Even before dinosaurs roamed the earth, sharks prowled its oceans. The myths, mystery and big budget movies focused on these 400-million-year-old apex predators from the deep fuel our imaginations, but there is much more to revere than to fear about these "jaw-some" creatures. Join the Greater Cleveland Aquarium in celebrating the important role sharks play in our aquatic ecosystems during its Fin Fest July 22 through July 30.
Fin Fest includes shark storytelling by Captain NEO (Monday through Friday at 11 a.m.) and shark feeds (Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at 3:30 p.m.) as well as daily shark tooth identification, shark-centered aquarist (1 p.m.) and diver talks (11:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m.), shark crafts, photo opportunities with Aquarium mascot Finn (3:30 p.m.), daily prize drawings, and shark trivia.
For example, did you know some sharks cycle through as many as 35,000 teeth in their lifetime? A shark's skin is covered by small, V-shaped scales called dermal denticles that help them speed through the water?
Are you aware that stingrays and sharks are related? Or that a person is considerably more likely to die from an asteroid, a falling coconut, or tumbling out of bed than shark attack?
Fin Fest-goers will see five different species of shark at the Aquarium -- brown banded bamboo, blacknose, Atlantic nurse, sandbar, and sand tiger. Guests are encouraged to ask all kinds of questions about shark behavior -- from what they eat to how they sleep.
"We can and will try to give guests all kinds of facts about how amazing these animals are and how critical it is to protect and respect them, but it seems like nothing inspires reverence quite like the impact of seeing one," says GM Tami Brown, noting that humans kill an alarming number of sharks annually -- as many as 100 million. "Every day we hear children yell out excitedly at their first glimpse of a fin and we see open-mouthed adults transfixed as a shark glides by overhead. That's the sort of appropriate sense of wonder an up-close shark sighting can command."
Can't get enough of the sharks? The Aquarium plans to offer an online Shark-Cam throughout Fin Fest. Guests will be able to watch cownose stingrays, goliath groupers, green moray eels, angelfish and, of course, sharks coast by the in-gallery camera. "It may not have the impact of seeing a shark in person, but it does give you a unique opportunity to be an underwater wildlife voyeur and indulge your natural curiosity."
Follow or share Fin Fest on social with #CLEFINFEST. For more information, visit greaterclevelandaquarium.com.