During our first trip to Las Vegas, our program included some gambling tables and several activities. Between the museums, the escapades, boredom is impossible. Among our few unsatisfactory visits was the Shark Reef, an aquarium located in the Mandalay Bay Hotel.
Let’s find out some information about this activity, as well as our opinion.
What is the Shark Reef?
The Shark Reef is an aquarium. It has an area of more than 8000 square meters and owns nearly 2000 animals. As its name indicates, the main attraction is the presence of sharks. They are especially visible when walking with water, and sharks passing by, on the sides and above your head.
Among the species, you also see sea turtles, giant rays, piranhas, Komodo dragons…
The standard price also includes a virtual reality attraction that places you in the middle of the fish.
For an additional fee, it is possible to have a complementary visit such as to attend the feeding of rays, sharks or turtles.
How long does the visit of the Shark Reef last?
If you take your time, and according to the aquarium’s website, the visit can last up to two hours. With Amélie, we had the chance to visit the aquarium during the off-peak period. Thirty minutes was enough to see all the species without rushing.
So it’s a quick visit that awaits you unless there are many people in front of each window.
Where is the Shark Reef aquarium located?
The Shark Reef is located in the Mandalay Bay Hotel on the floor level. We came through the main entrance and had no trouble finding it. It is located after the Convention Area of the hotel, near the Wedding Chapel.
Regarding the location of the hotel, it is south of the Strip. We walked from the Bellagio to the Mandalay Bay and the trip takes just over thirty minutes. If you do the same road, take advantage of the walk to pass through the casino-hotels. It’s always pleasant.
What are the hours of operation for Shark Reef?
The Shark Reef Aquarium is open every day, Monday through Sunday, from 10a.m. to 6p.m. Admission is possible until 5p.m.
How much cost for Shark Reef tickets?
The price of a single ticket to the Shark Reef Aquarium (which includes the virtual reality activity) is :
- $29 for an adult
- $27 for a senior citizen (65 years and older)
- $24 for children 5 to 12 years old (free under 5)
As always, you can also buy extras like the undated ticket, the souvenir photo…
For “private” moments with the animals, the prices go up. For adults, the price to attend the feeding of the animals is:
- $65 for the rays
- $99 for sharks
- $99 for the sea turtles.
Our Review on the Mandala Bay Aquarium
For our visit, we took a simple entrance and did not attend to feedings. We are not big fans of aquariums but enjoying a moment of relaxation and the possibility to see sharks seduced us.
Sharks are the more interesting attraction of this aquarium. The layout where they are located is huge and beautiful. Thanks to the many windows, you have the feeling of walking among the sharks. Some of them have an impressive size.
We also appreciated the pool where the sea turtles are. For those who are passionate about marine life, there are some beautiful discoveries.
However, you made the visit very quickly, even if you linger on some animals. It is advertised as a huge aquarium when it turns out to be quite small and fast to go through. Our round trip from our hotel was longer than the visit!
If the sharks have a great space, it is not the same thing for all the species. I was also very embarrassed by the possibility to touch with your hands some species in a pool of ridiculous size. Thousands of people take touch, without real supervision, rays and some other species.
I am not a fish specialist or an animal welfare advocate, but I am not sure that it is healthy for the animals or ethical to offer such an activity.
For this reason, rather than for the ticket price or the quick visit, I am not inclined to return to Shark Reef on my next trip to Las Vegas.