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Aquarium of the Pacific Opens Shark Lagoon, Nation's First Full-Scale Shark-Touch Exhibit
Long Beach, California

Photo courtesy Aquarium of Pacific The Aquarium of the Pacific will open Shark Lagoon, the nation's first full-scale shark-touch exhibit on June 14, 2002. The new Shark Lagoon will feature more than 150 sharks and will offer a hands-on experience with various shark species. Visitors will learn the truth about these misunderstood creatures, firsthand, through this unique touch exhibit.

Last summer was touted as the "Summer of the Shark," and this summer marks the 25th anniversary of the movie Jaws. But, the shark frenzy is not happening on the beaches or in the water. Contrary to popular belief, shark attacks are rare. World-wide, only 5-15 people die from shark attacks annually; and in the U.S. on average, only one person a year dies from a shark attack-according to Wildlife Conservation. In the U.S. annually, people are 30 times more likely to be killed by a lightening strike than by a shark attack, according to the International Shark Attack Files. In contrast, humans kill more than 20 million sharks each year.

"Through our new Shark Lagoon exhibit, the Aquarium aims to help sharks overcome their undeservingly bad reputation," said Aquarium of the Pacific Curator Sandy Trautwein. Visitors will have the opportunity to touch sharks in touch pools, including bamboo, nurse, epaulette and zebra sharks. A 76,000-gallon exhibit, featuring above-and-below water views, will also allow guests to watch larger sharks being fed through a window. Sand tiger sharks as well as sand bar, zebra, nurse and white tip reef sharks will be featured in the exhibit.

In addition to the 90,000-galloon touch-pools and exhibit, interactive displays will also help visitors discover fun facts about sharks. Guests will be able to learn about shark senses of electrical impulses as they measure their own electrical charge. Sharks play an important role in the food chain, and guests will be able to manipulate an ocean food chain to see what it would be like without sharks. There will also be a wet interactive area demonstrating how a giant squid squirts ink (represented by water) to avoid a shark attack and much more.

Shark Lagoon is the final phase of the Aquarium's new interactive area Explorers Cove, which is replacing Kid's Cove. Explorers Cove is a new 35,000 square-foot educational adventure, featuring Lorikeet Forest, Shark Lagoon, interactive displays and special food and retail areas. Modeled on a tropical island theme, Explorers Cove will bring visitors up-close and personal with sharks through the new Shark Lagoon and with lorikeet birds through the Lorikeet Forest.

5,200 square-foot aviary with dozens of colorful lorikeets from the islands and coastal The first phase of Explorers Cove, Lorikeet Forest opened in Fall 2001 and is a lowlands of Australia. Guests may purchase a cup of nectar and hand-feed these friendly birds.

Celebrating the planet's largest and most diverse body of water, the Aquarium of the Pacific is the fifth largest aquarium in the United States. Home to more than 12,000 ocean animals, the Aquarium features 18 major habitats and 31 focus exhibits, exploring the waters of Southern California/Baja, Northern Pacific and the Tropical Pacific. The Aquarium is a non-profit education and conservation institution. Located on Rainbow Harbor in Long Beach, the Aquarium of the Pacific is open daily 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (except December 25 and the weekend of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach). Admission is $16.95 adult (12+), $13.95 senior (60+) and $9.95 child (3-11) (2002 rates). For more information, the public may call 562-590-3100 or visit .

For a Long Beach family adventure see story on Dockside Boat & Bed here.





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