AAA Editor Notes
Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay is at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino (3950 Las Vegas Blvd. S.). Fearsome creatures of the deep—and no, we don't mean the bleary-eyed souls hunched over the craps table—reign at this aquarium, which has three major exhibit areas: Jungle, Temple and Shipwreck. Jungle highlights include a tank of piranhas (usually encircled by camera-toting tourists waiting for an elusive baring of razor-sharp teeth), a Komodo dragon residing in a glass-walled pen and four fresh-water Johnston's crocodiles.

The Temple has an Indiana Jones adventure theme—walkways lined with exotic foliage and faux stone walls. It's entered via the walk-through Reef Tunnel, with see-through Plexiglas offering views of tropical fish and some small sharks and rays. Here you'll find a touch pool inhabited by the usual suspects (anemones, urchins, crabs, starfish), a very cool moon jellyfish tank, a giant Pacific octopus and beautifully bizarre-looking lionfish.

The Shipwreck exhibit looks like the cargo hold of a sunken pirate ship, with glass walls looking into a 1.3-million gallon tank filled with all kinds of sharks, big schools of ocean-dwelling fish, endangered green sea turtles and barracuda giving you the evil eye. This is a top-of-the-line facility and a great place to take the kids for a couple of hours when it's too hot to sightsee. Animal encounter programs are offered for an additional fee.

Note: The aquarium entrance is inside the hotel, near the convention halls and swimming pool area.

Time: Allow 1 hour minimum.

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