WCS New York Aquarium Opens Ocean Wonders: Sharks! Exhibit

June 30, 2018

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Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

On Saturday, June 30, the Wildlife Conservation Society's New York Aquarium opened the stunning new Donald Zucker and Barbara Hrbek Zucker Ocean Wonders: Sharks! exhibit.

The three-story, 57,500-square-foot exhibit building, with nine dynamic galleries, will drive awareness of the importance of sharks to the health of the ocean; educate visitors about the severe threats sharks face; and inspire guests to protect the surprisingly diverse and beautiful marine wildlife here in New York.

"The opening of Ocean Wonders: Sharks! is a transformative moment for the New York Aquarium," said WCS President and CEO Cristian Samper in a statement. "The exhibit inspires awe and admiration for sharks and opens our visitors’ eyes to what they truly are—keystone species in the world’s ocean which, as top predators, helps to regulate the populations of other species, bringing a vital balance to a healthy ocean. The exhibit will connect millions of visitors with the wildlife and habitats in New York waters and expands the Wildlife Conservation Society's global commitment to shark and ray conservation."

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Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

Each year, hundreds of thousands of visitors, and tens of thousands of students in the aquarium’s education programs, will learn to value and protect our ocean. The exhibit includes 18 species of sharks and rays and more than 115 other species of marine life. It's the first exhibit that focuses on the marine life found in the New York Bight (from Cape May, NJ, to Montauk, NY).

"Our new Ocean Wonders: Sharks! exhibit will awaken New Yorkers to the magnificence and importance of the ocean here in New York," said Jon Forrest Dohlin, Director of the New York Aquarium and WCS Vice President. "We tell the 400 million-year-old story of sharks and their critical role in marine ecosystems as a lead-in to bring New Yorkers back to an awareness and appreciation for the heritage we share in the wildlife that surrounds us right here in this city of islands."

“We hope that the pride and sense of wonder instilled by Ocean Wonders: Sharks! translate into stewardship for our oceans.”

Added Jim Breheny, WCS EVP of Zoos & Aquarium and Director of the Bronx Zoo: “Ocean Wonders: Sharks! is a perfect example of the higher purpose of zoos and aquariums—the conservation of wildlife and wild places. You can’t go through this exhibit—where you can find yourself just inches from a shark—and not be inspired to join our efforts to save sharks and the ocean.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio said it is a celebration of "a remarkable new facility where New Yorkers can learn more about—and be delighted by—our ocean-dwelling neighbors." But, he added, "we’re also celebrating another big step toward recovery from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. The New York Aquarium brings the wonders of the sea to our doorstep, and we’re proud to have made a major investment in its restoration.”

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Photo Credit: ©Mary Dixon/WCS

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