10 Ways to (Safely) Get Close to Sharks
Kids tucked for the Overnight Adventure at the Newport Aquarium. Newport Aquarium
Why count sheep when you can count sharks? The Newport Aquarium in Newport, Kentucky, offers this unforgettable experience.
The aquarium's "Overnight Adventure" is just one of many events that shark lovers worldwide can experience, allowing close encounters with many different species of these formidable ocean predators.
At the "Overnight Adventure," Newport Aquarium spokesperson Jeff Geiser explained to Discovery News that you can "sink your teeth into some great shark facts and sleep safely as they swim above you. Every Overnight Adventure includes exclusive aquarium access, animal-themed games and activities -- plus, you'll sleep surrounded by amazing sea life -- like sharks!"
DON'T MISS SHARK WEEK SUN AUG 10-SAT AUG 16 8/7C!Discovery
Scuba divers and blacktip sharks in the Bahamas.Albert Kok, Wikimedia Commons
Experienced scuba divers who are also photography buffs can dive in the clear, warm waters of Bimini, Bahamas, with plenty of hammerhead and bull sharks around to photograph and admire. Tours such as Photography Adventures, led by Gregory Sweeney, allow you to meet other like-minded shark aficionados.
A snorkeler with a blacktip reef shark.Wikimedia Commons
Snorkelers as well as non-swimmers can go on a "Shark Island" tour in Bali. The tour is organized by Bali Sharks, which is a conservation nursery. Participants also get to visit the region's Turtle Conservation and Education Center.
An ocellate river stingray at the New England Aquarium. Steven G. Johnson, Wikimedia Commons
In 2008, the New England Aquarium installed a temporary touch tank containing southern stingrays, cownose rays, yellow stingrays and coral catsharks. The exhibit proved to be so popular that it's now a permanent exhibit: the Trust Family Foundation Shark and Ray Touch Tank. As the name suggests, visitors can gently touch the species in the tank's clear, shallow water.
The Farallon Islands.Jan Roletto, NOAA
The Farallon Islands, a rocky outcropping off the coast of San Francisco, attract all sorts of wildlife, including marine mammals such as sea lions and seals. White sharks love to sink their many teeth into such prey, so they come to this location year after year for such meaty meals. Visitors can cage dive or view the huge white sharks from boats. Many organized tours are available. The Pacific Ocean water here is usually very choppy, so those who are prone to seasickness -- be warned.
Scuba divers admiring a shark at Denver's Downtown Aquarium. Landry's Inc
Hayden Rome, a spokesperson for Denver's Downtwn Aquarium, told Discovery News, "In celebration of National Shark Week, the Downtown Aquarium locations in Denver and Houston have planned live entertainment and interactive shows, including the ever-popular 'Dive with Sharks' shows."
Members of the public who are also certified scuba divers can swim alongside sand tiger sharks, brown sharks, zebra sharks, barracudas, guitar fish, Pacific green sea turtles and saw fish in the aquarium's Sunken Shipwreck exhibit.
The Sharks Underwater Grill at Sea World Orlando. Fred Hsu
Sharks Underwater Grill at SeaWorld Orlando is a full-service, Zagat-praised restaurant that offers dining right next to Shark Encounter, the venue's enormous shark-filled tank. The only sharks on the menu are in the "gummy shark (candy) sundae" for kids.
A blue shark.Mark Conlin, NOAA
Blue sharks and other marine life abound in waters off of the Azores, an archipelago located about 850 miles west of Portugal. Visitors who snorkel or scuba dive can enjoy all during very up-close encounters.
A white shark approaches divers in a cage off Dyer Island, Western Cape, South Africa.Wikimedia Commons
Cage diving happens all over the world, from South Africa to California, allowing people to get inches away from sharks while in the safe confines of a cage. Buyer beware, though. Some tours are more eco-friendly than others. One concern, for example, is the use of bait to attract sharks to the cages. Many sharks, such as white sharks, could actually learn to associate humans with food this way. Sharks can be brought to the area by other means, such as acoustic attraction.
Scuba divers with a shark and fish at The Florida Aquarium's Dive with the Sharks.The Florida Aquarium
Certified scuba divers can get oohs and ahhs from aquarium visitors at The Florida Aquarium as the onlookers watch participants in the Dive with the Sharks program.
"The Florida Aquarium's Dive with the Sharks program provides a unique opportunity for certified scuba divers to come face-to-face with live sharks inside the aquarium's largest exhibit," aquarium spokesperson Katherine Claytor told Discovery News.