CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – A feeding frenzy of shark knowledge returns with Sharkfest 5-8 p.m. Aug. 4 in the Ocean Journey building at the Tennessee Aquarium.
This after-hours celebration offers a fin-tastic chance for the public to learn about one of the ocean’s most fearsome and threatened animals in fun ways.
This year, SharkFest will be even more special thanks to a pair of screenings at the IMAX 3D Theater of “Shark Clans.” Viewers feel like they are cage diving with great white sharks off South Australia’s Neptune Islands. This underwater documentary follows the work of a team of shark researchers, who have tracked and photographed groups of sharks that return to this area year after year. Their study has led to revelations about families of these sharks, which appear to abide by a social hierarchy.
“Shark Clans” features local ties. It was filmed and produced by Chattanooga-based Nature Films Network, whose crew traveled to Australia to film the work of a research team led by famed shark conservationist Rodney Fox. In 1963, Fox was almost killed by a Great White Shark, but rather than allow that experience to inspire a fear of sharks, Fox instead has devoted his life to better understanding and protecting them.
This is a rare opportunity to view this 2D film on the six-story screen at the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX Theater.
The filmmakers have some of their equipment set up in the IMAX Great Hall and are ready to answer any questions about diving with sharks.
During this celebration of all things shark-related, guests are able to:
• Get a (temporary) shark tattoo
• Have their hair molded into a fin or another fearsome ’do by stylists from Chattanooga’s North Shore Great Clips
• Get up close with preserved museum specimens at Dr. Bernie’s Travelin’ Shark Show
• Enjoy dive show presentations and a shark feeding session
• Peruse a collection of prehistoric shark teeth, including some from the extinct Megalodon
• Learn about smaller sharks and rays in Stingray Bay, courtesy of Cowboy Kyle’s Shark Round-up
• Take a portrait with fishy props at the Shark Selfie Station
• Sink their teeth into a frozen treat from Coldstone Creamery
Tickets to Sharkfest are free for Aquarium members, $9.50 for nonmembers ages 3-12 or $14.50 for nonmember adults.
Screenings of “Shark Clans” are at 5 and 6 p.m. and will be in 2-D. Tickets are $8 and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Proceeds from the purchase of tickets to “Shark Clans” screenings are directed into the aquarium’s ongoing support of Sand Tiger Shark research. OCEARCH, a world-renowned marine research group, is leading the project off the North Carolina coast. The study’s aim is to use sonic tags to track mature female Sand Tigers in order to better understand how and where they reproduce. The Tennessee Aquarium is helping to fund the purchase of these sonic tags, which are similar to the acoustic devices the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute uses to track Lake Sturgeon in the Tennessee River.
For more information or to register for Sharkfest, visit https://community.tnaqua.org/events/member-programs/summer/2017/sharkfest-2017.