Embark on an unforgettable underwater adventure through the Ocean Explorer gallery. Walk through the 40-foot shark tunnel, visit the stingray touch pool, and discover ocean species from around the world.

Sandbar Shark 002

Range: Sandbar sharks can be found in subtropical waters such as the western Atlantic Ocean, south and west Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, Bahamas, and Cuba.

Habitat: Sandbar sharks are found in inshore and offshore waters and spend most of their time in water 20 to 65 meters deep.

Size: On average, females weigh around 68 kilograms and males weigh around 50 kilograms. Some Sandbar sharks can grow up to 90 kilograms and seven and a half feet long.

Diet: Sandbar sharks are opportunistic bottom feeders that have a diet consisting of bony fishes, smaller sharks, stingrays, cephalopods, gastropods, crabs, and shrimp.

Conservation Connection: Sandbar sharks are known to be vulnerable to threats such as hunting and overfishing due to their slow maturity and low reproductive rates. In order to prevent this, a management plan was implemented in US waters in 1993.

Did You Know? Unlike some sharks, Sandbar sharks bear live young with the gestation period lasting 12 months.

GPO4

Range: The Giant Pacific octopus can be found along the Pacific Coast from Alaska to Southern California.

Habitat: Giant Pacific octopuses can generally be found along rocky shores, in tide pools, and anywhere from the low tide line to depths of 1,650 feet.

Size: This is the largest species of octopus. On average, they measure about 16 feet from arm tip to arm tip. The largest recorded was 30 feet across and weighed 600 pounds.

Diet: The Giant Pacific octopus has a diet that consists of shrimp, crabs, scallops, abalones, clams, and fish.

Conservation Connection: Too little is known about octopus populations to know if they are threatened.

Did You Know? In laboratory tests and aquariums, these octopuses have been able to solve mazes very quickly, unscrew jar lids to retrieve food inside the jar, and even mimic other octopuses in a different tank.

green sea turtle 002

Range: Green sea turtles can be found in tropical and subtropical waters worldwide.

Habitat: These sea turtles live only in the open ocean.

Size: Green sea turtles grow to about four or five feet and weigh anywhere from 145 to 660 pounds.

Diet: The diet of the Green sea turtle is generally plant based. They will typically feed on algae in the sea and grasses in shallow waters. When they are young they will eat smaller organisms such as sea jellies, crabs, sponges, snails, and worms. They are strictly herbivores as adults.

Conservation Connection: Green sea turtles are an endangered species due to their many predators. There is also a high threat from ocean pollution. Green sea turtles are often injured or killed by eating garbage left on the beach or in the ocean.

Did You Know? Unlike their land counterparts, sea turtles are unable to retract their heads into their shells for protection.

stingrays

Range: Southern stingrays can be found in tropical and subtropical waters such as the southern Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico.

Habitat: These stingrays live in shallow ocean waters with sandy bottoms.

Size: Females grow up to six feet wide while males only grow up to two and a half feet wide.

Diet: Stingrays eat mainly smaller creatures such as bivalves, worms, shrimp and crabs.

Conservation Connection: Stingrays are sometimes hunted for their leather or as a source of protein. There are currently no restrictions to hunting stingrays but a surge in the demand for their meat or leather could result in a major threat to their populations.

Did you know? Polyandry (females with multiple male mates) is quite common with stingrays.