It wouldn’t be the summer without talk of sharks.  Sharks captivate adult and child audiences alike. Ranging in size and holding unique characteristics, they’re just too darn cool. Here you’ll find some of our favorite shark activities to couple with Discovery Channel’s 2012 Shark Week (Sunday, August 12th thru Thursday, August 16th) or to create your own shark week anytime.

Nothing beats seeing these creatures in person. We’ve enjoyed the attractions and huge shark tank at Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ. They have over 70 sharks and a special exhibit thru Sept 3rdMegalodon – The Largest Shark that Ever Lived”. Many folks already know of the National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD but did you know that you could participate in the “Sharks! Behind-the-Scene Tour”? This special guided tour (for an additional fee) allows you to get super close to the shark tank, view the food prep area to learn of the sharks’ diet and care, then offers you a special take-home souvenir. Or extend that experience with a shark sleepover at the aquarium. Click here for more details. Don’t forget to check out the education tools on the website – there’s so much offered. The National Aquarium is also located in Washington DC, as is the Sant Ocean Hall at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. Atlantic City offers another hands-on option with the Shark & Ray Touch Tank at the Atlantic City Aquarium in New Jersey. These special feeding experiences are offered daily at noon and 3PM.

Sharks can get pretty in tense, so for the younger crowd or just to mix things up, don’t forget about Disney’s amazing shark scenes in The Little Mermaid and Finding Nemo (which is being released in 3D on September 14th in movie theaters).  You can also find tasty “Finding Nemo” fruit snacks by Kellogg’s in your local grocery store.   “Shark Tale” is a cute animated story about sharks. Another family film would be Disneynature’s “Oceans” features all types of sea life including sharks. Disney also offers education tools, click here to download them.  Here are a couple of nonfiction shark flicks to consider for the family:  “Shark Week: Restless Fury”, Eyewitness: “Shark”, and “Prehistoric Predators: Monster Shark”.

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Play time equals learning fun, so check out these great toys to continue your shark experience:

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For MORE shark talk… check out this Four Little Monsters Blog article for food, crafts and learning fun as they embark on a Shark Week Adventure. “My family goes all out for Discovery Channel’s Shark Week. Sharks are some of the coolest and most fascinating creatures on the planet if you ask us. Considering sharks were around since oh… before the dinosaurs, I’d say they score automatic coolness and respect points. Here at our house, we try to make Shark Week about learning, of course, and most definitely about fun.” With ongoing ideas to spark your creativity and give-away prizes, you won’t want to miss this mom’s plan. Discovery Channel also has lots of online interactive options to check out. I found myself calmly mesmerized by the online puzzle, but another option is the Shark Munch game and the Discovery Kids Shark App with lots and lots of choices.

By mixing a little of this and that with a video clip and art projects, shark snacks and interactive games, you can create an unforgettable shark themed week. We’d love to hear what you’ve included in your sharp shark plans. Leave us a comment.