammerhead or the rarely exhibited shark species that will be revealed on opening day.

If you’re seeking an experience that is a bit more exclusive and educational, the VIP tour gives groups the opportunity to learn first hand from the aquarium’s marine biologists about where and how the sharks are fed, what a shark’s physical exam entails (and how they’re able to get that close) and other behind-the-scenes insight. You might find that by the end of this Shark celebration that the lingering fear has been replaced with an exuberant sense of curiosity and amazement, so much so that you enter yourself to win a Swim with the Sharks adventure, where your body will be partially underwater and inches away from tiger sharks, sandbar sharks, nurse sharks and stingrays. Now that beats any fisherman’s tale.

Although one of the best sights of the day will be watching (and snapping pics of) the shark enthusiasts who decide to wear shark fin hats, or “the few that have actually molded their hair to look like a shark fin,” explains Greg Charbeneau, Executive Director of Adventure Aquarium, when touching upon one of his favorite moments of the celebration. This creative promotion rewards guests with $2 off the price of admission, although the real reward is discovering a true appreciation for these aquatic creatures.

Discovery Channel's Shark Week
August 1 - August 9

http://www.adventureaquarium.com/upcomingevents.cfm