Theme Park Warrior

Shark Encounter

Location:Orlando, Florida, United States
Theme Park:Seaworld
Year Built:
Indoor or OutdoorIndoor
Attraction Location:
Height Requirements:None
Line Priority:None
Average Rating from TPW Users

For those of who ever dreamed of diving with Sharks, well then Shark Encounter at SeaWorld has just what you are looking for. This aquarium-style tank allows guest to get up close and personal with some of the seas’ scariest, ugliest, and most dangerous creatures. The tone and lighting of this exhibit is dark and foreboding, with appropriately ominous soundtrack music, but you needn’t worry about any unpleasant surprises. When you get right down to it, it’s fish in tanks and far too fascinating to be truly scary to any except perhaps the most suggestible kids.

You will enter the exhibit through a short corridor that leads to a clear acrylic tunnel through an artificial tropical reef. First up in this massive ocean home of the deep are many varieties of tropical reef fish swimming around, but look very closely because hiding in the reefs are the moray eels. These are nasty-looking snake-like fish that will pop there heads in and out reef coral. They are unique looking with a yellow coating of slime over its blue flesh gives it a sickly green tint.

The tunnel area curves around and into an area with several tanks that hold a variety of specimens. First is the delicate and intricately camouflaged lionfish. Looks are deceiving here, because the lion fish’s feathery appendages are actually poisoned spines that are highly toxic to swimmers unfortunate enough to come in contact with them. There are also Puffer Fish, which is the world’s most poisonous fish. Surgeonfish can be found in another tank. These marine animals are pretty, but near their tail there is a hidden weapon that is the equivalent to a switchblade, that can inflict a nasty gash. Across the way are those infamous Barracuda, looking every bit as terrifying as ever. However these creatures as scary as they look when encountered in the ocean they are more curious, and unless they are provoked they are highly unlikely to attack. Last up before you enter the zigzag tunnel with the sharks, are the poisonous creatures of the rainforest. As you walk down the long tunnel toward the shark encounter the wall displays fill you in on shark facts.

At the bottom the tunnel a slow, stately ride on a conveyer belt through a 124-foot tunnel that takes you right down the middle of the shark tank. About a foot thick, the clear acrylic walls of the tunnel are supporting 450 tons of man-made salt water over your head. Don’t worry; you’re perfectly safe; the acrylic can withstand a tromping by 372 elephants. While all around and above you swim saw tooth sharks, brown sharks, nurse sharks, bull sharks, lemon sharks, and sandpiper sharks. There are no giants here but what the specimens lack in size they more than make up for in number. If you ever encounter sharks in the wild, hopefully there will be nowhere near this many of them.

As you leave the exhibit take a moment to check it out the pools of sharks as you leave. Especially look for the bridge over a shallow pool in which some of the smaller and less threatening shark specimens are displayed. Here are small hammerheads and nurse sharks along with a variety of rays, including the jet-black bat ray.