If you’re looking for something fun and unique to do in downtown Las Vegas, the shark tank at Golden Nugget has got you covered.
Visitors can get a behind-the-scenes look at The Tank, the Golden Nugget’s 200,000-gallon shark aquarium.
Lots of Vegas visitors have seen the massive shark tank at Golden Nugget, and have taken a ride through (yes, through) the shark tank down its popular water slide (see below).
But there’s a whole other world that happens out of sight of the public. That’s where the Golden Nugget’s shark tank tour comes in.
On the shark tank tour, one of the Golden Nugget’s marine biologists shows guests what goes into ensuring the aquarium’s sharks and other denizens are happy and healthy. And fed.
Nicole gave us our tour, and she was like a walking encyclopedia (those things people used before the Internet) about shark behavior, including feeding and mating. We asked lots of questions about the whole shark mating thing, and Nicole didn’t blush even once. Nor did she call security. We were duly impressed.
One of the highlights of our tour was when our guide described how mating happens in the shark community given sharks do not, typically, have hands. We’d say more, but that’s what YouTube is for, folks. And don’t even get us started on the whole intrauterine cannibalism thing.
The Tank tour provides a rare glimpse into the world of a one-of-a-kind Las Vegas attraction.
The tank boasts five species of sharks, including four black-tipped sharks, three Tiger sharks (they can grow to be 350 pounds), four sandbar sharks, two zebra sharks and two nurse sharks.
The aquarium also contains hundreds of other, we presume very nervous, exotic fish. Just kidding. Sharks, it turns out, don’t really eat all that much, and the sharks at The Tank are so well-fed, disappearances of other tank inhabitants are relatively rare.
Thankfully, the information provided during the shark tank tour never gets too technical for us non-biologists.
About as technical as our tour got was Nicole trying to explain sharks having “ampullae of Lorenzini.” Those are special sensing organs, or electroreceptors. These organs help sharks sense electric fields in the water. All living things create an electrical field with their muscle contractions, so this ability comes in handy when sharks get the drunchies.
Sharks also have something called a “lateral line,” sense organs used to detect vibration in the surrounding water. Truly fascinating stuff.
If the science and nature facts aren’t your thing, there’s also a show-and-tell portion where you get an actual shark’s tooth.
It’s a blast getting a look at parts of the aquarium operation the public rarely sees.
For example, guests get to see the unbelievably complex filtration system used in the aquarium, and also get to see where the Golden Nugget team prepares treats for the sharks.
The team members at The Tank are clearly passionate about educating the public about their sharks, as well as dispelling myths about sharks.
For example, there are very few humans harmed by sharks in a given year (about five attacks a year result in death), but it’s estimated 100 million sharks are killed by humans each year. That’s not a typo. Just stop eating shark fin soup, already, people.
After you finish your shark tank tour, you’ll be able to impress your friends and co-workers with your ample knowledge of all things shark. You’ll be the life of any party with lines like, “The term zebra shark is a misnomer given the fact they’re spotted, not striped! From now on, look for the five longitudinal ridges on a cylindrical body.” (Note: Please use your new knowledge with discretion if you ever want to be invited to a party again.)
The folks who oversee The Tank, by the way, also take care of the hotel’s other huge aquarium at The Chart House.
The Tank tour at Golden Nugget costs $40, and tours take place at 1:30 p.m. each Wednesday.