Aquarium of the Pacific Welcomes Shark Summer to Long Beach
2009-05-22 · By Editor
Consumers often make decisions about the fate of sharks without realizing the impact. Did you know shark may be in your makeup, lotions, OTC medications, and vitamins? During Shark Summer at the Aquarium of the Pacific, visitors will learn how they can help save shark populations while diving into a new experience with unique animal interactions from May 22 through Labor Day 2009.
“We hope to connect people with sharks in fun and engaging ways while teaching them about the importance of sharks and inspiring them to help protect these animals through their everyday choices,” said Jerry Schubel, Aquarium of the Pacific president & CEO. Shark Summer will feature new sharks and rays, the interactive Shark Zone, a film, interactive family programs, and even opportunities to feed sharks and rays. The public will get closer to sharks than they ever imagined while exploring the world of these amazing and often misunderstood animals at the Aquarium of the Pacific.
The Aquarium will feature various species of sharks and rays, including a new animal known as a shark-ray. This rare animal can weigh nearly 300 pounds and grow up to 8 feet in length. In addition to finding sharks and rays throughout the Aquarium’s exhibits, guests can touch over 200 of these animals and will discover a newly themed area called the Shark Zone. This outdoor area will feature shark activities, including crafts, games, appearances by shark and ray mascots, and the interactive Shark Cart where a growing baby shark can be seen inside its egg case.
The Aquarium will also feature its new film Shark Smart in its Honda Theater and the new Sharklock Holmes and the Case of the Missing Mahi interactive family program in the Marine Life Theater daily. For guests who want to dive deeper, the Aquarium will offer the Feed a Ray program, the Feed a Shark program, the Shark Behind-the-Scenes Tour, and the Shark Summer Lecture Series.
“Through all of our Shark Summer programs, we will try to dispel the myths about sharks while stressing their importance in maintaining healthy marine ecosystems,” said Schubel.
Contrary to popular belief and hype, shark attacks are rare. Worldwide less than eight people die from a shark attack and in the U.S. it’s only one person on average annually, according to the Shark Attack File. Sharks have endured at least five global mass extinctions, when much of life has perished. But now people have become the top predator, and shark populations are declining—some say by as much as 90 percent. Humans kill over 100 million sharks annually. Sharks are slow growing and late to mature, and this has a devastating impact on their populations.
“Like lions, wolves, and other terrestrial predators, sharks serve a critical role in keeping animal populations in balance. Without sharks, our oceans would undergo drastic and devastating changes. Through Shark Summer, we want to illustrate the beauty and importance of these often misunderstood animals,” said Aquarium of the Pacific Curator Sandy Trautwein. In addition to their critical role in maintaining a healthy balance in the ocean, sharks also have an important economic value in eco-tourism, and the study of living sharks has been instrumental in the design of new technologies, including adaptations based on shark movement to make submarines more efficient. “It can be challenging to inspire others to appreciate and want to protect animals that have been feared for generations. However, sharks require that change of heart. Their survival as well as our own depends on it,” said Trautwein.
The Aquarium of the Pacific, a nonprofit institution, is dedicated to instilling a sense of wonder, respect, and stewardship for the Pacific Ocean, its inhabitants, and ecosystems. Located at 100 Aquarium Way in Long Beach, CA., the Aquarium is open daily from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. (except Dec. 25 and during the Grand Prix of Long Beach April 17-19, 2009). Admission is $23.95 adult (12+), $20.95 senior (62+), $11.95 child (3-11), and free for children under age 3 and Aquarium members.
For more information, the public may visit www.aquariumofpacific.org or call 562-590-3100.
Shark Summer is sponsored by Live It with Charter™, a customer rewards program exclusively for Charter Communications customers. The Aquarium’s new film, Shark Smart, is sponsored in part by a generous donation from The Roddenberry Dive Team.