Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sharky Commercial Aquarium Trends

We have blogged about the current trend of commercial aquariums that allow "divers" into their enclosures for face to face encounters with sharks.

Like it or not this is a trend-and a poor one at that. Commercial aquaria were never constructed and designed as underwater public encounter spaces. In 98% of them-these for profit public encounters-are an afterthought. Basically these aquaria are becoming hybrid organizations at best.

Why not build a state of the art public dive encounter site complete with sharks, safety and education? Seems like a far fetched idea? We're closer than ever.

Here's the growing list of aquarium adventure dives for your review:

Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta. A whale shark, the world's largest fish, is the prime attraction. One 30-minute dive daily. There is also a swim option, with no diving experience required ($290;

Florida Aquarium, Tampa. Dive with the Sharks. One 30-minute dive daily ($150;

National Aquarium, Baltimore. Wings in the Water and Atlantic Coral Reef tanks are available for diving. One 30-minute dive in each tank, every other Saturday. ($295;

Epcot Center, Orlando. Epcot Dive Quest, sharks, eagle rays, sea turtles, plus 60-plus fish species, 40-minute dive twice daily. ($150;

Underwater Adventure at the Mall of America. Offers dives to Fisherman's Hollow and Shark Cove on Wednesday evenings and Saturday and Sunday afternoons ($195). There is a swim option for those without diving experience: snorkeling Rainbow Reef, on Friday afternoons and Saturday and Sunday mornings ($80;

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