The month-long celebration builds awareness for shark conservation with community events
The Oklahoma Aquarium and the Jenks Chamber of Commerce are pleased to announce “Sharklahoma,” a month-long celebration of all-things shark, with events at the aquarium and several other businesses throughout Jenks.
Sharklahoma kicks off in the month of July at the aquarium with weekly behind-the-scenes shark feed tours; a screening of Jaws with aquarium biologists debunking myths; Shipley the Shark mascot visits to local businesses; talks with celebrity shark experts; a staff shark dive; and more. Other community events include: a dog sea creature costume contest; a screening of Shark Tale at the Jenks Downtown Commons; and more. Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell will also speak at the Jenks Chamber of Commerce luncheon to discuss tourism in Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma Aquarium is home to the only bull shark exhibit in the Western Hemisphere. With 10 bull sharks on exhibit, it is also the world’s largest collection of bull sharks. This exhibit, amongst others, has earned the Oklahoma Aquarium media attention from around the globe. The bull sharks have also participated in important research projects to help humans and other sharks in captivity.
“The Oklahoma Aquarium is grateful to the community and guests from around the world for their support of our nonprofit, particularly our sharks,” said Andrea Leitch, Chief Marketing Officer of the Oklahoma Aquarium. “Sharklahoma allows us to partner with the community, while also raising awareness about importance of sharks and their ecological and economic impact.”
The Oklahoma Aquarium will also host its second annual contest where one lucky diver will swim with the largest collection of bull sharks in the world on Friday, July 26. The grand finale of Sharklahoma will give one contest winner the opportunity to swim with the sharks in the world-renowned tank. The winner will wear a 20-pound, $6,000 chain mail suit, and a GoPro to swim alongside scuba-certified aquarium staff.
Bull sharks are best known for their aggressive behavior and are considered to be one of the most dangerous species. They are found in warm shallow water but can also be found swimming in freshwater rivers. Bull sharks can live up to 16 years in the wild and can grow from seven to 11.5 feet, weighing between 200-500 pounds. Currently, 10 bull sharks swim in the exhibit.
Since opening in 2003, the Oklahoma Aquarium has been a great source of pride and economic growth for the city of Jenks.
“The Oklahoma Aquarium has played an undeniable role in the development of Jenks,” said Josh Driskell, President and CEO of the Jenks Chamber of Commerce. “We’re excited to be able to partner with the Aquarium for this programming to raise awareness of shark conservation, the Aquarium and Jenks.”
Donations for shark research and conservation can be made through purchases of Sharklahoma-themed T-shirts and other merchandise. Together, the Oklahoma Aquarium and the Jenks Chamber of Commerce hope to enhance the visitor experience to the area, particularly educating locals and visitors alike about the importance of shark conservation.
For a full list of events, visit Sharklahoma.com.