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Feeding the Sharks at Mandalay Bay

Visitors to Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino's Shark Reef Aquarium can watch staff feed the sharks.

The concept of feeding sharks in Las Vegas serves up too many cliche introductions about "swimming with sharks" or "getting eaten alive in Sin City." So, we'll skip those and get to the water.

During a recent Back of House Media Tour, venues across town unveiled unusual and lesser known attractions and activities tourists can sample. Exclusive and affordable, these outings simply require a bit of initiative and pre-booking away from the casino floor.

The Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay (the largest underwater wildlife attraction in Vegas) allows fish fans to witness feeding time for the tanks’ more dangerous denizens. At times set throughout the day by the sharks’ caregivers, the toothy stars of the show are fed while visitors take it all in from a safe distance “back stage.”

According to Adrienne Rowland, Director of Shark Reef, a mix of sand, bull and tiger sharks mingles, waiting for their keepers to administer lunch. However, visitors shouldn’t expect to hold out a fish for polite Hammerheads to pluck from fingers. This is a vicarious experience.

“These are wild animals and need to be respected,” Rowland said. “Staff is specially trained and uses metal poles to interact with the animals.”

For certified divers, Shark Reef allows controlled swimming with the exhibit’s titular animals. Scuba enthusiasts can purchase one dive with the sharks in the 1.3 million gallon tank. They receive video of the dive and four admissions for guests of the diver. The cost runs $650 for one diver or $1000 for two.

To arrange a peek at the Shark Reef’s “back of house,” call (702) 632-4555.