The Sandoway House Nature Center in Delray Beach has dedicated this summer to help educate Palm Beach County residents and visitors about the oceans’ top apex predators: sharks. The oft misunderstood yet beautiful culmination of nature’s guiding hand, sharks have long been targeted as ruthless predators with voracious appetites. In truth, they are vital to the health of our reefs, fisheries, and maritime ecosystems. Sandoway House aims to enlighten the public about this top predator, reversing the misunderstood reputation of one of the most magnificent creatures in our seas.
Shark Months shark exhibit, which is on display June 1 through August 31, showcases more than 100 different species of shark and ray jaws, thousands of fossilized shark teeth from species like Megalodon and other extinct shark species, and historical displays of sharks’ impact on human cultures throughout time (the Hawaiian shark tooth spear is pretty cool). There is even a photo-op with a replica of the world-record-holding Great White jaw, where visitors can step into a makeshift shark cage and stick their heads into the gaping jaw.
To give visitors a firsthand account of live sharks in action, Sandoway House’s Coral Reef Pool offers a glimpse into the shallow waters and the feeding habits of sharks and other predatory reef fish. Scheduled feedings of nurse sharks, porkfish, and grunts to name a few, give visitors a chance to see, and better understand the role sharks play on the reef. The feedings are a way for people to get a closer look at the shark, and a chance for staff to advocate on their behalf their importance in our marine ecosystems.
To limit interaction between the sharks and other fish during feeding, Sandoway House sharks have been target-trained to eat in one part of the tank, away from other feeding fish. Cues orchestrated by the staff and the feeding routine, the sharks are triggered to congregate to their section of the tank and await their piscatorial meal.
- To see shark feeding firsthand and to learn more about these magnificent fish, visit Sandoway House Nature Center. Family activities include Jurassic Parts‘ fossil dig to find your own shark tooth. For shark feedings, visit Sandoway House Tuesday through Saturday at 10:30 a.m., and Sundays at 1:30 p.m. Admission is $5 making this nature experience affordable to bring everyone along. For more information, call 561-274-7263 or visit sandowayhouse.org.