Chattanooga, Tenn. (July 29, 2015) – When guests step into the Tennessee Aquarium’s shark cage, they’re stepping back in time. It was an important piece of equipment used during the filming of “Blue Water, White Death,” the first underwater documentary about Great White Sharks. The film was released in 1971 and is widely recognized as having inspired author Peter Benchley to write the novel “JAWS.”
Four years later “JAWS,” the first film to be labeled a “summer blockbuster,” was released. Even today, forty years later, “JAWS” still sends shivers down the spines of many. Duhhhhhh, dum. Duhhhhh, dum. You don’t even have to hear two of the most famous notes ever played on a tuba to have scary thoughts about sharks pop into your mind.
This one film unleashed a feeding frenzy of misunderstanding about sharks that has lasted in the public’s mind over the past four decades. “Unfortunately JAWS made it cool to hold contests like shark rodeos to see who could catch the most, or largest, sharks which were then discarded without thought to the important role sharks play in maintaining the balance of a healthy ocean,” said Jackson Andrews, the Aquarium’s director of husbandry and operations.
To mark the 40th anniversary of this iconic film and help everyone better understand and appreciate these animals, the Aquarium is hosting Sharkfest on Friday, August 7. This event gives families an opportunity to have fun while learning more about shark species they won’t normally meet in downtown Chattanooga.
Cowboy Kyle has rounded up some shark pups he’s been raising since they hatched from eggs. (Yes, some sharks give live birth. Others lay eggs that hatch later.) Dr. Bernie’s travelin’ Shark Show gives kids a chance to touch some rather odd shark specimens. Sharkfest also features a large collection of prehistoric Megalodon Shark teeth and a chance to meet the Chattanooga filmmakers who produced “Shark Clans,” a top-rated documentary about Great White Sharks during Discovery Channel’s Shark Week 2015.
After feasting on facts while talking to shark divers underwater, kids can get a tough-looking temporary shark tattoo and a “shark hawk” or mermaid hairdo. The Sharkfest frenzy concludes with a tasty frozen treat from Coldstone Creamery.
Guests can register for Sharkfest online at: https://community.tnaqua.org/events/summer-2015/shark-fest
According to the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File, the longest running database of scientifically documented shark bites, the odds of being attacked by a shark is just one in 11.5 million! (To put that in perspective, Americans have a one in five chance of dying from heart disease.) With those kind of odds, it seems pretty ridiculous to fear being chomped to death by a shark.
That’s almost as likely as being in the middle of a “Sharknado”…..or “Sharknado 2.”
However, the odds of both films coming to the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX Theater on Saturday, August 8th is 100%. Sharknado fans will be able to gather in downtown Chattanooga to bask in the silliness that has made these two movies new cult-classics. This may be the first and only time to see Sharknado and Sharknado 2 in a giant screen theater.
The #Sharknooga double-feature is for adults, 21 and older, who will be able to enjoy signature, shark-themed cocktails and munchies before and during the screenings.
Register for #Sharknooga online: https://community.tnaqua.org/events/summer-2015/sharknooga
Proceeds from this event will support the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute.