Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay...
Apr 14, 2011
|Tom & Lisa arrived from Brookings, Oregon late Sunday evening and came over Monday to introduce us to our beautiful 10 month old granddaughter Maya. What a doll! She's such a good baby, crawling everywhere, unless she can convince you to hold her little hands and take her for a walk. Aunt Bonnie & I walked her little legs off until she finally wore the two of us out!
We agreed to catch up with them the next afternoon after we met with sister Lori and Mom. They were on their way back home & wanted to drop a few things off with us on their way. So we drove about 60 miles and met them at the Glendale turnoff on I-15. Mom & Joyce had the cutest little outfits for me to take to the baby shower on Saturday. And a couple of suitcases to return that they borrowed for their trip to California. It was good to see Mom. We were pleased with how well she looked. We'll see her again in about 5 weeks as we make our way from Nevada to South Dakota.
When we reached the outskirts of town we checked in with the kids and agreed to meet them at the Shark Reef at the Mandalay Bay. We never visited the Reef while we lived here in town and the ocean is probably the last thing people think of when they visit the dry desert of Las Vegas, but the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay is changing that for many.
Housing more than 1,200 species of marine life including sharks, exotic fresh and saltwater fish, a 300-pound sea turtle and much more, the Shark Reef offers a terrific aquatic experience.
Shark Reef is reminiscent of an ancient temple slowly sinking into the ocean. The tunnel, which houses numerous species of sharks and the aquarium's largest animals, is designed to look like a sunken shipwreck and contains an astounding 1.3 million gallons of water.
It includes blacktip reef sharks, whitetip reef sharks, bonnethead sharks, nurse sharks, sand tiger sharks, sandbar sharks, zebra sharks, white spotted bamboo sharks, port Jackson sharks and lemon sharks. Some species of sharks at Shark Reef will grow to be more than 18 feet long. We read that a 200-pound sand tiger shark will eat about four pounds of food every week, mostly capelin, squid, mackerel, prawn and scallops.
Nearby, we enjoyed getting a "hands-on" experience with various stingrays, eels and crabs at the touch pool. Well, grandson Jeffrey & wife Mindy were hands on. I was hands off! Moray eels, southern stingrays and hundreds of moon jellyfish were among the many creatures housed near the touch pool as well.
The Shark Reef also houses an eight-foot-long Komodo dragon, the largest species in the lizard family. We read that the Komodo dragon is known to carry unique hunting skills. They rely on smell in order to find their prey. When they walk, they actually move their head side to side. They can tell if the scent is coming from the left or from the right.
The Komodo's original habitat is in Indonesia. However, many perish from extreme weather conditions. Classified as an endangered species, there are only 3,000 to 5,000 that live in the wild. At Shark Reef, this particular Komodo lives within an environment similar to its habitat, complete with sand, boulders and a pool.
In case you are wondering, cost for the Shark Reef was $16.95 per person with a $3 discount with a Nevada driver's license. All eleven of us agreed that it was an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours. Certainly a great deal compared to the dent the machines can do to your wallet in that same period of time! LOL
After the Reef, everyone headed to Bonnie & Larry's for taco soup and more visiting. Tom's daughter Serenity, our granddaughter, and her son Ryan, our great-grandson, came over to visit as well. We spent a couple of hours viewing VHS tapes filmed in the '90's. Oh my, we've all changed a bit! It was a real kick watching our antics back then though. We all enjoyed it very much. Time to transfer that old film to DVD's before we lose it.
Tomorrow we're going to the Venetian for a bit of sight-seeing. Tom & Lisa want to ride the gondola and Larry & I might too. Another Vegas attraction we've not yet done. Either way, we're mostly going for the company. Four days will fly by quickly so we want to visit with the kids as much as possible. We plan to leave for Arizona on Monday. Wow, I can't believe how the time has flown by. That's it for now, time to hit the sack. Night...