Who’s excited about SHARK WEEK?
Confession: I’ve never actually seen Shark Week. This time I was ready to join in on the festivities, but we don’t have cable this year. I’m catching up on highlights on their website (watch out.. they are terrifying!)
You can watch the first episode for free on Amazon, but is it worth paying for the entire thing on amazon instant play?
To get you ready, we wanted to share our experience feeding sharks at the Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium. When we heard about the Animal Encounters Program, where you can choose to feed stingrays, sea turtles, or sharks, we knew this was the perfect local adventure for us!
Behind the Scenes Tour of Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium
It started with a behind the scenes tour of the aquarium to see how the entire place runs. Ever own a personal home aquarium with a filtration system? Well, this is their filtration system
Shark Feeding at the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay
After we grabbed shark food, we headed above the largest tank where they showed us how to feed the Zebra Sharks! Using a long feeding tong, we waited at the signal station for the sharks and handed them mackerel as they came up. You could feel them suck it out of the tongs.
Pictured above is a white tip shark! See some that we’ve seen in the wild in the Galapagos here.
It’s completely safe as long as you follow the rules and stay behind the bars as they ask, but I was still anxious that I might be suddenly overcome with vertigo and fall into the tank. Luckily, this has never happened. My imagination likes to run wild. I also imagined we would be handing the food right to their mouths, but I suppose that’s not too safe either. After this experience, I wasn’t as afraid of these big, bad sharks and actually grew quite fond of the zebra sharks we fed!
10 Fun Facts and Tips for Feeding Sharks at the Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium:
- Each type of shark in the tank is trained to feed at a certain area signaled by lights or colors.
- 3 ft of concrete keep the 1.3 million gallon tank contained.
- The biggest shark here is a 9 ft Sand Tiger Shark.
- Learn why Great White Sharks cannot and should not be kept in captivity here.
- The aquarium uses artificial coral for conservancy purposes. The fish don’t seem to mind and fish that eat coral are supplemented with other food.
- Large sharks are fed 3 times a week. Zebra sharks are fed 5-6 times a week.
- The reason we fed zebra sharks is that they are easier to feed. The others are less predictable and the staff has to work harder to monitor their diets.
- Zebra sharks are born with stripes, but as they become adults the stripes turn into spots.
- The Animal Encounters program also included photos from your experience and admission into the aquarium, which I will be posting about next week!
- The cost is $70 per person, and you can book your shark feeding here.
This experience was a lot of fun! Though I’ve heard some Aussies say it’s no biggie to see sharks while surfing, I would be terrified if I had a shark encounter while swimming in the ocean with nothing to separate us. They are pretty fascinating to watch and feed from a safe distance though.
Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium Exhibits
After getting up close and personal with these sharks during our shark feeding, we headed down to the actual exhibits at the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay. The shark feeding was part of the Animal Encounters program, where you get a behind-the-scenes tour and get to feed your animal of choice!
Smaller exhibits include the golden crocodile, lionfish, jellyfish, a komodo dragon, piranhas, etc.
After navigating through them, you reach the centerpiece of the aquarium – a 1.3 million gallon shipwreck tank. It was nice getting the view from the aquarium side after already seeing the tank from above. With multiple windows and a tunnel, you get to peer into the waters where all the sharks, giant rays, sawfish, and sea turtles hang out (also a few people! :D).
If you’ve been to full-scale aquariums like us (Georgia Aquarium is one of the largest in the world), you’re not going to see much that’s new. I would highly recommend adding Animal Encounters. By having the opportunity to feed sharks, sea turtles, or stingrays, it creates a much more unique experience. See our Shark Feed experience here. It was amazing!!
Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay Las Vegas NV:
- Address: 3950 Las Vegas Boulevard South Las Vegas NV 89119
- Phone: 702.632.4555
- Pricing: Adults: $18.00, Children (5-12): $12.00, Children (4 & under): free
- Hours of Operation: Sun – Thurs 10AM – 8PM, Fri – Sat 10AM-10PM
- Summer Hours (May 24 – Sept 1): 10AM-10PM everyday.
- Learn more about diving with sharks here (must be a certified diver).
Local Adventurer Link Up
Welcome to the Local Adventurer Link Up #10. The purpose of this link up is to:
- foster gratitude for the place you live (every city / town has its gems)
- show others great local experiences that they might never find as a tourist
- inspire others to explore and be present wherever they are
This Week’s Local Adventure: Shark Feeding at the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay
We fed sharks for this week’s local adventure!! The Animal Encounters Program at the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay included a behind the scenes tour of the aquarium, a shark feeding, photos of us feeding sharks, and admission into the aquarium. It was an incredible experience! If you missed the full post, see more photos, and learn more about it here. You can also book your feeding here.
Featured Local Adventurer: Team Wiking
Check out Jessica’s beautiful photography and post on Moss Landing State Beach. She also recently went on an Alaskan cruise, which I have as one of my next 5 destinations on my wanderlust list!
I’ve decided to make this a monthly link-up instead of weekly, and it will be every first Thursday of the month! :) When the link-up was combined with our own local adventure, I felt like there was way too much going on in one post. Then when I separated it out, it seemed like there wasn’t enough. Maybe I’m just being nit-picky, but I wanted to change things up again since I wasn’t 100% happy with the format.
After this week, the next one will be September 4th! I’ll send an email reminder out to those who have already participated in the past. I’m really grateful for everyone who has linked up the past 9 weeks.
Since this is the last weekly link-up, I also want to thank Hsiao, Shannon, Emily, and Mariah for regularly contributing. :) You guys are the best! Will definitely be featuring them on future link-ups.
LOCAL ADVENTURER LINK UP RULES
1. Share a post about a local adventure either in your own hometown or within driving distance or you can share a round-up of your favorite local adventures by other bloggers. Unrelated entries or ones linked to your homepage will be deleted.
2. Link back to this site so that others can join in on the fun! Feel free to use the button below if you like!
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3. MOST IMPORTANTLY you MUST visit the person’s blog linked up directly before you and leave them a comment on their blog post.
4. If you tweet out your local adventure post with #localadventurer, I will retweet your link!
See our other Las Vegas local adventures here. If you need ideas for local adventures, you can check out our Pinterest boards for US travel, California, and Las Vegas (newest board!).