Situated on the Strip ath the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, the Shark Reef is one of the most popular attractions in Nevada, and one of the only predator-based aquariums in North America. Shark Reef offers visitors the chance to view a wide variety of sea life - some common and some extremely rare - in a giant expanse of 1.6 million gallons of seawater. All in all, over 2,000 animals from 1,200 species call Shark Reef their home.
Shark Reef is unique in that it creates the impression of man being a visitor into the strange, exotic and fascinating world of underwater. In some places, the aquarium reaches depths of 22 feet, and is designed so that fish and sea creatures swim around and above the visitor to gain the best view possible. The heart of Shark Reef, for example, was created so that visitors feel that they are on the ocean floor, with huge sheets of glass surrounding them at all angles.
Shark Reef was created with the ideals of conservation and education in mind, and this is prevalent throughout one’s visit to this fascinating place. The staff of sixteen naturalists does their utmost to convey the message and ensure that visitors understand the importance of nature preservation. Shark Reef management do all their can to protect the environment, from using man-made coral reefs for the exhibits, to filtering almost two gallons of water every hour.
There is something for everyone to see at Shark Reef. Visitors can view an exhibition of exotic animals, including five incredibly rare golden crocodiles – almost half the total population of this species left in existence on earth! The Piranha exhibit allows visitors a peek into the world of this deadly Amazon fish that can easily consume a 100-pound creature in less than one minute! Other creatures in the Amazon Predator exhibit include the ‘monkey fish’ (Silver Arrowana), the Red Tail Catfish and the Arapaima Gigas. The delicate ecosystem of the Amazon region has been carefully reconstructed at Shark Reef and native creatures have successfully adapted to their new environment in the heart of the Nevada desert!
A firm favorite among children and adults alike is the touch pool that offers them a unique opportunity to literally get a feel of what life is like underwater. This may be the only aquarium in the world where visitors can touch Southern Rays, Horseshoe Crabs or Port Jackson sharks, and are even encouraged to do so.
For those interested in the technicalities of the Shark Reef aquarium and would like to gain a deeper understanding in how such a fascinating institution operates, a thirty-minute ‘Behind the Scenes’ guest tour is available throughout the day, from 10 am to 5 pm. Visitors will get a closer look at that makes the Shark Reef tick, from preparing food and caring for so many creatures, to the saltwater making system and the water filtration.