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Shark Reef Aquarium – Everything You Need To Know

Mandalay Bay’s Shark Reef Aquarium has over 2,000 total animals on display which is made up of 100 different species.

Holding over 1.5 million gallons of water, the aquarium is impressive in size and scale. While the underwater glass viewing tunnel that immerses guests in sealife gets all the social media love, Shark Reef has a number of other impressive displays.

Popular attractions include the illuminated jellyfish display, ancient sea turtles, piranhas, lionfish, and a sea life petting station which allows you to physically interact with certain animals.

Add on attractions are also available including the ability to feed sharks ($50 per person), feed stingrays ($50 per person), feed sea turtles ($80 per person), dive with sharks ($650 for 1 diver/$1,000 for 2 divers), or experience the Undersea Explorer VR Theater (described below).

What is the Undersea Explorer VR Experience?

The show takes place in a 36-seat VR theater complete with seats that move along with the action displayed in your VR headset. Once strapped in, you’ll be transported to the south Pacific Ocean where you’ll swim with, and learn about a pod of humpback whales, guided by a marine biologist. Adding the VR Experience to your ticket costs only $9, which isn’t too painful by Las Vegas pricing standards.

Seating for the VR experience
The VR Setup – Photo Courtesy of MGM Resorts

Shark Reef Aquarium Price

Shark Reef Aquarium pricing at the attraction is $29 for an adult, $27 for seniors over 65 years old, $24 for children aged 5 – 12, and free for children under 4 years old.

If opting to add on the Undersea VR Experience, Shark Reef Aquarium pricing increases to $29 for adults, $27 for seniors 65+, $24 for children aged 5 – 12, and free for children under 4 years old.

Annual passes are also available for $50 (adults), $30 (kids aged 4 – 12), and free for children 3 and under.

Shark Reef Aquarium Deals

Nevada locals can save $3 when booking directly with the box office. This discount isn’t available online and has to be purchased in person at the attraction.

Shark Reef Aquarium Hours

The Shark Reef Aquarium’s hours of operation are from 10 am – 6 pm daily with last admission occurring at 5 pm.

Shark Reef Aquarium Parking

Shark Reef Aquarium parking is offered by Mandalay Bay, which typically costs $15 for 1 – 4 hours and $18 for 4 – 24 hours. Parking for under 1 hour is free.

Note that free parking is available for:

  • Nevada Residents (Up to 3 hours) with valid ID.
  • MGM Rewards loyalty club members that have earned Pearl status or higher.
  • MGM Resorts hotel guests that have already paid a parking fee for that day have in/out privileges at ALL MGM resorts. If you’re already parking with an MGM property, just bring your room key to gain access.

Is The Shark Reef Aquarium Worth It?

We certainly thought so! When we last made the trip, we had scored free tickets from the MyVegas game and thought the attraction was really neat. Having the ability to essentially walk the seafloor while being surrounded by sharks and other sea life was a phenomenal experience. In addition to the “undersea tunnel”, we found the illuminated jellyfish display and sea life petting area (with stingrays, horseshoe crabs, and other marine life) to be fun as well. In a city jam-packed with slot machines and other vices, we found the aquarium to be a nice escape. Especially if you’re looking for things to do in Las Vegas with kids, Shark Reef is a winner.

The one drawback for those staying on the north end of the Strip is the distance you need to cover to get to Mandalay Bay. We recommend leveraging the free tram that runs from Excalibur south past Luxor to Mandalay to save some steps.

While the Shark Reef aquarium is a fun stop in itself, ensure to check out some of the other notable things to do at Mandalay Bay and nearby while on the south end of the Las Vegas Strip.

Related: A complete list of FREE things to do in Las Vegas.

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