Shark Bay (Sea World)

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Shark Bay
Shark Bay logo.png
Carcharhinus obscurus at Seaworld.jpg
Sea World (Australia)
Coordinates 27°57′22″S153°25′29″E / 27.955994°S 153.424611°E / -27.955994; 153.424611 Coordinates: 27°57′22″S153°25′29″E / 27.955994°S 153.424611°E / -27.955994; 153.424611
Cost$13 million
Opening date9 April 2004
Ride statistics
Attraction typeShark exhibit
DesignerSea World
Trevor Long [1]
Wheelchair symbol.svg Wheelchair accessible

Shark Bay is a shark exhibit located within the Sea World theme park on the Gold Coast, Australia. It is the largest man-made lagoon system in the world.



In early 2003, work began on the construction of Shark Bay in a vacant patch of land adjacent to the Mid Monorail Station and Polar Bear Shores. [2] [3] [4] During the construction period seven sharks were being kept inside the main lagoon swimming pool of Sea World's Water Park. [2] In August 2003, the RSPCA began an investigation into the treatment of the sharks whilst in captivity. [2] The investigation resulted in Sea World releasing the world's largest tiger shark in captivity back into the wild. [5] Sea World had originally planned to move the sharks into Shark Bay in October 2003, prior to the public opening of the exhibit on 26 December 2003. [2] [6] A variety of delays forced the opening date to be moved back to 9 April 2004. [6] The exhibit cost $13 million to construct. [7]


The layout of Shark Bay.
Key: Red = Shark Lagoon; Green = Reef Lagoon; Blue = Inter-Tidal Zone; Yellow = Touch Pools Shark Bay (Sea World) - layout.jpg
The layout of Shark Bay.
Key: Red = Shark Lagoon; Green = Reef Lagoon; Blue = Inter-Tidal Zone; Yellow = Touch Pools

The Shark Bay exhibit is divided into four distinct sections. [8] The main section is the Shark Lagoon. [8] It houses some of the world's largest, most feared and potentially dangerous sharks. [8] Unlike other smaller shark exhibits, the Shark Lagoon at Shark Bay allows for the sharks to have a 60-metre (200 ft) swimming pattern which is essential for them to be able to rest whilst swimming. [8] As the name suggests, the Reef Lagoon is a reef-themed environment. It houses a variety of smaller sharks alongside rays and other fish. [8] Guests can view both the Shark Lagoon and Reef Lagoon from a series above ground viewing areas as well as through four 10-by-3-metre (32.8 ft × 9.8 ft) underwater viewing windows. [8] An additional window of this size separates the two sections and allows divers in the Reef Lagoon to view the sharks in the Shark Lagoon. [6] [9] The Inter-Tidal Zone is attached to the Reef Lagoon and is adjacent to the Touch Pools. The area is home to a variety of small fish and other marine life. The final zone is the Touch Pools. Within this section, guests are able to touch a variety of marine animals in the shallow water. [8] Collectively, these areas make Shark Bay the largest man-made lagoon system in the world. [9]

Animal Adventures

Similar to other marine attractions at Sea World, guests have the opportunity to experience one of four Animal Adventures at Shark Bay for an additional fee. A Tropical Reef Snorkel allows guests to swim with the sharks and other marine life in the Reef Lagoon. [10] Similarly, the Shark SCUBA Animal Adventure allows qualified guests to SCUBA in the Reef Lagoon. [11] Within the Shark Lagoon guests can choose an up-close encounter and an above water journey. The Shark Encounter allows guests to enter an acrylic cage and watch the sharks be fed up close. [12] Finally, the Glass Bottom Boat Animal Adventure allows guests to view the sharks up-close from a unique angle without the need to put a foot in the water. [13]


The opening of Shark Bay was heavily marketed locally, nationally and internationally. An Australian advertising campaign was launched with print, television, cinema and radio advertising. This campaign alone cost $2 million. Additionally the international markets of the United Kingdom, Singapore and Taiwan were also targeted in other campaigns. [14]

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