Las Vegas Sights: Shark Reef Aquarium

Part of a series on our trip to Las Vegas in April 2019.

Kid #2 loves aquariums, so we’ve been to a lot of them, including the one at Monterey Bay. I didn’t have high expectations for the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay, but it was actually pretty amazing. We bought our tickets on Vegas.com at a slight discount and picked them up at the will-call window. There was only one group in front of us at the ticket windows. On the way there, our Uber driver took us straight to the aquarium entrance. They blast the air conditioning in the lobby but it’s very hot and humid in the aquarium itself.

If you decide to purchase your tickets on Vegas.com like I did, make sure to sign up to Rakuten to get cash back. Sign up here and get $10 after your first purchase.

The entrance to the Shark Reef Aquarium is decorated like Mayan ruins in the jungle. One of the first things you see when you walk in and start making your slow descent into the underwater part of the aquarium is this huge Komodo dragon.

As you continue descending, you pass by lots of interesting tanks with all kinds of cool looking fish and décor, including a tank of piranhas.

Eventually you get to an underwater walkway. Kid #2 was excited to see a “unicorn” fish.

After the walkway is an open area with a touch pool and large tanks of jellyfish and manta rays. Neither of my kids wanted to do any touching though.

Lastly, we came to what I thought was the coolest part of the aquarium, which was an underwater area that was made out like a sunken ship. It consisted of a “ship” area and another walkway, which led to the exit. The waters here were populated by a number of huge sharks.

I was unable to get a clear shot of him, but this monster shark swam over us quite a few times. He was enormous, and it made for an incredibly immersive experience.

It was actually a little too immersive for Kid #2, who became increasingly freaked out by the sharks. Eventually she just kept saying, “Can we get out of here now, please?” None of our reassurances that she was safe and the sharks could not get her did any good, so we left.

Afterwards, we took the tram to Excalibur and walked across to New York, New York. We ate at Bruxie’s and took some pictures in front of T-Mobile Arena, then walked over to the M&M store. We spent some time here trying unusual flavors of M&M’s, and we let the kids each get a small bag of candy. After we got some snacks and drinks at the convenience store nearby, we took another Uber back to the Palazzo.

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