This Shark Week (23-31 July), Atlantis Dubai’s Lost Chambers Aquarium is set to be transformed into a watery world for shark enthusiasts with a fin-credible frenzy of fun and educational experiences on offer. Featuring the new Shark Specialist educational programme and new Shark Snorkel experience, there has never been a better time to learn about the UAE’s native shark species and why we need to protect them.
Brand New Shark Themed Educational Programmes
Home to eight species of sharks, including five native to UAE waters (Grey Reef Shark, Arabian Carpetshark, Whitetip Reef Shark, Blacktip Reef Shark, and Zebra Shark), the Lost Chambers Aquarium has launched two brand-new shark-themed educational programmesto mark the occasion. Both expertly-designed programmes are dedicated to raising awareness of these fascinating predators and why their conservation is vital for a healthy ocean ecosystem and our planet.
Home to eight species of sharks, including five native to UAE waters
Shark Specialist – Budding Shark Specialists will enjoy a visit to the state-of-the-art Fish Hospital with our Aquarists and learn all about our different species of sharks and how we care for them. Guests will get a chance to feed our newly born sharks and rays, learn about our shark breeding programmes and discover what it takes to care for marine animals in The Lost Chambers Aquarium.
- Ages: 8-14 years old
- Shark Week (23-31July) Timings: Daily from 1.00 pm – 3.00 pm
- Regular Timings: Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 1.00 pm – 3.00 pm
- Prices start at AED 300 including a certificate, complimentary photo, drawstring bag, A5 workbook and a reusable water bottle.
Shark Snorkel – Guests can swim on the surface of The Shark Lagoon and marvel at seven stunning shark species including those native to the UAE, including Zebra Sharks, Whitetip Reef Sharks and Arabian Carpetsharks, as well as a whole host of other colourful marine life.
- Ages: 6 and above
- Daily at 11.00 am, 11.30 am, 4.00 pm and 4.30 pm
- From AED 295 including an educational briefing, wetsuit loan, towels and refreshments
Complimentary Shark Activities
Throughout Shark Week, visitors to The Lost Chambers Aquarium will also be treated to a whole host of complimentary in-aquarium activities. This includes a Shark Quest (entrants will be in with the chance to win a Shark Themed Weekend at Atlantis, The Palm including one night in an iconic Underwater Suite), shark-themed educational talks from 10.00 am – 9.00 pm daily including Shark Anatomy & Reproduction, Shark Senses, Shark Diversity, and Jaws, Teeth & Diet, and shark-themed SeaTrek helmets for AquaTrek. In addition, a free ‘Sharks of the Arabian Gulf’ public awareness session will be held with Robert Bennett (Manager at The Lost Chambers Aquarium) and Rumaitha Abdulaziz Alshehhi (Research Assistant at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment) at Atlantis, The Palm’s Conference Centre on Thursday 28 July from 7.00 pm.
Budding Shark Specialists will enjoy a visit to the state-of-the-art Fish Hospital
What’s more, through Atlantis Atlas Project, Atlantis Dubai will double its 1 USD contribution for all marine experiences participated in, all week long. So shark-lovers can learn more about sharks, be inspired to protect them and give back to initiatives supporting the conservation of this fascinating species in the wild. The list of grantees receiving support from Atlantis Atlas Project’s $1 contributions will be awarded later this summer.
It’s no surprise that many different types of sharks call the UAE home, at least for a few months of the year, as the UAE and its neighbouring countries are blessed with a rich and vibrant level of biodiversity. And as with any healthy ecosystem, sharks are there to maintain it. Here are a few little-known facts about the friendly sharks who share the coastline with Dubai residents:
- Most sharks are coastal species but will rarely venture inland. There are yearly sightings of large whale sharks along the beaches and the marinas of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
- One of the most common species of sharks that live in the Gulf is the Blacktip Reef Shark. Blacktip Reef Sharks are generally small, growing only to a maximum of 1.6 metres with a slim and streamlined body shape. With their calm and docile nature, these sharks pose very little threat to people and are certainly not to be feared.
- We are very lucky to be home to the famous gentle giants: the Whale Sharks. There have been sightings of sharks in the area with the largest recorded Whale Shark reaching an unprecedented length of 20 metres, which is roughly the same length as a London double-decker bus. Most frequently sighted species include cownose rays, eagle rays, and hammerhead sharks.
- Fears about sharks are often misguided, as sharks are far less dangerous than movies like Steven Spielberg’s 1975 classic ‘Jaws’ depict. A shark’s instinct when discovering that humans are near is to turn the other way – because more often than not, the average-sized person will be much bigger than most sharks.
- Sadly, approximately 75 million sharks are killed every year, either through targeted fisheries or as by-catch, with the main driver being their fins which are used for shark fin soup. The presence of reef-associated sharks in the UAE’s ecosystem indicates that it is healthy; which shows the coral reefs surrounding the UAE are doing well! Sharks play a crucial role in maintaining the health of this habitat and must be protected.