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Sharks

One of the Largest & Most Dynamic Shark Exhibits in North America

The biggest aquarium in the western hemisphere just got a lot bigger. Our expansive new gallery is home to multiple shark species and is overflowing with suspense and adventure. With epic views and unique encounters — including a cage dive! — this gallery will transport you to the dark depths of the oceans to meet our newest residents.

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1.2M Gallons of Water
20 ft. Tank Depth
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Face to Face With the Most Enigmatic & Misunderstood Creatures in the Sea

Jaw-dropping viewing windows and thrilling new encounters get you up close and personal with these magnificent ocean predators. Around every corner, you’ll discover something new and begin to unlock the mysteries and myths surrounding these ancient creatures.

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A Fresh Perspective on Sharks

  • Ocean ecosystems rely on a delicate balance between predator and prey.

    Sharks have been guarding our oceans for more than 500 million years. As apex predators, they are at the top of the ocean food chain and we rely on them to help control marine animal populations so these ecosystems can thrive. Without them, the predatory fish population increases, and the number of herbivores decreases, leading to algae dominance in the reef system. They also remove the sick and the weak and ensure species diversity. This balance helps preserve coral reefs, seagrass habitats, and overall ocean health. As the number of sharks declines, our oceans face an uncertain and dangerous future.

  • Around 100 million sharks are killed by humans each year—that’s 200 sharks per minute. Dive into more information about the threats endangering these incredible animals.

    Fishing
    Unsustainable commercial fishing practices and demand for shark fin soup has caused a steep decline in global shark populations—by up to 90% in some areas of the world.

    Habitat loss
    Sharks are losing their habitats due to man-made events such as oil spills, pollution, chemical waste, trawling fishing nets, and destruction of reefs—just to name a few.

    Marine pollution
    An estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic trash enter the ocean every year and the World Economic Forum predicts that by 2050 there may be more plastic than fish (by weight) in the world’s oceans.

    Climate change
    As water temperatures and acidity levels rise due to acute climate change, sharks could face devastating impacts to their habitats, reproduction, and food sources.

  • Myth: Sharks eat humans.
    Despite the bad reputation sharks get in the media, the vast majority of sharks are not dangerous to humans. Shark attacks do occur but it’s often a case of mistaken identity when a person is sending the same signals as a shark’s natural prey. A shark’s diet typically consists of smaller fish and invertebrates or, if a larger species, animals such as sea lions and seals.

    Myth: Sharks will eat anything.
    Research shows that sharks will peacefully allow small fish to clean their jaws and skin—proving they’re not just mindless eating machines that will attack anything that moves.

    Myth: Sharks are mindless.
    Sharks are actually very intelligent. Scientists tell us that sharks not only exhibit complex social behaviors but they can be trained to successfully execute response and reward exercises.

  • There are many ways you can help endangered shark species:

    Reduce, Reuse & Recycle
    80% of the ocean’s pollutants come from land. Always be responsible for your own trash and reduce, reuse, and recycle whenever possible.

    Make Sustainable Seafood Choices
    Making seafood choices that are responsibly sourced and supporting responsible fishing practices are easy ways to save sharks and help maintain healthy ocean ecosystems.

    Advocate & Volunteer
    Make new friends by joining a trash clean-up in your city. Local clean-up events sweep hundreds of miles of beach, marsh, and rivers systems every year.

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Plunge Into an Up-close Cage Encounter

Submerge yourself in a shark enthusiast’s dream and venture into the deep with some of our most fearsome sharks. Be one of the first to experience the Shark Cage Dive. Opens January 21, 2021. Space is limited so book today.

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Suit Up With Sharks & Rays

Go from fear to fascination in this exciting new immersion experience. Grab a wetsuit and get in the water with some of our new sharks and rays. Opens November 2, 2020. Space is limited so book your immersion today.

Sand Tiger Shark

Sand Tiger Shark

Carcharias taurus

NTNear Threatened

Range: Western Atlantic, Eastern Atlantic

Size: 6.5 to 10.5 feet (2.0-3.2 m), 200 to 350 lbs. (91-159 kg)

Despite its menacing appearance, the sand tiger shark is a docile and non-aggressive species. Its toothy smile displays a mouthful of sharp teeth and they enjoy snacking on bony fish, smaller sharks, rays, squid, crabs, & lobsters.

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Great Hammerhead Shark

Great Hammerhead Shark

Sphyrna mokarran

ENEndangered

Range: Tropical seas worldwide

Size: 12.1-18 feet (3.7-5.5 m)

This shark’s genus name, Sphyrna, is Greek for “hammer.” The great hammerhead shark is sometimes targeted for fishing due to its large fins, which are considered particularly desirable in the fin trade for shark fin soup.

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Tiger Shark

Tiger Shark

Galeocerdo cuvier

NTNear Threatened

Habitat: Continental shelves, islands, and coral reefs

Size: 16 feet (4.9 m), 1,400 pounds (635 kg)

The tiger shark is one of the largest and most dangerous carnivores in the ocean. Its diet is one of the most diverse of any shark and it’s known to consume almost any type of marine debris that ends up in the ocean.

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Silvertip Shark

Silvertip Shark

Carcharhinus albimarginatus

VUVulnerable

Depth Range: 3.2-2,624.7 feet (1-800 m)

Size: 5.2-5.9 feet (1.6-1.8 m)

The silvertip shark has large eyes and is able to see in dark, murky waters — up to 10 times more accurately than humans in clear water. They also possess a strong sense of hearing and smell.

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Silky Shark

Silky Shark

Carcharhinus falciformis

VUVulnerable

Range: Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans

Size: 6-7.5 feet (1.8-2.3 m)

The quick-moving and aggressive silky shark is one of the most abundant open water shark species. It’s estimated that their population has decreased by 85% over the course of a 19-year period, and continues to decrease.

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Round Ribbontail Ray

Round Ribbontail Ray

Taeniurops meyeni

VUVulnerable

Habitat: Usually associated with reefs

Size: 11 feet (330 cm) snout to tail

Did you know that stingrays are sometimes called “flat sharks”? As close relatives, they have a lot in common with sharks but have unique features of their own. The round ribbontail can be found swimming alone or in schools and possesses a venomous barb at the base of the tail.

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Want an Exclusive Shark Peek?

Get your Georgia Aquarium Membership today and be one of the first to experience our immersive new gallery. Members will get exclusive access, one week ahead of the crowd, to learn all about these top predators and their importance to our world.

A Diverse Species

Q: How many species of sharks are there?

A: There are approximately over 500+ known shark species and we’re constantly discovering more. About a quarter of those are critically endangered due to habitat destruction, overfishing, habitat pollution, and climate change, so we’ve got a lot of work to do.

Older & Wiser

Q: How long have sharks existed?

A: Sharks first appeared about 550 million years ago. They’ve been around longer than trees and outlived the dinosaurs. Modern-day sharks are descended from survivors of all five mass extinctions.

Open Wide

Q: How many teeth do sharks have?

A: They have about five rows of teeth and as they grow and continue to feed those teeth push forward and are eventually lost and replaced. They could have hundreds of teeth and lose thousands over their lifetime.

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