For my 12 year-old daughter, just the word, “shark,” is enough to send her into a tizzy. She, like many others, fear of these fascinating animals, partly because of media portrayals and partly due the fact that these creatures can be, well, deadly.
But, how much do we really know about them? Are our fears backed-up by evidence? What are sharks really like?
Locals and visitors to Hawaii can learn the answers to these, and more, questions at the Bishop Museum’s new Hawaii shark exhibit that runs through September 5. The name is certainly appropriate: Planet Shark: Predator or Prey.
Bishop Museum audiences will be among the first to explore the most comprehensive and innovative “out of water” shark experience ever to tour the world.
As you wind your way through the exhibit, you can trace millions of years of evolution, come face-to-face with the great white shark, learn the true impact of the shark fin trade and gain a whole new level of respect for the ocean’s oldest and most effective predator.
Produced on a size and scale never seen before, the new Hawaii shark exhibit, Planet Shark: Predator or Prey, includes awe-inspiring shark models cast from real animals, an extraordinary collection of real teeth and jaws, and extremely old and rare fossils — some up to 370 million years old. Cutting-edge SENSORY4™ technology provides a walkthrough, multi-sensory cinematic experience that will leave you deeply immersed in the story of this magnificent yet sadly misunderstood animal.
“I’ve spent many hours diving around sharks in my research with the museum, and this exhibit does an excellent job of immersing audiences into their world,” said Richard Pyle, researcher and associate zoologist with Bishop Museum. “Not only will visitors learn about the anatomy and science behind sharks, but it’ll provide a ‘shark’s perspective’ that will really help people appreciate and respect these creatures and their ocean home.”
Planet Shark: Predator or Prey features:
- A unique and immersive 45-minute walkthrough, multi-sensory cinematic gallery experience
- Full-scale shark models cast from real specimens
- A collection of extremely rare fossils up to 370 million years old, plus real shark jaws and teeth
- Shark cages and authentic artifacts
- Shocking stories of human/shark encounters
- Detailed examinations of the shark’s amazing anatomy, biology, hunting strategies and sensory systems
- Information on shark satellite tagging programs and conservation efforts
- Interactive, educational displays and entertaining hands-on experiences
According to Travel Weekly, Pyle has spent a great deal of time diving with sharks during his career and understands why some folks might be frightened by them.
“They can seem menacing if you’re not familiar with what they’re like, and I think that’s how they’ve got their reputation,” he said. “I’ve been in situations where we’ve been surrounded by dozens, sometimes over 100 sharks, and we always consider that a blessing. We never ever feel worried or threatened.”
Still, shark attacks often generate a great deal of media coverage, which commonly tells only part of the shark’s story and leaves people without all the facts.
“Obviously when there is a horrific attack, it makes a lot of news and that tends to be the side of sharks most people hear about,” he told the magazine. “But this gives you the opportunity to see the other side of things, [and] there are some popular aspects of the exhibit that make it really entertaining, so it’s not just science, science, science.”
And, after the exhibit, consider booking North Shore Shark Adventures though Hawaii Aloha Travel. Fresh from learning all about sharks, you’ll have the unique opportunity to interact with them off the coast of Oahu.
Talk about your up-close and personal experience!