The Florida Aquarium Shark Swim

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Aquarium Dive 2 of 12, Complete!

My Lil’ Road Dog and I just managed to squeeze this aquarium (dive) in this month, and I’m glad we did! It definitely exceeded my expectations. It took place at The Florida Aquarium in Tampa and involved sharks.

Again, our day started out on an early morning Southwest Airlines flight from Houston. Neither of us particularly appreciate these early morning departures, but they do allow us a full day in our arrival cities.

Once we landed, we headed for National Car Rental’s Emerald Isle to select our vehicle. My Lil’ Road Dog ended up selecting a Jeep Cherokee. It was quite comfortable.

After leaving the airport in our rental car, we headed for Hilton’s Home 2 Suites in hopes of receiving an early morning check-in. Thankfully, once arriving, a room was actually ready for us. We happily took the keys and headed to our room to crash for a while until our scheduled 3:30pm shark swim at the aquarium.

About two hours before our scheduled Shark Swim time, we headed for the aquarium, but not before stopping to grab a quick lunch. Our program experience included aquarium parking. So, once arriving, we entered the aquarium’s parking lot through the “Member’s Only” gate. I entered the code sent to me ahead of time in our Shark Swim registration confirmation email. The code is only valid the day of the program.

After parking, we proceeded to the aquarium’s main entrance and checked in at Guest Services. We arrived about an hour early and took advantage of viewing the exhibits in the aquarium (also incld.) before our Shark Swim.

This also gave us both the time to check out the part of the aquarium where we would be swimming with the sharks. We were just asked to return to Guest Services at our scheduled Swim time.

All we were required to bring with us was our swimsuits, towels, and shower items. All the other gear, including the wetsuits, were provided. There were locker rooms with showers available for us to use to change before and after our experience, and to store our items.

Our experience was limited to four people, probably due to the size of the aquarium. Guests are welcome to bring a personal small action camera to take photos and videos, but it must remained tethered to your body (wrist strap, head mount, etc.) and flash and strobe lights are prohibited.

                            This pic courtesy a The Florida Aquarium Safety Diver

The Coral Reef habitat is around 22 feet at its maximum depth and holds 50,000 gallons of natural sea water.

We started our adventure on the shallow side of the reef. This allowed us to get comfortable with the equipment, which was kind of weird, since we are both scuba divers. The experience was a mix of scuba and snorkeling. We both wore a small scuba tank, attached horizontally to the front of an over-the-head vest, while using a connected regulator (it goes in your mouth) to supply us with air on which to breathe. This set-up allows you to float at the surface, as a person snorkeling would do, but breathe air from a tank. It doesn’t allow you the ability to swim down under the water.

                         This pic courtesy a The Florida Aquarium Safety Diver

The Florida Aquarium does offer a Shark Dive (an actual scuba dive) but the minimum age requirement is 15. My Lil’ Road Dog is not, so I opted to do the Shark Swim with him instead. I was pleasantly surprised by the gear set-up involved.

                            This pic courtesy a The Florida Aquarium Safety Diver

So, it wasn’t a true scuba dive, but it was close enough for the both of us. After 10 minutes on the shallow side of the aquarium, we were then accompanied by an aquarium divemaster to the deep side of the reef to swim with the sharks. We were accompanied by the divemaster throughout our swim to ensure we had the best, and safest, experience possible.

                            This pic courtesy a The Florida Aquarium Safety Diver

We were able to get so close to all of the underwater aquarium life. Animals were moving about all around us. 360 degree views all-around.

In addition to the main star of the swim, the SHARK, we also saw rays, turtles, and various types of fish.

They all co-existed fairly well with each other.

Sharks and Turtles and Rays… Oh My !!!

If you have family and friends with you, they can watch the swim from The Coral Reef Gallery. Aquarium admission is required of them, but is included for Shark Swim participants.

The Shark Swim at The Florida Aquarium turned out to be more than I expected it would. We both had a wonderful experience. You should definitely give it a try if you are ever in the area and have the time.

Be Brave !

Try Something New !

      I’m Outta Here…On 2 The Next LunaSea Adventure !!!

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