Erin Gifford is a mother of four who shares family travel advice and ideas on her blog, Kidventurous, which was recently chosen as the Best Family Travel blog by Parents magazine.
Yes, it’s that time of year again. If you’re into sharks, get ready for Shark Week, which kicks off on Monday (8/12) on the Discovery Channel. Sure, you’ll find lots of great shows and videos, like “Sharkzilla” and “Shark Week’s 25 Best Bites,” but why not get off the couch, grab the kids and head to your local aquarium for shark-themed festivities!
Aquariums across the country are getting ready to celebrate Shark Week with crafts, puppet shows, special dive shows, overnight programs, and more. Here are five aquariums that are ready to go with activities that both adults and kids will love.
Okay, I’ve never thought about swimming with sharks, but if you have, now’s your chance at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. During Shark Week only, you and your older kids (ages 12 and up) can take part in the Journey with Gentle Giants Immersion Program. Suit up for this daily 2.5 hour experience that also includes a behind-the-scenes tour.
If you’re more like me and want to keep your distance from the sharks, head to the Georgia Aquarium for live shark chats Monday through Friday (8/13-17) at 12:30 pm. Younger kids can also enjoy a number of shark-themed activities, like arts and crafts and interactive underwater dive shows.
Read reviews of the Georgia Aquarium from parents who have visited.
Aquarium of the Bay
During Shark Week (8/11-19), the Aquarium of the Bay on San Francisco’s Pier 39 will have the scoop on sharks’ hunting skills, their keen sense of smell, and their incredible ability to locate prey. To get up close, but not too close, stop in the Bay Theater for the 20-minute film, “The World of Sharks 3D.” It’s also a nice opportunity to sit down and rest your feet for a few minutes!
Come by on Sunday (8/12) and Thursday (8/16) for the Sevengill Shark Feeding. Watch divers feed the San Francisco Bay’s largest predators. Or, sign up for the new Feed the Sharks Tour to get a chance to feed the sharks, rays, and skates on your own! As a bonus, mention “25 for 25” and get a 25% discount into the aquarium during Shark Week. I love discounts when I’ve got the family in tow.
See what families are saying about the Aquarium of the Bay.
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
At Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, Tennessee there are lots of arts, crafts and games for kids during Shark Week (8/12-19). As a bonus, print out, color, and wear your personalized Shark Hat or Shark Glasses to save $3 on adult admission and $2 on children’s admission (ages 6-11). Yeah, more discounts!
Visit the Shark Lagoon to meet various sharks, including the Sandtiger Shark and the Nurse Shark. Or, try out the Sleep with the Sharks overnight program. Your kids will love sleeping in the Shark Lagoon and going on a scavenger hunt throughout the aquarium! This is such a great way to see the aquarium without all the crowds.
Discover what else Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies has to offer by reading Trekaroo member reviews.
The Living Planet
The baby sharks have arrived at The Living Planet in Sandy, Utah and you’ll get a chance to see the five shark pups that just arrived from Australia during Shark Week. Don’t miss the Baby Shark Puppet Show that will be performed three times daily on Monday (8/13) and Friday (8/17). I wonder if the baby sharks will have Aussie accents. Hmm.
The Ocean Explorer section of the aquarium will feature six different species of sharks, and even better, you’ll have the opportunity to touch live sharks during Shark Week. Don’t worry, professionals will be on hand to make sure everyone goes home in one piece. Plus, look out for more events, activities, contests and prizes!
Sea Life Carlsbad Aquarium
The popular aquarium located at the LEGOLAND California Resort will be celebrating Shark Week 8/12-19 with a variety of activities, including a shark scavenger hunt, a themed puppet show, and a special daily dive show at 10:30 am each morning.
Little ones will love the shark-themed craft activities that take place each day between 11 am and 4 pm. You may also want to check out the Atlantis Shark Feed to see how sharks eat and learn more about their diet. Meanwhile, the Shark & Ray Adventure will give you a better feel for what it takes to become a shark biologist. Love these extra educational activities!
Check in with your local aquarium to see what they have planned for Shark Week. Or, just hop in the car and go to celebrate sharks and all of the other amazing undersea creatures at your nearby aquarium. If you know of a great Shark Week program going on at an aquarium near you, tell us about it!