Sunday, April 14, 2024

Explore sharks all summer at the Virginia Living Museum


Get set for a shark summer at the Virginia Living Museum from May 11 through September 2!

Enter the exhibit gallery through a massive shark jaw tunnel to experience Shark Zone, a new exhibit created by the Virginia Living Museum. Meet face-to-face the awesome superheroes of the ocean world and learn why sharks deserve our respect not our fear.

Tour an amazing gallery of more than 35 photos by award winning National Geographic photographer, Brian Skerry (May 11 – Aug. 4) and life-sized replicas of six shark species!

Touch live catsharks and skates in an eight-foot chilled, saltwater tank! Guests can also get an up close look at those sharks and rays through underwater viewing windows.

Enter a shark cage and come face-to-face with a full-size great white shark replica. Use a computer kiosk to track more than 20 tagged Great White Shark locations in the world’s oceans and explore educational websites with shark themed games and quizzes.

Kids can play act the roles that scientists serve when great white sharks are briefly pulled onto an ocean platform to be radio tagged, medically tested, named and then safely released. In this Shark Research Station play area, kids will capture one of five plush shark species and use medical equipment to perform critical tests before releasing them back into the ocean.

Step outside to a Fossil Beach and dig in a pit for real fossil shark teeth and learn to identify the type of shark they came from. Take home a souvenir fossil shark tooth over 50 million years old!

Standing inches from a 6 foot wide and 6 foot high Megalodon shark jaw, visitors can truly imagine the incredible size of this school bus sized shark that once swam throughout Hampton Roads, Virginia. Take a picture of a lifetime of your family by this Megalodon shark jaw and take a close up of its hand-sized teeth!

“Marvel at the diversity of the over 400 types of sharks in the oceans today—from one the size of your hand that glows in the dark to one the size of an SUV. Sharks come in all different shapes and most of them do not resemble the shark movie predator,” said VLM Exhibits Director Fred Farris, who designed the exhibit.

“After 50 years of people being scarred with senseless shark fear by the ‘Jaws’ movie aftermath, we need to push the lever from fear to respect for this key ocean predator who keeps the ocean ecosystem in balance. Sharks have survived in the oceans for over 400 million years – much longer than dinosaurs -but their numbers are in drastic decline. They can only survive now with help from us,” Farris said.

“SHARKS: On Assignment with Brian Skerry” brings visitors face-to-face or rather face-to-nose with one of the world’s most feared predators. National Geographic Explorer and award-winning photojournalist Brian Skerry has spent more than 10,000 hours underwater exploring the world’s oceans with a camera to show why sharks need to be protected and appreciated as an integral species within the ecosystem. The exhibition will include large-scale images and videos—all highlighting Skerry’s passion, skill and life-long commitment to conservation of the world’s oceans. “SHARKS: On Assignment with Brian Skerry” will be part of the Shark Zone exhibit from May 11 through Aug. 4.

The more Skerry understands these creatures, the more he wants to show them in a different light, as something to respect and value rather than revile and fear. Yet, sharks face many dangers as more than 100 million are killed each year, primarily for their fins.

“Sharks represent an endless well of inspiration, a blend of grace and power that lures me into the sea time and time again in hopes of producing a new rendering that truly captures their essence,” says Skerry. “As a journalist, I’m driven by a sense of responsibility and a sense of urgent need to broadcast that sharks are in trouble and need our help.”

The Skerry images will allow visitors to dive into the depths of the oceans to swim alongside Tiger Sharks, Great Whites, Oceanic Whitetips and Shortfin Makos while learning about each species’ habitat and threats they face. Additionally, they’ll get a glimpse into National Geographic’s ocean conservation efforts, including the Pristine Seas Project to find, survey and help protect the last wild places in the ocean.

“This exhibition is another example of the ways in which National Geographic uses its powerful storytelling to make a meaningful impact on conservation efforts,” said National Geographic’s vice president of Exhibitions, Kathryn Keane.

“Brian’s life story and his powerful photographs take the standard perception of these feared and iconic predators and turn it on its head. Through their sheer majesty and beauty, his photographs help us gain a deeper understanding of the world’s sharks and see them in an entirely new light.”

The museum will also present two companion programs during Shark Zone.

Dive into the sticky, slimy, and amazing world of Shark Guts at the summer amphitheater program. Visitors will get up-close and personal with a variety of shark meals by learning about how shark teeth determine what they eat. The program will be presented at 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. May 25-27 and daily June 15 – September 2.

Sharks have special adaptations to help them survive in the wild, but did you know some of the animals at the Virginia Living Museum have similar characteristics? Join a VLM educator to learn about the ways sharks survive in an array of environments – and meet some of the museum’s animal ambassadors up-close. Shark Secrets will be presented at noon, 1 and 2 p.m. Ma 11, May 25-27 and daily June 15 – Sept. 2.

The museum is located at 524 J. Clyde Morris Blvd., Newport News, I64, exit 258A.

Admission is $20 adults and $15 children (ages 3-12). Children ages 2 and under are free.

For more information call 757-595-1900 or visit the web site at

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