Shark Week begins at Birch
Birch Aquarium makes the case for the scary denizens of the deep
When: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, through July 23
Where: Birch Aquarium at Scripps, 2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla
Tickets: $8 to $12
Phone: (858) 534-3474
Thanks in part to films like “Jaws” and “Finding Nemo ,” so many people are terrified of sharks.
And why shouldn’t they be? Sharks have rows and rows of sharp teeth, their skin feels like sandpaper and they’re attracted to the smell of blood.
Turns out, however, there are more than 300 types of sharks in the ocean and very few of them actually attack humans.
“Sharks are wonderful animals,” said Nigella Hillgarth, director of the Birch Aquarium at Scripps. “They have more reason to fear humans than we have to fear of them.”
So, in order to make people less freaked out around these sea creatures, Birch is hosting its annual Shark Week program. The event, which has been going on for more than a decade, begins Saturday and runs through July 23.
What to expect: The La Jolla aquarium will feature special shark-related lectures and activities. They have more than 10 species and even breed their own sharks, so there will be young ones on hand for people to pet — very gently and with just one finger, but, still, you get to touch a shark! There will also be shark scavenger hunts, detailed displays and photo opportunities in the “Great White” booth.
Dive times: There will also be informative, shark-related dive shows happening in the two-story kelp forest tank. Catch one at 2 p.m. Saturday; 10:30 a.m. Sunday; 12:30 p.m. Tuesday and 12:30 p.m. next Thursday.
See more sharks: Any newfound love affair with sharks doesn’t need to end once Shark Week is over. There are plenty of places in San Diego to explore them further:
California Sea Life Aquarium is also highlighting sharks this summer with daily shark talks at noon and 3 p.m. Fans can pretend to be shark biologists at the Shark and Ray Adventure, happening Thursdays through Tuesdays at 1 p.m. and Wednesdays at 2 p.m. through Aug. 28. Sea Life Aquarium is located at Legoland California Resort in Carlsbad; tickets are $12 to $19; legoland.california.com.
Don’t forget the Shark Encounter at SeaWorld, an exhibit that features a 57-foot walk-through acrylic tube where you can see sandtiger, bonnethead, blacktip and nurse sharks swim right above you. seaworld.com/sandiego.
San Diego sharks: Yes, there are sharks living in our ocean. Some of the types that we have close to the shore and at the bottom of bays include the gray smoothhound, leopard, horn, swell and angel sharks. Don’t bother them and they most likely won’t bother you.