The Aquarium threw itself a fundraiser and all I got was this lousy button. Actually, the cute button says “I heart shark,” with a big bite drawn into the heart. It was a prize for finding the person given the same number as you in a little game at the entrance to the Shark, Rattle, and Roll party Friday night. As people found their mates, local songbird Emily Hearn crooned to the hundreds of people on the Aquarium’s deck as the lights on the bridge and the Yorktown sparkled in the fade of sunset. The Occasional Milkshake joined Hearn on the small stage, sweating out the gig with big smiles. Ten Toes Up also entertained the crowd as temperatures mercifully dropped a bit later in the evening.
The beer of the night was Landshark Lager, a nice crisp brew that goes down easy. Its partner, the themed “Shark Bite” cocktail ... not so much. Adding grenadine syrup and citrus rum to a cup of beer is probably going to lead to a bad morning after, if you can even get it down. Hey, we gave it the old college try, but a watermelon mojito “shark bite” might have been a better crowd-pleaser.
The smell of barbecue wafted in heavenly air-conditioning gusts amongst the fish tanks inside as a DJ played Chaka Khan and Tone Loc, lending an ’80s bat mitzvah flavor to the evening, except for the Q. Smoky Oak Taproom provided the barbecue/taco-bar hybrid with shockingly good ribs.
In the Great Ocean Room, sharks mesmerized us through the 18-inch clear acrylic wall, with their serious swag in the water. A scary Lemon shark made the rounds through the tank, clearly the most imposing guy of the bunch. On the way out, a quote from African environmentalist Baba Dioum was illuminated on the wall: “What you love, you will conserve.” It’s a powerful statement that testifies to the importance of learning environments like the S.C. Aquarium. And for that, we will sing “I Think I Love You,” fins up.