Recently voted the third-best aquarium in the country by USA TODAY, The Florida Aquarium, a NAUI Organizational Affiliate and partner, is a top family-friendly attraction in the Tampa, Florida, area, to educate and inspire the public about marine life and conservation in an entertaining way. Guests are invited to see and learn about more than 7,000 plants and animals, including sharks, stingrays, otters, sea turtles, alligators, penguins and much more.
The Aquarium also offers immersive dive and swim programs for families who enjoy getting even closer to some of the most fascinating marine animals.
Come visit The Florida Aquarium to embark on an in-water reef adventure that takes you beneath the surface with a Dive with the Sharks program, an unforgettable family-friendly dive experience for certified divers ages 15 and older. A Shark Swim experience is also available for those 9 and older.
© The Florida Aquarium Guests can get this close to The Florida Aquarium’s resident sea turtle Flip during the Shark Dive program. Both experiences take guests into a 500,000-gallon coral reef habitat where guests will swim or dive side by side with many types of sea life native to Florida, including hundreds of reef fish, a green sea turtle, moray eels, sand tiger sharks and more.
“Our Dive with the Sharks program is a great family activity that is not only fun, but a way to get up close to these animals and learn why it is so important to protect them,” said Eric Hovland, associate curator at The Florida Aquarium.
The program includes safety and equipment instruction, followed by a 15-minute introduction into the shallow side of the habitat above a replica of the Dry Tortugas, one of the Florida Keys’ most beautiful coral reef dive sites.
“This shallow side of the habitat is not directly connected to the larger side where the sharks swim, which allows our guests to get used to the water and the environment without being around some of our larger animals,” Hovland said.
Once guests are comfortable, they move into the deep side of the habitat, where they are accompanied by a divemaster who will help guide them throughout the experience.
The Dive with the Sharks program is a 90-minute experience that runs at 9 a.m. daily. Participants must be scuba-certified. The Shark Swim, a snorkel-like experience, runs at 1:45 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. daily. All gear is included for both experiences. The experiences are recorded using small action cameras, and guests receive a copy of the footage.
For more information, visit flaquarium.org/swimanddive or call +1 813-273-4000.
Want to swim or dive with the sharks?
Visit flaquarium.org/swimanddive or call 813-273-4000.