City Picks, Nature + Pets

Shark Shallows Opening

When: Sat., May 9 2015

If you’ve ever wanted to touch a shark — yes, actually touch one — then you’ll want to head to S.C. Aquarium’s newest exhibit featuring a 20,000 gallon touch tank. With about 20 cownose rays and southern stingrays, one nurse shark, and five bonnethead sharks (the hammerhead’s cousin), this exhibit has all the fin-flippin’ you’ll ever need. We’ll admit, we were pretty scared at first. But S.C. Aquarium’s PR Manager Kate Dittloff assured us that our fingers were perfectly safe in the 81-degree pool. “We want to educate people and show them that these creatures are harmless,” says Dittloff. “When you touch [a shark] you realize that it’s an animal and it’s like, oh, he won’t hurt me,” she says. The sharks and rays in the tank can be found off of South Carolina’s shores; the idea is that you can stand on the newly renovated terrace, come face to face with a cownose ray — they totally smile at you — and then turn towards the harbor and know that the same creature swims in those waters. “We don’t name them ... we don’t try to humanize them,” says Ditloff. “If they bite you [in the ocean], it’s because they thought you were a fish. It’s just mistaken identity.”

Connelly Hardaway

Price: $24.95/adults, $17.95 kids under 12

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