Snuffy the Seal, sea otters and Shark Reef

Discovery Channel Shark Week and Snuffy the Seal

This week is Shark Week on Discovery Channel. ‘Snuffy the Seal’ commercial for Shark Week caught Kelley’s attention. Kelley is an animal lover and still she enjoyed the commercial. Apparently there has been some backlash to poor Snuffy getting munched by a great white shark on live commercial TV.

Shark attacks were on the rise in sea otter deaths as reported in last year’s California sea otter census. The 2012 numbers from the U.S. Geological Survey gave a population index of 2,792 sea otters. This is up from 2,711 in 2010.

Sea otter strandings are sick, injured and dead sea otters found along the coast each year. There was an increased observance of shark bites in 335 ‘stranded’ sea otters in 2011. It is estimated that fewer than 50% of dead sea otters end up on the beach to be found by humans.

Recovery Slows for California’s Sea Otters, 2012 Survey Shows – August 21, 2012.

I mention the sea otter population in California suffering increased shark bites as a reminder that life in the ocean is a real cycle of life and death. Last night I heard the sea lions barking in Monterey Bay. I live near the ocean in Central Coast California. There have been a few surfer injuries and fatalities from great white shark attacks in these waters the past few years.

I heard a photographer for shark week videos say the Snuffy the Seal commercial was based on a real-life event in California, but I have been unable to locate the historical occurrence.

Marine Mammal Research Center, Sausalito, California is a real-life organization since 1975 doing rescue work for marine mammals like seals, sea lions and whales. They rescue animals that can be saved in the way portrayed in the Discovery Channel Shark Week commercial of a Snuffy the Seal, without the shark attacks.

Shark Reef Mandalay Bay

So without further ado, I bring you the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay where Kelley and I toured for free a couple weeks back courtesy of my M life Noir Card. I don’t know if M life Platinum gets the same benefit. I would not have known the Shark Reef was free if not for my M life secret angel giving me a clue about the unpublished benefits of M life black card holders.

Shark Reef Admission fees July 2013

  • Adults = $18
  • Seniors (age 60+ years) = $16
  • Children (5-12) = $12
  • Children (4 and under) = free


Las Vegas street kids after midnight (a rant on the side before my feature shark article in this post).

The first thing I have to say is that the children ‘4 and under’ can be a drag on the Shark Reef experience. Little kids are so loud.

The same day I went to Shark Reef, late at night after the Hyatt Gold Passport/M life launch event, Kelley and I walked Las Vegas Strip when it was over 100F on the hot street at midnight.

I was wondering how I can ever work this into a blog post and I think I just found the opening. Here is my Las Vegas after party story.

Kelley and I had a big buzz from the MGM Grand Mansion party and we worked out the energy by walking outside on the Las Vegas Strip. I love to be with my camera. My camera was in a thin cloth shoulder strap bag that I carried in my hand and switched from one arm to another depending on the circumstances in the street.

At stop lights there were forty to fifty people crossing the street at each light walking north on Las Vegas Blvd after midnight. There were enough people on the blacktop passing by each other in a crosswalk filled with bodies and cars waiting to make right and left turns on the streets that a kid’s hand held tightly in his or her parent’s hand was getting yanked and pushed and shoved in directions at the last second to avoid collisions by the parents, yet these adults did not realize they were pushing their child into my clear pathway at the last split second. My camera in the cloth bag wacked several little children on the side of the head as we crossed streets along Las Vegas Boulevard after midnight on a summer Friday.

A couple of times I felt the collision of my camera hitting another hard object and looked back to see some poor child rubbing his head after getting beaned by my Nikon. These were unavoidable collisions in the hustle and bustle of the Las Vegas Strip that would not be a concern for adults being bumped in the thigh by a hard camera.

Mommy-thigh-level is a five year old child’s head space. Why were these kids outside walking the hot Las Vegas Strip after midnight?

The thought continually played in our adult heads while spending three days in Las Vegas that there were so many mommies who needed to have already put those kids to bed.

Shark Reef Aquarium, Mandalay Bay Resort Las Vegas


Shark Reef was larger than I expected.

Here are some shark facts and photos.


Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program.

Shark Reef has significant educational appeal.


Shark Reef, Mandalay Bay Resort, Las Vegas – “90% of all large predatory fish have been removed from our oceans. If current trends continue, the entire edible seafood supply will be depleted within 40 years.”


The initial section of Shark Reef has Golden Crocodiles, a Burmese python and a recently acquired komodo dragon from ten dragons born in 2010 at the Prague Zoo, Czech Republic.

Jellies are in the same room as the Touch Pool. The reflection off the glass kept me from taking any good jelly photos.


Lion Fish.

Shipwreck Tank = 1.3 million gallons of water


The finale to the Shark Reef exhibit is the massive shipwreck tank with many portals to view the shipwreck and several shark species.


Electronic displays within Shark Reef allow visitors to read additional information about the different reptile and fish species in the aquarium.


Shark Reef is an expensive outing for a family in Las Vegas. This is an entertaining activity with plenty of educational value if your luck in Las Vegas makes the admission fee affordable for an hour or so of entertainment and learning.


Education Makes It Happen!

Our mission is to develop a sense of wonderment and responsibility for the Earth’s marine and terrestrial environments through exceptional interpretation, programming and activities.” – sign at exit to Shark Reef Aquarium.

As a credentialed K-12 elementary school teacher in California, I think Shark Reef makes the grade for an aquarium learning experience.


Blogger Disclosure: My admission to Shark Reef was free as a benefit of MGM Resort M life Noir status I received courtesy of the Hyatt Gold Passport and MGM Resorts M life partnership effective June 20, 2013.

Ric Garrido, writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed or subscribe to a daily email newsletter on the upper left side of this page.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »


  1. Well, the ‘Mommy’ we know definitely would not keep her little C out this late!

    (Instead, get a suite and bring along the parents to watch the kiddo so Mom and Dad can hit the strip!)

Comments are closed.