Nose-to-nose with a 250-pound grouper, the scuba diver waves at the crowd on the far side of the glass in the aquarium. Did you know aquarium scuba diving - and snorkeling -- with fish is offered at several aquariums in the U.S., as well as in other countries? Some "snorkel with the fish" experiences are open age six and older. Scuba certification is required for most dives.
All aquariums below belong to the Association of Zoos andAquariums, America's leading accrediting organization for zoos and aquariums. Members have achieved rigorous standards for animal care, education, wildlife conservation and science.
The Downtown Aquarium has several programs, including "Swim With The Fish, "Dive With The Sharks," "Underwater Photography" and "Adventure Dives." You can take scuba classes with A-I Scuba Colorado to get a scuba diver certification, which includes two aquarium dives.
If you'd like to more about diving with sharks in an aquarium, read Dive Into the Shark Pool. I did and it was a lot of fun.
About.com's Guide to Las Vegas, Zeke Quezada, dived into the Shark Reef Aquarium at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas. His reaction: "Feeling the gentle glide of a dorsal fin on my thigh I examined the reef shark in such a way that I never thought possible." If you're a scuba diver visiting Las Vegas, take time away from the tables and nightclubs to go Diving With Sharks.
The "Sharks Up-Close Encounter" lets scuba-certified guests dive into the adrenaline-pumping world of Adventure Aquarium's 550,000-gallon Shark Realm. Join "Swim With The Sharks" and you can snorkel with sand tiger sharks, sandbar sharks, nurse sharks and even barracuda. Then, enter Stingray Lagoon and feed stingrays.
The Georgia Aquarium has both a dive and a swim program for visitors who want to swim with whale sharks. Divers must be certified. During the swim program you'll stay on the surface.
Kids ages 8-13 dive with staffers in the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Great Tide Pool. The kids wear a mask, drysuit, regulator and specialized SCUBA gear.
Go deep-water swimming with dolphins in Dolphin Cay at Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas. You'll snorkel and glide alongside these marvelous creatures.