Houston Museum of Natural Science to bring ‘fin-tastic’ new shark exhibit

Exhibition explores the diversity of the ocean’s cool Chondrichthyes 🦈

A new exhibition, “Sharks! The Meg, The Monsters, & The Myths,” opens to the public at HMNS on May 27. (Johnny Hemberger)

HOUSTON – A massive shark inflatable now adorns the outside of the Houston Museum of Natural Science ahead of a new exhibit that hopes to tell an alternate narrative about these powerful creatures.

The terror sharks inspire, according to the Houston Museum of Natural Science, stems largely from “myth merchants and movie makers” pandering to “audiences (that) love to be scared, and scared by sharks in particular.” “Jaws” notwithstanding, shark attacks are rare and often occur when a shark is provoked. According to the museum, a beachgoer’s chance of being bitten by shark is 1-in-264,000,000.

A new exhibition about these creatures seeks to calm the “plethora of phantom fears and phobias” and correct the narrative. Opening to the public on May 27, “Sharks! The Meg, The Monsters, & The Myths” will feature life-sized models, tanks, photo opportunities, interactives, astonishing footage, and sobering warnings about extinction.

The first sharks evolved more than 450 million years ago. “Sharks!” traces this lineage with fossils and life-sized reproductions, including a replica of a megalodon, an ancient shark that went extinct some 3.6 million years ago. Measuring about 50 feet long, this enormous predator is considered the largest shark, as well as the largest fish, that ever lived.

Elsewhere in the exhibition, a gallery on adaptions will explore the speed, anatomy, bioluminescence, and other biological characteristics of sharks. Guests will discover what makes a shark a shark and learn about the unique variations of each species. In another gallery, visitors will be tasked with debunking long held myths about sharks. Another experience will offer guests a close look at epaulette sharks, stingrays, and a host of aquatic invertebrates, such as sea urchins, while teaching them about the conservation efforts underway to help sharks overcome the ever-mounting obstacles impeding their survival.

“Sharks are remarkably diverse and efficient predators but are more threatened than threatening. In fact, over one-third of shark species are now facing the threat of extinction,” Nicole Temple, vice president of Education for HMNS and exhibit curator, said in a statement. “With this exhibition, we hope that our guests are able to explore the misconceptions, mysteries, and mystique of sharks to help pave the way for conservation efforts, as well as explore their unique adaptations and behaviors that continue to inspire scientific innovation around the world.”

“Sharks! The Meg, The Monsters & The Myths” opens to members on May 26. Admission to the exhibition requires a separate ticket. Visit HMNS.org for tickets and additional information.

About the Author:

Briana Zamora-Nipper joined the KPRC 2 digital team in 2019. When she’s not hard at work in the KPRC 2 newsroom, you can find Bri drinking away her hard earned wages at JuiceLand, running around Hermann Park, listening to crime podcasts or ransacking the magazine stand at Barnes & Noble.