Birch Aquarium is letting visitors get up close with some of the planet's coolest predators.
It seems the fear of sharks never goes away, even when statistics are stacked in your favor. Despite the recent surge of shark documentaries and educational events like Shark Week at Birch Aquarium, many are unaware that this predator is in trouble.
"We kill millions of sharks every year for shark fin soup - that is a serious problem. Sharks are threatened in many parts of the world," Birch Aquarium Executive Director Nigella Hillgarth said.
To the generation that has never seen the movie "Jaws," perhaps they are seeing sharks simply as big fish.
"About once in 50 years we have a major attack off our coast and there are millions of people who swim in the water most of our local sharks are completely harmless. The leopard sharks are in La Jolla Cove. Many of them grow to 4 feet long and they are harmless. You would have to thrust your arm down one of these sharks to get bitten," Hillgarth said.