The Aquarium of Niagara continues to expand its offerings with the opening of the M&T Bank Shark and Ray Bay.
"This exhibit is hands-on and interactive," said Gary Siddall, Executive Director of the Aquarium of Niagara.
"We've lowered that glass and we're encouraging people to reach across it, put their hands in the water and have that chance to have that inspirational moment where they're making a connection with sharks and rays."
Siddall assures the Bamboo sharks in the display do not pose a threat to patrons.
At a cost of $1.9 million, the exhibit is the product of several funding sources, including the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council. The Aquarium draws over 300,000 visitors annually. The hope is the Shark & Ray Bay will combine with other recent addition to draw more tourists.
Siddall also hopes patrons draw important lessons from their visits.
"Of course, we hope people will walk away with some factual information, maybe about the range or distribution of a particular species," Siddall said.
"But, what we really want people to take away is the opportunity to form a connection of their own where they want to take interest in that species and, hopefully, change some habits in their own life which will benefit them across the world."
With COVID-19 protocols in place, the Aquarium wants to visitors to make reservations.