Chattanooga Now Tennessee Aquarium's Sharkfest adds screenings of 'Shark Clans'

Chattanooga Now Tennessee Aquarium's Sharkfest adds screenings of 'Shark Clans'

Film screenings among many special activities for Friday's event

August 3rd, 2017 by Barry Courter in Chattnow Music

A great white shark scene from "Shark Clans."

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

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You won't need a bigger boat, but you will need a ticket to check out these sharks.

Sharks have long fascinated and frightened people, especially since "Jaws" hit theaters in 1975. Since then, scientists and filmmakers have been working to learn as much about the animals as they could and to educate people about them.

Sharkfest at the Tennessee Aquarium returns Friday, Aug. 4, giving fans a chance to see sharks in real life and on the giant screen at the Imax 3D Theater.

You can check out the toothy maws of sand tigers or the delicate patterning of coral cat sharks at the Aquarium. The celebration offers a chance for the public to have fun while learning about one of the ocean's most fearsome and threatened animals.

Guests play at the Shark Selfie Station during a previous Sharkfest.

Guests play at the Shark Selfie Station during...

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

If you go

› What: Sharkfest

› Where: Tennessee Aquarium, 1 Broad St., and Imax Theatre, 201 Chestnut St.

› When: 5-8 p.m. Sharkfest activities; 5 and 6 p.m. movie screenings at Imax, Friday, Aug. 4.

› Admission: Free for Aquarium members, $14.50 nonmember adults, $9.50 nonmember children ages 3 to 12; movie tickets $8.

› For more information:

This year's SharkFest includes a pair of screenings at the Imax of "Shark Clans."

"Shark Clans" was filmed and produced by Chattanooga-based Nature Films Network, whose crew spent six days in Australia filming the work of a research team led by famed shark conservationist Rodney Fox.

Viewers will feel like they are cage diving with massive great white sharks prowling beneath the waves off South Australia's Neptune Islands.

"We still don't know a lot about sharks," said Rob Hall, with Nature Films Network.

In 1963, Fox was almost killed by a great white shark, but rather than allow that experience to inspire fear and hatred of sharks, he has instead devoted his life to understanding and protecting them.

This will be a rare opportunity to view this 2D film on the giant, six-story screen at the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX Theater.

"Seeing it on the IMAX screen gives audiences a new appreciation for the huge size of these sharks," said Hall, one of the underwater photographers for Nature Films Network. "The footage looks amazing. It's the closest thing you'll come to actually being underwater in the cage with our team and the sharks."

Sharkfest activities will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday in the Ocean Journey building of the Aquarium.

During this celebration of all things shark-related, guests will be able to:

* Get a tough-looking (temporary) shark tattoo.

* Have their hair molded into a fin or other fearsome 'do by stylists from North Shore Great Clips

* Get up close and personal with preserved museum specimens at Dr. Bernie's Travelin' Shark Show.

* Enjoy dive show presentations and a special shark feeding session.

* Peruse a collection of prehistoric shark teeth, including some from the enormous, extinct Megalodon.

* Learn about smaller sharks and rays in the recently renovated Stingray Bay, courtesy of Cowboy Kyle's Shark Round-up.

* Take a toothsome portrait with fishy props at the Shark Selfie Station.

* Sink their teeth into a frozen treat from Cold Stone Creamery.

Proceeds from the purchase of tickets to "Shark Clans" screenings will help fund the Aquarium's ongoing support of sand tiger shark research. Ocearch, a world-renowned marine research group, is leading the project off the North Carolina coast.

The study's aim is to use sonic tags to track mature female sand tigers in order to better understand how and where they reproduce. The Aquarium is helping fund the purchase of these sonic tags, which are similar to the acoustic devices the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute uses to track sturgeon in the Tennessee River.

For more information or to register for Sharkfest, visit 2017/sharkfest-2017.