It must be said: Sharks are cool. Celebrate some of the oldest, most beautiful and misunderstood creatures of the deep this weekend as Shark Week takes a bite out of Tampa Bay.
CELEBRATE SHARK WEEK (Friday through Sunday)
Sharks are the stars of the Florida Aquarium’s enormous coral reef exhibit. Learn more about them and their cartilaginous cousins the skates and rays when the aquarium turns to up the shark love. Shark-themed activities will dominate the weekend’s events. The schedule includes:
* A shark-themed scavenger hunt throughout the Aquarium
* Interactive shark games and learning activities
* Special (Underwater) Guest Speaker – Marine Scientist and Author Dr. Ellen Prager (3:15 p.m. July 10)
* Special (Underwater) Guest Speaker - Shark Expert Dr. Dan Huber (11 a.m. July 12)
SHARK CON (Saturday)
Dive into the deep end of learning about sharks when SharkCon returns to the Florida State Fairgrounds. You’ll find touch tanks where kids and adults can interact with sharks and horseshoe crabs. Exhibits from the Florida Aquarium, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, Mote Marine Laboratory and SeaWorld will teach you things you never knew about the oceans and their top predators. There’ll also be classes in paddleboarding, net casting and fishing. And since Shark Week isn’t Shark Week without cheesy shark movies, you’ll get to see three of the best of the worst (and, hopefully, you’ll be more amused than afraid).
“JAWS” (9:30 p.m. Saturday)
Detecting a theme so far? Repeat after me: It’s just a movie. Not that it matters. Steven Spielberg’s classic thriller still chills the blood 40 years after it first terrified movie-goers with that fin breaking the water and those ominous cello chords. Alas, Spielberg’s movie – and Peter Benchley’s book before that -- also took a pretty big bite out of human-shark relations, helping to turn a vital part of the aquatic ecosystem into everybody’s favorite Big Bad. “Jaws” is part of SharkCon. Underwater videographer Jillian Morris Brake, executive director of the Oceanicallstars conservation media group and the creator of the SHARKS4KIDS education program, will provide a short introduction to the showing at the Tampa Theatre.
ANDY WARHOL AND PRINTMAKING (through Sept. 20)
The Tampa Museum of Art’s new show, "In Living Color: Andy Warhol and Contemporary Printmaking from the Collections of Jordan Schnitzer and His Family Foundation," stars the man who made Pop Art famous through his jarring portraits of famous faces, such as Marilyn Monroe and Mao Tse-Tung. You can both of them along with dozens of other works by Warhol and others at the exhibit. You start with this review by Tampa Bay Times art critic Lennie Bennett.
TAMPA BAY STORM (July 11)
Catch Tampa Bay’s arena football team as they take on the Orlando Predators at 7:30 p.m. at Amalie Arena. Football in the summer – and air-conditioning. Bring your gently used sporting gear to donate. The Storm is teaming up with the Tampa Bay Sports Commission and Elder Automotive to host Replay Tampa Bay, an annual donation drive that collects new or gently used sporting goods that are donated to local children. Replay Tampa Bay will also present 50 brand new bicycles to children from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay. Fans are also encouraged to donate new or gently used sporting goods at the on-site collection station which will be located on Ford Thunder Alley on the West Plaza. Tickets are available here.