October is “SHARKtober” at Aquarium of the Bay

Providing a final and affirmative answer to the age-old question of whether there really are sharks in the San Francisco Bay, Aquarium of the Bay is proud to present SHARKtober, a month-long celebration of these enigmatic animals.

Sevengill sharks, Notorynchus cepedianus, are named for the seven gills on each side of their pectoral fins. Most other sharks have only five gills. Locally, they reside in bays such as San Francisco, Monterey and Tomales, and are found in the South Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. Photo courtesy of Aquarium of the Bay

Published: October, 2009 
Providing a final and affirmative answer to the age-old question of whether there really are sharks in the San Francisco Bay, Aquarium of the Bay is proud to present SHARKtober, a month-long celebration of these enigmatic animals. SHARKtober will star San Francisco Bay sharks: the mighty sevengill, soupfin, leopard, brown smoothhound and spiny dogfish, as well as special guest stars that live just outside the Golden Gate, including swells and angel sharks. 

Throughout the month of October from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, Aquarium of the Bay will have a shark-related scavenger hunt, live shark touching, shark hats, shark talks and shark films. Special shark feeding presentations will be on Thursdays and Sundays only at 1:30 p.m.

On Friday, October 16, a festive fundraiser benefiting Aquarium of the Bay’s landmark sevengill shark research and education projects called SHARKtoberFest will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. The evening will take place throughout the Aquarium and will include entertainment, sustainable seafood nibbles, a silent auction and a presentation of the first SharkSaver award, given to Sherman’s Lagoon creator Jim Toomey. Toomey will be on hand to receive the award, recognizing the important role that he has played in increasing the public’s awareness for issues facing sharks, including shark finning. Silent auction items will include whale-watching tours to the Farallones Islands, membership to the Bay Athletic Club, a Coastal Ocean magazine subscription and shark book package, a Bay Cruise on the Lovely Martha, a subscription to Bay Nature, and much more. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at www.aquariumofthebay.org.

On Saturday, October 17, dive deeper into the world of sharks at the SHARKtober FilmFest from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Learn more about these animals and their importance to a healthy San Francisco Bay—sharks are the stars of this mini-film festival that looks deep into the underwater world of the Bay and beyond. Films by local and international filmmakers include:

  Rethink the Shark, Save Our Seas Foundation

  City of the Shark, David McGuire

  Sharks: Stewards of the Reef, Holiday Johnson

  White Shark Café, Sean Aronson 

  Requiem, Living Ocean Productions


Following the screenings, renowned shark experts and scientists will share their insight during presentations and panel discussions moderated by filmmaker and marine biologist David McGuire.

  Jim Toomey, Author, Sherman’s Lagoon

  Maria Brown, Director, Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary

  Sal Jorgenson, Ph.D., Hopkins Marine Station

  Jonathon Kathrein (shark attack survivor turned shark conservationist), Founder, Future Leaders for Peace

Tickets are available at www.aquariumofthebay.org for only $17 and include Aquarium admission.

Later on in the evening of October 17, you can sleep just inches from more than 70 San Francisco Bay sharks! No need to pinch yourself—you really will be sleeping with the sharks at Aquarium of the Bay’s SHARKtober sleepover. Families will have the opportunity to sleep inches from sharks, while species including the mighty sevengill, leopard and spiny dogfish sharks swim overhead, along with nearly 200 species of other aquatic animals. The sleepover begins at 7:30 p.m. and will feature a guided tour of the Aquarium, lots of shark-related activities and trivia from the Aquarium naturalists, hands-on meeting and greeting with select animals, evening snacks and more. A hosted continental breakfast the next morning rounds out this unforgettable experience. The sleepover is for families with children ages 5 – 17 and is sure to sell out, so purchase your tickets today by calling (415) 623-5326. Tickets are $60 per person and $50 for Aquarium of the Bay members.

Leopard Sharks; The most prevalent shark species found in the San Francisco Bay, no two leopard sharks have the same bars and stripes. Photo courtesy of Aquarium of the Bay

Named for their large wing-shaped pectoral fins, angel sharks have flattened bodies and grow to five feet in length. Their gray, brown and black coloring blends with the sandy and rocky Bay bottom in which they bury themselves to ambush their favorite prey of fish, crustaceans and mollusks. The Aquarium of the Bay is the only aquarium in the United States to consistently exhibit angel sharks, which are known by the scientific name Squatina californica. Photo courtesy of Aquarium of the Bay