There’s a reason the whole country is obsessed with Shark Week, shark attacks, Jaws and everything else shark-related. It’s because they’re superawesomelymegabadassterrific, duh. So much so that the Mandalay Bay named their Shark Reef Aquarium after them (ok so technically this is speculation, but it totally seems legit).
There aren’t a whole lot of places that take the public behind the scenes for an up close and personal experience with the animals. But luckily for you, Mandalay Bay is one of ’em. With the Animal Encounters program, guests can feed stingrays, 300 pound sea turtles and even sharks.
Spoiler alert: No lunch shall be licked from your fingertips, at least at the aquarium. They use a claw grabber-thingy so everybody leaves with the same number of digits they came with (unless you meet a cute marine biologist, but those are a different set of digits). Plus, it’s probably not a good idea for the sharks to start associating humans with “lunch,” just saying.
For all you adrenaline junkies or just plain aquatic wildlife enthusiasts, they’ve also got a scuba diving encounter that’ll let you swim with the sharks. Given the mob’s history in Vegas, we’re pretty familiar with the term “sleeping with the fishes,” and this doesn’t seem a whole lot different. The good news is, we found out this is actually much safer than dealing with the dons. Well, if you consider diving in a tank with 30 of the ocean’s top predators, safer. The cool thing about this experience is that you’re guaranteed the sharks will show up, something you don’t have much control over in the ocean.
We learned a lot of things at the Shark Reef Aquarium, like the importance of opposable thumbs. Lacking digits, sharks have no choice but to test something out with their mouths. It works for them, but it totally sucks for us. We also discovered that there are way more animals than just those in the aquarium. The Shark Reef is home to crocodiles, piranhas, snakes and a Komodo dragon too.
The Shipwreck exhibit has two underwater tunnels and holds 1.3 million gallons of water and sheer aquatic awesomeness. With more than 1,200 species of marine life, the Animal Encounters and petting pool make the Shark Reef Aquarium a place unlike most others. Finally, a place where you can look and touch.
For more information on the Shark Reef Aquarium in Mandalay Bay, click here.