The H-E-B Caribbean Sea exhibit combines a thrilling look at the ocean’s most infamous predators with the experience of diving a real-life Caribbean shipwreck, all without having to actually get wet.
An overlook in the jungle level gives guests their first look at the reef sharks swimming below the surface, a sight that’s terrified and mystified ocean explorers for generations.
Gather your courage and dive below the waves to get a closer look, but keep your eyes open and your wits about you, for you’re now in the home territory of the reef shark. A 68 foot-long acrylic window- the longest in North America – provides a clear view of a massive Spanish galleon shipwreck, a remnant of the Caribbean’s history as a trade route. Now, reef sharks and other aquatic species make their home among the ship’s twisted wreckage. The ship’s broken stern frames the entrance to an acrylic tunnel crossing through the exhibit. Enter, if you dare, for a heart-pounding view of reef sharks from just inches away. Look in every direction to find barracudas lurking in the shadows, silver crevalle jacks darting by, and a variety of other creatures hiding among the sunken remains.
Animals in this exhibit
Also known as the brown shark, this shark gets its name from its preferred hunting ground of sandy shallow coastal waters.
This blue-silvery fish is armed with powerful jaws and fang-like teeth, using surprise attacks to overrun its prey.
Highly adaptable, these fish can manipulate their pigmentation to reflect or dim light and camouflage themselves depending on their environment.
This stingray is common to the Atlantic ocean. Its flat body allows it to conceal itself on the seabed, and a serrated barb containing a mild toxin in its tail can be used for defense.
Commonly called a pufferfish, this species can inflate its body by swallowing air or water, deterring predators from trying to eat it. Its sharp spines offer another line of defense.
This large angelfish, also known as the black angelfish, is commonly found in shallow warms water of the Caribbean, especially in coral reefs. It feed mainly on sponges.
Spotted Eagle Ray
The spotted eagle ray is one of the largest eagle rays. They have been known to leap out of water when being pursued by predators.
Spotted Garden Eel
These small eels received their name because of how they "plant" themselves in the seabed, leaving only their top halves visible.