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'Sharks are misunderstood': Shark Preservation Week at Cox Science Center

Shark Preservation Week starts July 23
Sharks Cox Science Center
Posted at 11:51 AM, Jul 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-22 13:32:50-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — "A lot of movies portray [sharks] as these big scary creatures that are out to haunt us, when in reality, they're more fearful of us than we are them," said Jen Nye who is the director of marketing at the Cox Science Center and Aquarium.

The Science Center will be participating in Shark Preservation Week from July 23 through July 29, in partnership with the American Shark Conservancy. The hope is to change the public's attitudes on sharks.

"You're more likely to die from a coconut falling on your head than a shark attack," Nye said.

Richard Apple, who is a shark photographer, agrees.

Shark Diving off Jupiter's Coastline

"Shark diving and shark photography is enjoyed by many divers and snorkelers who live locally, as well as many who come from all over the world to enjoy our year-round shark populations. It brings significant tourism dollars to the area, as well as revenues to the many dive shops in northern Palm Beach County," said Apple. "You would be extremely hard-pressed to find any of them who would consider it dangerous. While some locals would try to have you believe that our waters have too many sharks, those of us who dive with them can count on one hand how many we see on a regular basis. The fishermen have over-fished the area and sharks have far fewer items to eat . . . and, so, a struggling fish on a fishing hook is very attractive."

The science center is focused on fun education.

"It's really really a part of our mission to not only educate people, but asking people about things that are important here in Florida, and sharks are probably one of the most important features that we have here surrounding our local waters," said Kristian Zambrana who serves as the center's Director of Visitor Services. "So, if we can increase the education about where sharks live, what they eat and how to actually protect them, it's really going to benefit not just all of the kids that are growing up here but the entire community."

"You can expect some touch tanks. We're going to be doing a lot of shark-related arts and crafts," said Nye. "We're going to have people from the shark American Truck conservancy [come to] talk about how important they are to our ecosystem."
Feeding Frenzy

Shark Preservation Week Activities

  • Touch Tank Presentation - Daily at 10:45 a.m. and 11:45 a.m.
  • Feeding frenzy - Afternoons (except Tuesday and Friday)
  • STEAM ocean-themed crafts, like shark teeth necklaces

"Kids love to get hands-on and this week especially, they can dive into the world of sharks and create so many crafts," said Nicole Afanador, the center's special events manager.

Track sharks of the South Florida coastline on the OSEARCH website by clicking here.

Cox Science Center and Aquarium
4801 Dreher Trail North
West Palm Beach, FL 33405