Entertainment & Events

Shark Week at Birch Aquarium

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Every year around this time, Jaws jokes make a big comeback in and around San Diego, thanks to the Birch Aquarium’s annual Shark Week. This year the celebrations will begin July 17 and run through the 23, with the spotlight on the toothsome creatures that inspire fear in so many.

But the director of the Birch Aquarium at Scripps, Nigella Hillgarth, contests the terrifying and bloodthirsty popular image sharks typically evoke. “Sharks are wonderful animals,”she stated in an interview with the Union-Tribune. “They have more reason to fear humans than we have to fear of them.”

In an effort to educate adults and children alike about the real facts relating to these creatures, the Birch Aquarium’s Shark Week features the 10 types of sharks housed at UCSD’s Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, with each day featuring new shark-themed activities and events for visitors to view and partake in. Among the many offerings are opportunities to touch baby sharks, view dive shows in the aquarium’s 70,000 gallon kelp forest tank, take part in shark scavenger hunts, hear hourly talks from Scripps researchers, and of course, pore over exhibitions of huge shark models, including skeletons of those fearsome teeth.

While Shark Week demonstrates the majesty and awe-inspiring strength of these beautiful animals, the main purpose of the week-long affair is to portray the sharks in a realistic light and to debunk the fear people harbor for them. “Shark Week is about really educating the public on how wonderful sharks are,” Hillgarth said. “There are 300 species, and very few of them really ever attack people. These are truly amazing ocean predators, and they are being killed in the hundreds of thousands if not millions.”

Admission to Shark Week is available for the regular price of entrance into the Aquarium, $8.50 for children and $12 for adults.

Photo from Tewy via Wikimedia

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