Shark tank in Birmingham—find out how you can see it!


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Have you touched the underwater creatures in McWane’s Shark + Ray Touch Tank? Photo via McWane Science Center

When you’re looking for something to do that will entertain and engage, McWane Science Center never disappoints. From the reopening of their Shark and Ray Touch Tank to LEGO fun, here are five ways McWane is wowing guests this May. Purchase your tickets in advance here.

Know before you go—find McWane’s full list of safety protocols here.

1. The Shark + Ray Touch Tank reopens Wednesday, May 5

McWane Science Center
Discover animals up close at McWane’s Shark + Ray Touch Tank. Photo via McWane Science Center

If you want to see your kiddo’s face light up, a visit to McWane’s Shark + Ray Touch Tank will do it. 

After being closed for over a year due to the pandemic, this popular interactive exhibit reopens with a splash on Wednesday, May 5. 

Located on the lower level of McWane, the Shark and Ray Touch Tank is a 7,000-gallon saltwater tank where visitors of all ages can not only watch underwater creatures, but touch them as they swim about. 

The tank is home to many fascinating animals including Bamboo Sharks, Epaulet Sharks, Cownose Rays and Southern Ryans. Don’t let the word “shark” scare you. Those found in McWane’s touch tank are small and can’t hurt you. 

Shark + Ray Touch Tank Safety guidelines: A limited number of visitors will be allowed at the touch tank per session. Hand sanitation will also be required before and after visiting the tank.

Access to the Shark + Ray Touch Tank is included in general admission. Tickets available here.

2. Fun with LEGOs stacks up and up

Prepare to smile LEGO fans, you’re going to love this. Back in January, we helped spread the word that Brickology, one of McWane’s most popular LEGO exhibits, was back. Well, we have some pretty happy news. If you weren’t able to check out all the LEGO action when it first opened, you’ll be happy to know the exhibit is still going on. 

Featuring 5,500 square feet of creative space that explores science, art and math concepts through construction block play, you can create, construct and invent to your hearts content.

Discover even more about Brickology.

Stayed tuned, because you can experience even more playtime fun on LEGO Day at McWane on Saturday, June 12. 

Brickology and LEGO Day are included in general admission. Buy your tickets now.

3. Summer camp is open for registration

LEGOs and ocean creatures aren’t all there is to discover at McWane. It’s also the ideal place to send your kids to summer camp.

For kids ages 4 to 14, McWane’s summer camp program offer hands-on, minds-on exploration into science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). From journeys into outer space to discovering dinosaurs and learning about the deepest oceans, your little McWaniac is sure to have a blast.

  • When: June 7-11 + August 9-13
  • Time: Pre-K-Kindergarten – 9AM-1:30PM | 1st-8th Grade – 9AM-4PM
  • *Beforecare is available from 7:45-9AM and aftercare from 4-5:30PM. Both are available to all campers at no additional cost.
  • Register here

Find McWane’s full list of safety protocols here.

4. Science on Screen continues with Jurassic World—Fallen Kingdom + more in IMAX with Laser

McWane Science Center, IMAX
Have you been to the IMAX Dome Theater at McWane Science Center? Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

Dinosaurs may be extinct, but their legend lives on at McWane during their ongoing series Science on Screen. The project pairs screenings of films with riveting presentations by notable experts in science, education, technology and engineering. 

On Wednesday, May 5, watch the exhilarating film Jurassic World—Fallen Kingdom on the big screen in the IMAX Dome Theater, then join McWane’s paleontologist Jun Ebersole explains the science behind the film. 

  • When: Wednesday, May 5
  • Time: Doors open at 6PM for show + presentation.
  • Price: $5
  • Tickets

That’s not all you can see at the IMAX Dome Theater

Now playing on the big screen: Ancient Caves and Antarctica.

  • Price: IMAX Only – Adults – $9, Kids $8, Seniors $8 | Combo Ticket (Adventure Halls + IMAX) – Adults $20, Kids $15, Seniors $18
  • Purchase IMAX tickets

5. A membership to McWane is your passport to science across the country

Birmingham, McWane Science Center, guitars, guitar exhibits
Play the world’s largest guitar at McWane Science Center. Photo by Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

Now that you’ve had a peek into some of the exciting exhibits and programs offered at McWane, imagine experiencing it all at a discount. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? All you have to do to make it happen is sign up for a McWane membership.

Not only will you score a deal on general admission and more to McWane, but this summer, your membership will also grant you discounted access to science centers and museums across the country. How, you ask?

McWane is a member of the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC), and as a member, the museum participates in the ASTC Passport Program. This unique program is designed to allow families who are members of their local science centers or museums the opportunity to receive free or reduced general admission to all other participating ASTC Passport Program participants while they are traveling.

So before you make those summer travel plans, be sure to sign up for a membership with McWane and reap the benefits.

Plan your visit

  • Where: McWane Science Center, 200 19th St N, Birmingham, AL 35203
  • When: Wednesday-Friday, 9AM-5PM | Saturday, 10AM-5PM | Sunday, Noon-5PM
  • Price: Adventure Halls Only – Adults (13-64) $15, Kids (2-12) $12, Seniors (65+) $14 | IMAX Only – Adults – $9, Kids $8, Seniors $8 | Combo Ticket (Adventure Halls + IMAX) – Adults $20, Kids $15, Seniors $18
  • Tickets available here

Stay in the know about all the cool happenings at McWane Science Center. Visit their website and follow them on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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