State-of-the-Art Shark Tank to Open at New York Aquarium

In 2012, the New York Aquarium was under construction. Rehabilitating the 1957 building would provide a rehabilitated home for fish and other ocean wildlife, as well as an engaging space for visitors to see wide varieties of fish, octopuses, sharks, sea lions, reefs, and more.

Then Hurricane Sandy hit.

Construction was suspended. Part of the aquarium was damaged by the storm, as it lies on the coastline at Coney Island. Since then, the first priority has been keeping the fish and other sea creatures healthy and well-cared-for. In January 2014, the aquarium construction began again, although the Sea Cliffs and other areas were still open for view. Now, a major project is almost complete: a new building full of massive shark tanks. Ocean Wonders: Sharks! opens June 30 and brings 100 shark species, teeth bared for all to see.

Sand Tiger Sharks

Sand Tiger Shark/New York Aquarium

Featured shark species include whitetip reef sharks, nurse sharks, epaulette sharks, and zebra sharks. You can also expect sea turtles and cownose rays, in addition to a variety of fish. There will also be a touch tank to feel ocean life for yourself (we’re guessing there won’t be sharks in the touch tank, but you never know!).

One of the tanks will mimic Hudson Canyon, an undersea space near New York Harbor that’s nearly a mile wide and home to the sand tiger shark, among other species. The Hudson Canyon tank holds 350,000 gallons of water! In addition to educating the public about ocean life around the globe, this particular exhibit will show visitors the ocean life swimming right under us on the Staten Island Ferry.

Other attractions at Ocean Wonders include a recreated shipwreck and a dazzling tunnel-shaped walkway through a coral reef. Children will be able to crawl in a small tunnel underneath a tank and see the aquarium’s residents swimming above their heads. There are also exhibits on the shark-fin trade, commercial fishing, and trash in the ocean to educate visitors on environmental and ethical issues relevant to undersea life. 

The new Ocean Wonders building will also feature dining areas. There will be a rooftop bar where you can have a bird’s eye view of surrounding Brooklyn and the sea beyond, plus the Oceanside Grill for a satisfying meal on the Atlantic Ocean.

The Ocean Wonders building is an incredible feat of design, planning, and animal care as the sharks are carefully moved into their new home. Just as before, there are other parts of the aquarium to enjoy while you’re there! The Aquatheater is an outdoor arena where you can watch sea lions perform tricks and respond to their trainers. Conservation Hall is an additional indoor aquarium full of species like the green moray eel. At the outdoor Sea Cliffs, watch penguins, otters, seals, and sea lions lounging on the rocks.

coral new york aquarium

Photo: Kimberly Coleman/Flickr

The NY Aquarium is located at Surf Ave. and West 8th St. It is open 365 days a year. Visit for more information.

About the Author

Merrill Lee Girardeau lives and writes in Brooklyn.

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