Explore the Captivating Shark Reef in Las Vegas

Explore the Captivating Shark Reef in Las Vegas

Las Vegas may not be everyone’s go-to for family adventures. The city is famous for catering to adults. However, Las Vegas in recent years has worked to create a more family friendly vibe. One of these family friendly attractions is Mandalay Bay’s Shark Reef. Read on to learn all about the Shark Reef in Las Vegas.

About Shark Reef

foliage along pathway












The attraction, inside the Mandalay Bay Resort, is an indoor aquarium teaching guests about animal habitats, conservation, and stewardship of our planet. The resort houses a number of animal species in the exhibits. But the stars of the show are the sharks.

The Reef is open daily from 10 am to 8 pm. At this time, you can buy timed entrance tickets or anytime tickets. You also may add feeding programs. These programs allow you to feed sea turtles, rays, or sharks. Feedings are at set times and days.

Snakes, Crocs, and Lizards, Oh My!

Crocodile at Shark Reef Las Vegas
The golden crocodile at Shark Reef
Shark Reef Dragon
Komodo Dragon
Shark Reef Python
Burmese Python












After you enter the exhibits, you wind your way through cobbled paths. The paths lead you to exhibits of some land creatures. You can see a lazy crocodile basking on rocks near a pool of water. Snakes are curled in corners around wood and rocks. A Komodo Dragon watches you with a curious stare as its sleek tongue hangs from its open mouth.

Skinks and Piranhas Too

Proceeding into the next exhibit hall, you’ll come face to face with more animals that make their home in or near rivers and lakes. We saw a skink resting and partial hidden from view.

You also look into and over an aquarium with piranhas.

Since one of the primary objectives of Shark Reef is to educate, reading placards are located near every animal exhibit. You can read how the piranha may receive a bad rap from the legendary stories told of the fish.

Pet a Ray

Rays at Shark Reef
Ray Pool at Shark Reef

In the next exhibits, you’ll find a shallow pool with rays. Here, you have opportunity to touch or pet a ray. Carefully follow the instructions given by the attending keeper and you may get opportunity to pet a ray. The animals can be shy, and are quick to skirt fingers riding the water surface. But, if you are patient and persistent, you can touch a ray.

Jellyfish and Starfish

Shark Reef Jellyfish

Near the ray pool, you also see jellyfish and starfish.

I have a real fascination with jellyfish. I could watch them sink, float, glide, ooze all day long.

Shark Reef Las Vegas Starfish
Hello, Starfish.

Our family also loves starfish (see our family’s visit to Starfish Island in Belize). It was enjoyable to spend some time at these exhibits and watch some of our favorite animals.

But the time came to move along.

Lion Fish and Others

Lion Fish Mandalay Bay
Lion fish swim among coral

We have highlighted some of the animals you’ll find at Shark Reef. Here’s one more – the lion fish.

But there are so many more fish you find throughout the aquariums and tanks at Shark Reef.

Fish at Las Vegas' Shark Reef

Aquarium at Shark Reef











It amazes to see the wonderful colors and patterns found throughout the fish on exhibit. There seems no end to the variety found within the grounds and in nature too.

The Main Event – Sharks

Viewing Sharks in Las Vegas
a viewing station at Shark Reef

As you enter the main aquarium, you walk through a tube-like structure made of glass You view sharks swimming at your side and above your head. You also see a number of other fish and sea turtles.

As you make your way through the tube, you enter a submerged sea vessel. Yes, it looks like you are onboard a sunken ship surround by the aquatic ocean life. Of course, you are safe behind glass for a magnificent view of the sea creatures swimming all around.

Surrounded by 1.3 million gallons of water, we watched transfixed for a long time. I’m pretty sure our daughter could have stayed all day, forgoing meals. The only reason my daughter left is because we attended with extended family, and most of our group eventually prepared to leave. We gave her a few more minutes, before she got up from her bench and made her way to the exit.

Learning and Growing

Extinction at Shark Reef Las Vegas
a reminder as you leave Shark Reef.

We love to travel to learn about different places and cultures. We learn how others value family or the land around them.

Obviously, you don’t learn much about other people while visiting an aquarium. But we still learned about our world and how we can help protect life on the planet.

During our visit to Shark Reef, we learned some animals earn a bad reputation unfairly. We also learned that the things we do (or don’t do) can have a impact on the survival of one or more species.

And so our visit to Shark Reef gave us an opportunity to lean and grow and hopefully, become more aware of our impact on our planet.

Gift Shop

Leaving the large aquarium, we climbed upstairs to a gift shop. Here our kids (even though they’re now teenagers) had to get a souvenir to remember their visit.

Our Take

Shark Reef gave us an opportunity to leave the desert and explore undersea. It was an enjoyable way to spend an hour during our stay in Vegas. But, some of our party could have stayed longer. Our daughter is planning a return trip when we next visit Las Vegas.

We hope you’ll watch our video of our time at Shark Reef.

Have you visited Shark Reef in Las Vegas? Leave us a comment and tell us about your experience. Or let us know of another great family friendly experience we must explore while in Las Vegas.

You Might Also Enjoy:

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Find many other family activities in Las Vegas.











All photos and content are by Family Well Traveled and use of photos or content without permission will result in legal action.


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