Come Fingers to Fins with Sharks at the South Carolina Aquarium

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Most Significant Enhancement to Guest Experience Since Opening Debuts May 9

Shark Shallows at the South Carolina Aquarium

April 30, 2015— Mark your calendar for May 9, the grand opening of the South Carolina Aquarium’s newest exhibit, Shark Shallows. The most significant enhancement to the Aquarium since opening in 2000, Shark Shallows will literally bring visitors fingers to fins with sharks and stingrays. Guests of all ages will be able to touch sharks and rays in an innovative outdoor exhibit against the beautiful backdrop of the Charleston harbor.

Shark Shallows, the first of its type in the region, will educate visitors about the importance of the ocean’s top predator, sharks, and what they can do to protect this greatly misunderstood species. From Aquarium experts communicating with visitors in daily shows, to interactive education elements around the exhibit, Shark Shallows will dispel widespread rumors about sharks, and encourage visitors to advocate for the conservation of these animals in the wild. The animals that will inhabit Shark Shallows include bonnethead and nurse sharks, as well as cownose rays and southern stingrays. Each animal serves as ambassadors for their species and are found right off of the South Carolina coast.

On May 9, the first 200 guests through the door will receive a special Shark Shallows backpack, all guests will enjoy an appearance by the Aquarium’s new mascot, Miles and his best friend Bob, complimentary face painting, crafts, and more. Mark your calendar and get ready to come closer than ever before to these amazing animals.

Shark Shallows is included with general admission to the Aquarium. For more information visit or call (843) 577-FISH (3474).

Importance of shark conservation:
Sharks are some of the most misunderstood species in the animal kingdom. More than 400 species of sharks live worldwide, and 39 of those species can be found off the South Carolina coast. Sharks are the ocean’s top predator and have lived on earth for more than 400 million years, making them even older than dinosaurs. Despite media portrayals, it may come as a surprise that shark attacks in the wild are extremely rare and humans are actually much more dangerous to sharks. In fact, people are more likely to be injured by a dog, a falling coconut, ladders or even a toilet than a shark!

Shark species are vulnerable to overfishing by humans for consumption because sharks grow slowly, produce few young and become sexually mature at older ages than most fish. While shark fishing is managed well in the United States, overfishing and finning of sharks often goes unregulated in other countries, contributing to the decline of many shark species. According to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, 100 million sharks are killed every year due to human activity. Now more than ever, it’s important to educate the public how to protect these amazing animals.

More about the exhibit:
Shark Shallows features a 20,000-gallon touch tank designed especially for elasmobranchs, the scientific subclass that includes sharks, rays and skates. The figure eight-shaped tank features a deep area with a viewing window where the animals can swim uninterrupted, and a shallow area where guests have the opportunity to reach out and touch the animals. Shark Shallows is located outdoors on the Aquarium’s Riverside Terrace and is accessible year-round, with a shade structure and a customized heating and cooling system to keep the tank’s temperature regulated throughout the seasons.

Fast Facts:

  • Shark Shallows, the most significant enhancement to the Aquarium since opening day, opens May 9
  • Guests will come fingers to fins with sharks!
  • The exhibit will educate guests about the important role sharks and rays play in our oceans and inspire them to take action in the conservation of these animals
  • The 20,000-gallon tank features a shallow area where guests can touch the animals, and a deeper area that includes a viewing window
  • Species in the exhibit include bonnethead and nurse sharks as well as cownose rays and southern stingrays
  • All species are found off of the South Carolina coast
  • The grand opening of Shark Shallows features a special appearance by Miles and his best friend Bob, the Aquarium’s new mascot, complimentary face painting and crafts
  • The first 200 guests through the door will receive a Shark Shallows backpack
  • For more information visit or call (843) 577-FISH (3474)
  • Shark Shallows is included with general admission to the Aquarium
  • Click here for the media newsroom on Shark Shallows with additional information, photos, renderings and video

For all media inquiries, please contact Kate Dittloff at (843) 579-8660 or kdittloff(at)scaquarium(dot)org.

About the South Carolina Aquarium:
The South Carolina Aquarium, Charleston’s most visited attraction, features thousands of amazing aquatic animals from river otters and sharks to loggerhead turtles in more than 60 exhibits representing the rich biodiversity of South Carolina from the mountains to the sea. Dedicated to promoting education and conservation, the Aquarium also presents fabulous views of Charleston harbor and interactive exhibits and programs for visitors of all ages.

The South Carolina Aquarium, a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization and is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Aquarium is closed Thanksgiving Day, half day Dec. 24 (open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and Dec. 25. Admission prices are: Toddlers (2 and under) free; Youth (3-12) $17.95; Adults (13+) $24.95. The Aquarium plus the 4-D Theater experience is free for Toddlers, $22.95 for Children, $29.95 for Adults. The 4-D Theater experience only is $6.95 for Children and Adults, and free for Members. For more information call 843-720-1990 or visit Memberships are available by calling 843-577-FISH.


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Kate Dittloff
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