One of the popular shark dive experiences at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is no longer available for visitors who want to get face to face with 17 sharks.
Last month, the zoo decided to no longer offer the Beyond the Cage shark dives, which allowed people to swim outside a cage and kneel on the bottom of a 225,000-gallon saltwater tank in the South Pacific Aquarium.
They refunded money to 66 people who had already signed up for the adventure, or offered to apply their money to one of the other two types of shark dives.
Officials suspended the Beyond the Cage shark dive in June after keepers noticed three sandbar sharks were showing different swimming patterns.
Aquarium workers spent six months studying the sharks and eventually determined nothing appeared to be wrong. But they didn’t resume the dives.
One of the reasons Point Defiance Zoo is opting out of the Beyond the Cage dive is because staff members are busy preparing to open a new aquarium.
“Aquarium staff load is increasing a great deal because we’re opening a new aquarium,” zoo spokeswoman Kris Sherman said. “Running three dive programs is pretty labor-intensive.”
Visitors can still sign up for a cage dive or a scuba dive and see blacktip reef sharks, nurse sharks, a sand tiger shark and a Japanese wobbegong.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653