Ocean Explorer features saltwater species from all over the world. You’ll find sea jellies, eels, seahorses and 7 different species of sharks. Our shark species include Brown Banded Bambook sharks, Nurse sharks, Sandbar sharks, Blacktip Reef sharks, Whitetip reef sharks, Grey Reef sharks, and Zebra sharks.
Feature Exhibits Include:
One of the most popular features of our new facility is the 40-foot shark tunnel. Guests can view the sharks, sea turtles and sting rays swimming just inches away! The shark tunnel weighs 26,000 pounds and was lifted through the roof of the aquarium with a crane. The tunnel is made from 3.5 inch thick acrylic.
Coral reefs form some of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth. They cover less than 1% of the ocean floor, but support about 25% of marine life. Some of the coral reefs that we know today started grown about 50 million years ago – like the Great Barrier Reef. Scientists estimate that about 30% of the coral reefs will be destroyed by human causes within 30 years. One of the most common ways of coral reef destruction is from pollution.
The reef predator tank features a variety of eels, epaulette sharks, puffer fish and groupers. Squirrel fish and pinktail trigger fish add some color to this beautiful glimpse into the ocean.
GREEN SEA TURTLE
A rescued sea turtle currently resides in our 300,000 gallon shark tank. A few years ago the 40-pound Green Sea Turtle was severely bitten by a large shark and then hit by a boat, and shortly thereafter was rescued by The Turtle Hospital in Florida. She has a large semi-circular wound (approx 12 inches in diameter) on her right side. After a year of care she was still unable to fully submerge and therefore would not survive in the wild on her own, causing her to be non-releasable. In order to assist the turtle with buoyancy, custom made lead weights have been applied to her shell with marine epoxy and Velcro. All turtles float differently and at different angles, therefore the appropriate weight is placed on the back and sides of the shell. Currently, the turtle requires 304 grams of weight in order to dive and swim comfortably. The marine epoxy which holds the weight to her carapace will last 6 months to a year. The weight will eventually fall off and need to be re-applied. More weight will need to be added as the years pass and the turtle grows larger. This sea turtle is a must-see during your next visit. Be careful—she is so adorable that she may steal your heart!