Lonely Planet Writer

A shark exhibition is set to open at the newly reopened New York Aquarium

Six years ago, New York’s famous Aquarium was severely damaged after being inundated with water as the devastating Hurricane Sandy hit the U.S. East Coast.

Woman and child at the New York Aquarium
Hudson Canyon’s Edge tank at the New York Aquarium. Photo by: Julie Larsen Maher @ WCS

Now, the latest stage in its renaissance is set to be unveiled with the opening of an enormous new exhibition on sharks at the end of this month. The new ‘Ocean Wonders: Sharks!’ is set to be unveiled on 30 June with tours of nine new galleries bringing visitors face to face with a vast array of ocean wildlife.

Each area has a different theme with the Coral Reef Tunnel, the New York Bight and the mysterious Hudson Canyon’s Edge among the attractions. Nature lovers will be able to see tiger sharks, sandbar sharks, nurse sharks and hundreds of other species that live in the coastal waters surrounding New York.

New York Aquarium opens shark exhibition
Sand tiger shark at the New York Aquarium. Photo by: Julie Larsen Maher @ WCS

Altogether, ‘Ocean Wonders: Sharks!’ will showcase more than 115 marine species, including 18 different types of sharks and rays. It will tell the story of these apex predators, how they have evolved over 450 million years, and the major threats they now face including unsustainable fishing.

The exhibition is housed in a new three-storey 57,500 sq ft building, which will have a particular emphasis on educating visitors about conservation. There will be special features on what is being done to preserve sharks in the North Atlantic and also the work of the Wildlife Conservation Society around the world.

Loggerhead sea turtle at the New York Aquarium
Loggerhead sea turtle at the New York Aquarium. Photo by: Julie Larsen Maher @ WCS

Jon Forrest Dohlin, Director of the New York Aquarium, said: “This exciting new shark exhibit will inspire our visitors to help conserve these amazing animals and awaken them to the reality that the city that never sleeps is surrounded by the sea that never sleeps. “With [the exhibition] … we will bring New Yorkers the miracle of this ocean wilderness surrounded by 20 million people.”

A special feature of the new development is a 1100-ft long Shimmer Wall that wraps around the exhibition building. It’s made up of 33,000 aluminium flappers that are moved individually by the wind to create constantly changing patterns.

Visitors looking to have a seafood lunch on site will be offered only sustainable fished options using green packaging with no single-use plastic.