Middle Age Miles

Review – The Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium

Shark!!!!! (he moves fast!)

This article is part of our Trip Report – It’s Vegas Week at Middle Age Miles!

Middle Age Miles is fascinated by sharks.

Those who know us really well could tell you that some of our fascination with sharks comes from how much we enjoy the campy shark movies on the SyFy channel. Yes, we have watched every one of the Sharknado movies on its debut night. Ian Ziering is now Fin Shepard to us, no longer resigned to being forever known merely as Steve Sanders from 90210. We have seen 2-Headed Shark Attack, 3-Headed Shark Attack, 5-Headed Shark Attack, and 6-Headed Shark Attack. We can tell you that the “best” mutation shark movie is Sharktopus (starring the great Eric Roberts). And we can debate the extent of the supernatural powers of Ghost Shark.

Sorry, I got a little carried away there …

But I can tell you that if you like to see sharks, or if you’re a fan of aquariums in general, then take a little time away from the casino floor during your trip to Las Vegas and definitely check out the Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium. It’s a very impressive facility and a fun experience.

Basic Information About the Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium

The Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium is, of course, at the Mandalay Bay casino. It’s at the far southern end of the Mandalay Bay complex, by the convention center section of the property. To get there from the Mandalay Bay hotel (or from the Delano, where we stayed), you’ll need to walk all the way through the casino, through the hallway of restaurants, and past the pool and the Events Center entrance. It’s a long walk; just keep following the directional signs and you’ll get there.

The Shark Reef is open from 10:00 am until 8:00 pm on Sundays through Thursdays, and from 10:00 am until 10:00 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Last admission is one hour prior to closing time each day. You can purchase tickets at the box office adjacent to the entrance to the Shark Reef.

If you’re staying at Mandalay Bay, the Delano, or some other MGM/MLife property, you’ll want to charge your tickets to your room. This will allow you to get MLife tier credits for your tickets, and you can also earn Hyatt points this way as a result of the MLife/World of Hyatt partnership.

Tickets to the Shark Reef cost $25 for adults, with discounts for seniors 65+, children 12 and under, and Nevada residents. They’ll also want to sell you a “package deal” that includes a photo they take when you enter the Shark Reef.

Your Shark Reef ticket also includes admission to the “Polar Journey” exhibit across the hall from the Shark Reef. We visited the Polar Journey and will say this – it’s fine but nothing really special, and steer clear of the ride inside the Polar Journey if you’re at all prone to motion sickness.

The Shark Reef also offers experiences, including a Shark Feed, a Stingray Feed, a Sea Turtle Feed, and even a Dive With Sharks experience for certified divers. Check these out and book them on the Mandalay Bay website page for the Shark Reef if you’re interested.

Visiting the Shark Reef Aquarium

Once you enter the Shark Reef, you’ll go up an escalator and have your group picture taken, then you can enter the actual aquarium. You’ll make your way through exhibits with various reptiles and tanks with fish, followed by the touch pool where you can reach in to touch stingrays and horseshoe crabs, and finally, the piéce de résistance, the big tanks with the sharks!

The most impressive and captivating feature of the Shark Reef Aquarium is the glass-walled tunnel that you walk through, with the huge tank surrounding you, and sharks swimming on either side of you – and right above your head!

I found it impossible to get a good picture of the tunnel because of the lighting, so I’ll use this one from the Mandalay Bay website:

Glass tunnel at the Mandalay Bay Shark Reef, with sharks swimming all around you!
[image courtesy MGM/Mandalay Bay]

Photos from the Shark Reef Aquarium

Here’s a sampling of things you’ll see in the Shark Reef – we’ll start with the non-shark section:

Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium – crocodile
Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium – Komodo dragon
Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium – the giant python was checking us out
Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium – stingray
Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium – more stingrays
Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium – lots of starfish
Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium – lionfish
Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium – sea turtle swimming overhead in the tunnel

And here’s what we came for – sharks!!! (Please forgive that the some of the photos are a bit blurry – the sharks move pretty fast and they never stay still to pose!)

Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium – huge shark
Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium – You got fins to the left …
Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium – … fins to the right – and I felt like the only bait in town!
Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium – maybe the best shark photo I got
Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium – shark directly overhead!

I could include a bunch more shark photos, but I think you get the idea.

Middle Age Miles says check out the Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium when you’re in Vegas. It’s fun for all ages, a nice break from the chaos, and there are sharks!

Have you been to the Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium? What did you think? Please share with us and other Middle Age Miles readers in the Comments!

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