If you’ve got a kid who loves sharks, chances are you’ve got your DVR set and working overtime this week now that the Discovery Channel has kicked off its annual Shark Week—a binge devoted to all-things-shark. But how about you get your little one off the couch and do some real-live shark stuff? Whether it’s snuggling up in a shark-mouth blanket or getting up close and personal with the fish themselves (safely, of course), here are a few ways you and your brood can ignite your inner sharks.
photo: Sea World Orlando Resort
Swim With Sharks… In a Controlled Setting
We know you don’t want the Littles climbing into a real, open water shark tank, but at Sea World Orlando’s Discovery Cove Resort, kids as young as 10 can get up close and personal with a variety of sharks. (Don’t worry, Mama: no great whites.) Sea World’s Shark Swim program provides closer-than-ever encounters with five species of shark: Pacific blacktip, reef whitetip, nurse shark, zebra shark and a spotted wobbegong.
Guests get into the water to learn first-hand about these important predators and the threats they face in the wild. If they want, they can also go a little deeper and snorkel through the sharks’ habitat. Plus, for every Shark Swim ticket purchased, SeaWorld will donate five percent of the proceeds to support shark conservation and research.
photo: Bernardo D. via Yelp
And, if you’re already visiting Orlando, save a day to visit Sea World and its awesome underwater viewing tunnel that takes you straight through a sea teeming with sharks and other fish. At one point, you’re swished through the tunnel via a moving conveyor belt floor, and between the sharks all around and the moving floor, your kids will be sufficiently wowed.
photo: Georgia Aquarium
Check out the World’s Largest Shark at This Aquarium
The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta is the largest aquarium in the world, and its Ocean Voyager exhibit houses the world’s largest shark — the whale shark — inside its massive 6.3 million gallon tank. The exhibit features a clear tunnel for guests to view the wondrous array of marine life on all sides, and a giant viewing window to sit back and watch the world of underwater life swim by.
photo: Diana Robinson via Flickr
Get a Private Shark Tour at the Monterey Bay Aquarium
Shark lovers will be the first in line for this private tour offered at the Monterey Aquarium on mornings just before the aquarium opens to the public. Guests will learn from the pros all about the dozen species of sharks and about the skates and rays that call these tanks home as well as about the cutting-edge research the aquarium is doing into great whites. Psst… it has housed, rehabilitated and released a few of them in recent years. Ages 8 & up.
photo: Shark Speedboat Hudson River in New York City via YouTube
Ride a Shark. Sort Of
New York City’s Shark Speedboat ride is one of those tourist destinations that’s just as fun for the locals as for the out-of-towners. The speedboat zips riders through the Hudson at speeds of 45 mph, with twists and turns galore until the boat stops just in front of the Statue of Liberty for some photos. Kids must be at least 3 years old and 40 inches tall to ride.
Read Them This Cute Shark Story
Not all stuff about sharks has to be scary or intimidating. This fun story about a shark challenging a train to various silly contests (burping, bowling, pie eating, basketball-playing) will have kids rooting for their finned friend all the way. Available from Amazon.com.
photo: Cold Stone Creamery
Indulge in Shark Week-Inspired Ice Cream at Cold Stone Creamery
Cold Stone has partnered with The Discovery Channel to offer two new desserts inspired by Shark Week: the “Great White Bite” is Cold Stone’s Sea Salt Sweet Cream ice cream blended with strawberries, graham cracker pie crust and blue gummy sharks; and the “Deep Sea Delight” is an ice cream cupcake (a chocolate cup filled with a layer of devil’s food cake, a strawberry puree mid-layer and Sea Salt Sweet Cream ice cream topped with fluffy blue frosting, graham cracker pie crust, a blue gummy shark and a chocolate Shark Week medallion). Um. Yes, please.
Available at Cold Stone locations nationwide through August 1, 2017.
Are you excited for Shark Week? Tell us in the comments below.