July 14th is shark and ray awareness day and we’re excited to celebrate these incredible animals.

You can watch and learn about sharks and rays all throughout the New England Aquarium!


Many species of sharks and rays are endangered or threatened by human disturbances including overfishing and bycatch. That’s one of the reasons it’s so important to raise awareness. You can educate yourself and others about these special animals and learn how to protect them. But where to start?! The New England Aquarium features sharks and rays in many of our exhibits and provides opportunities for hands-on and interactive learning.

Visit

Kids touching rays in the touch tank exhibit

Visitors to the Shark and Ray Touch Tank can reach out and gently stroke cownose rays, Atlantic rays, and epaulette sharks as they swim gracefully through the crystal-clear water.

The exhibit presents these incredible species in a way that highlights their importance in a healthy ocean ecosystem. It also emphasizes the value of conserving essential coastal habitats, such as mangroves and lagoons.

Exhibit opens at 9:30 a.m. daily.

Our Giant Ocean Tank features more than 800 animals, including sharks and rays!

Visit this four-story Caribbean reef exhibit to see sleek bonnethead sharks, the smallest relative of the hammerhead shark family. Stick around to watch cownose rays get hand-fed by divers.

The GOT is 40 feet wide and holds 200,000 gallons of salt water. This exhibit is so big that it was built first, and then the rest of the Aquarium was built around it.

educators look at model shark in Science of Sharks exhibit

Shark Science Alert! Our Science of Sharks exhibit dives deep into the world of sharks.

Juicy shark facts, interactive displays, engaging interviews with our scientists, stunning video and images by National Geographic photographer and Aquarium Explorer in Residence Brian Skerry, and a wild variety of shark species from around the world! If you’re lucky, you’ll even grab a pic with our model tiger shark. #ScienceOfSharksSelfie

DYK that sharks, skates, and rays are all part of the same scientific subclass? Meet the elasmobranchs!  

Learn

Despite their popularity, sharks are a group of fish that we know remarkably little about. While we do know that they are highly vulnerable to overfishing and climate change, basic information on movements, population structure, behavior, and life-history are unknown for many vulnerable or exploited species of sharks, skates, and rays.

Researchers at the New England Aquarium’s Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life have tagged more than 40 species of sharks, skates, and rays. This research focuses on delivering scientific data that can be used to improve the management and conservation of threatened or data-poor species. Our scientists study everything from basic species life history to behavior to broad-scale movements.

Anderson Cabot Center Scientist Nick Whitney tags a shark.

Dr. Jeff Kneebone holds a juvenile sand tiger shark.

In addition to research on the animals themselves, we also focus on how sharks interact with fisheries. Our scientists evaluate the effects of various types of fishing gears and fishing practices on sharks and explore methods to either avoid catching sharks or minimize the amount of stress and injury inflicted during capture and release. To do this we can collect blood samples to measure various indicators of stress or even tag the animals to see if they survive release. This research is vital to filling in the blanks about these important, but often mysterious species.

What Shark Are You?

Take this quiz to find out which shark matches your personality!