Shark Week is one of the most coveted times of the year that people tune into Discovery Channel and watch a series of shark documentaries that quells their fascination with sharks. Whether people want to gain more knowledge about sharks, watch sharks devour poor, unsuspecting seals, fish, and plankton (yes, some sharks only eat plankton!), see people embarking on a conquest to visit sharks in their natural habitat, or hear about a few people’s close encounters with sharks’ jaws (see what I did there?), Shark Week is the hub for people to learn more about the magnificent toothy creatures.
Discovery Channel’s Shark Week brought the masses one step closer to bridging the divide between people and sharks. Emaar Entertainment and Discovery Consumer Products teamed up to unveil the world’s first Discovery Channel Shark Week attraction, adding to the exhibits at the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, and giving people the chance to interact with sharks through a unique experience.
The unveiling of the exhibit was preempted by a speech from the face of Shark Week, Joe Romeiro, an award winning cinematographer who has spent several years working with sharks. Teasers were also presented from two shows, Return of the Monster Mako, and Tiger Beach, both debuting in Shark Week. Romeiro also made sure to note on the controversy surrounding Shark Week, as some believe that Shark Week spreads false information about sharks, leading people to over-hunt them in fear for their own safety and well-being, citing that 70-100 million sharks die annually from humans hunting them – that translates to three sharks dying every second. In line with efforts for shark conservation, Romeiro stressed Shark Week’s ambition to educate the public on sharks. The Shark Week exhibit succeeds in doing just that.
The first stage of the Shark Week exhibit experience is entering into an interactive digital shark cage, which was designed exclusively by LG for the exhibit. CGI great white sharks and divers circle guests entering into the exhibit, and guests can press on different buttons situated throughout the cage, each button revealing a different tidbit of information about sharks’ biology and their habitats. Next, guests enter into a unique tunnel that is a hybrid of technology and a living aquarium. The guests are led into the underwater tunnel that have several different breeds of sharks, including scalloped hammerhead sharks, sandbar whalers, blacktip reef sharks, and bonnethead sharks roaming around, as well as devil rays (only two aquariums in the world are home to the close relative of the manta ray) with giant LG LED screens behind the tunnels. Guests can choose their favorite shark species to emerge on the screens and appear to swim in the water surrounding the tunnel as they walk through.
For those of you who are dying to interact with sharks without worrying about needing a bigger boat, this exhibit is definitely worth the experience.