New exhibit showcases the incredible diversity of shark species, why they’re vital to ocean health, and the Academy researchers championing their protection
SAN FRANCISCO (May 25, 2021) — Starting Friday, May 28, the California Academy of Sciences will open Sharks, a jaw-dropping new exhibit exploring the fascinating world of these dynamic ocean predators. Created by Grande Experiences, Sharks is a limited engagement that invites visitors to explore the most comprehensive and innovative ‘out of water’ shark experience ever to tour the world. Sharks will run through January 23, 2022 at the Academy in Golden Gate Park.
Whether sharks fill you with fear or fascination, Sharks will have you hooked from start to finish. Leave the outside world behind as you dive into the incredible underwater world of sharks—without even getting your feet wet. Trace over 450 million years of evolution, come face-to-face with the storied great white shark (in model form), learn about current conservation efforts to protect vulnerable shark populations, and gain a whole new level of respect for the ocean’s oldest and most effective predator.
“Sharks have inspired marine scientists like me for generations. As a scientific diver, encountering sharks while descending to the ocean’s depths is an indescribable experience,” says Dr. Luiz Rocha, the Academy’s curator of ichthyology. “In order to fully understand how to protect coral reefs and sustain healthy oceans, we must examine the complex relationships between predators and prey, and appreciating the role that sharks play in ocean ecosystems is key to that understanding. We hope that this exhibit sparks curiosity and provides a deeper connection for our visitors. There is so much to be learned from sharks.”
Within this immersive exhibit, Sharks will feature more than a dozen full-scale shark models—from a hammerhead to a bull shark—and a life-size replica of the massive jaws of a Megalodon, an ancient ancestor of the great white shark. Plus, visitors can examine a collection of extremely rare fossils dating back as far as 370 million years and real shark jaws and teeth. Detailed examinations of shark anatomy, biology, hunting strategies and sensory systems, and interactive, educational displays and entertaining hands-on experiences invite visitors to explore. Plus, enjoy an immersive cinematic experience as high-definition underwater footage transports you to the underwater world of sharks with floor-to-ceiling projections.
Visitors will also be immersed in captivating stories of human/shark encounters, both personal accounts from humans who have come face to face with these ocean marvels and the iconic shark stories portrayed—and often misrepresented—in popular television and film.
Throughout the exhibit, discover how Academy science and advocacy has helped transform public perception of sharks from fear to fascination, featuring the work of world-renowned shark expert and Academy emeritus curator Dr. John McCosker. From California legislation that helped ban shark fin trading to regional efforts to study shark populations and protect vulnerable coastal habitats around the world through research and stewardship programs put into action by Academy scientists and research associates. Plus, visitors will learn what they can do to support healthy, thriving oceans, and their dynamic underwater residents, for generations to come.
And be sure to catch shark-themed pop-up programs happening around the museum daily—like “under the sea” storytime and yoga and a community art wall. Starting this month, kids can get hands-on with free Science @ Home activity packs featuring creative, shark-inspired projects. Plus, don’t miss shark-tastic virtual events all summer long, including NightSchool: Sharks Jaws and Maws, a dynamic program featuring talks from Academy shark scientists, live entertainment, and more for adults 21+.
The creative team behind Sharks is Grande Experiences, an Australian-based creator and producer of museum-quality exhibitions and immersive experiences. This fascinating and engaging exhibition was produced with assistance from experts in the fields of sharks, aquariums, and ocean cinematography
The California Academy of Sciences is a renowned scientific and educational institution with a mission to regenerate the natural world through science, learning, and collaboration. Based in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, it is home to a world-class aquarium, planetarium, and natural history museum, as well as innovative programs in scientific research and environmental education—all under one living roof. Museum hours are 9:30 am – 5:00 pm Monday – Saturday, and 11:00 am – 5:00 pm on Sunday. Admission includes all exhibits, programs, and shows. For daily ticket prices, please visit www.calacademy.org or call (415) 379-8000 for more information
Grande Experiences specialize in the creation, design, production and touring of large international traveling exhibition experiences and permanent exhibition projects which have broad cultural appeal. Their traveling exhibitions are museum-quality experiences with an emphasis on being entertaining, educational, interactive and family-oriented. To date, their experiences have been displayed 200+ times in over 150 cities, in 32 languages, across six continents enthralling audiences of over 18 million people. Based in Melbourne, Australia with satellite offices in the UK, Italy and the USA, Grande Experiences also owns and operates Museo Leonardo da Vinci, a prestigious permanent museum in central Rome, Italy and plans to open several permanent immersive galleries in the USA, Europe and Australia in 2021.