Shark Week 2017: Michael Phelps races a shark and other must-see specials
It's that time of year again. No, not back to school month or geek convention season -- it's Shark Week.
For almost 30 years, Discovery Channel has brought fascinating and educational stories about those sharp-toothed fish that make us afraid to go in the water. Television's longest-running event returns Sunday at 7 p.m. and continues through July 30.
This year, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps races against a freaking shark (because, why not?) and gets schooled at the Bimini Shark Lab in the Bahamas.
It's also the first year that Shark Week airs during the same week around the world in more than 220 countries.
There's also going to plenty of shark cage-diving, slow motion videos of leaping great whites and getting up close and personal with the most unique shark species in the world.
And, of course, it's not a great week to be a seal.
Tune in for these JAWS-dropping specials.
Great White Shark Serial Killer Lives: Every two years in October, a quiet beach on the California coast has been known for great white shark attacks. Is it the same shark returning? Did the attacks continue in October 2016? 7 p.m. Sunday
Phelps vs. Shark: Great Gold vs. Great White: Michael Phelps has 39 world records and 23 Olympic gold medals, but is he fast enough to beat one of the fastest and most efficient predators on the planet? 8 p.m. Sunday
Alien Sharks: Stranger Fins: A fan favorite, the special is back to explore some of the world's strangest sharks. Get up close and personal with saw sharks, goblin sharks, frilled sharks and bioluminescent lantern sharks. 10 p.m. Monday
The Lost Cage: A team of explorers get in a one-of-a-kind shark cage 500 miles into the Gulf of Mexico to act as human lures for sharks. Sounds fun! 9 p.m. Wednesday
Shark School with Michael Phelps: After his race, Phelps joins Doc Gruber and Tristan Guttridge to get a crash course on all things shark. They dispel myths about the toothy creatures and teach Phelps how to safely dive with sharks. He may or may not come face to face with hammerheads and great whites. 8 p.m. July 30
Find a full list of Shark Week programs at discovery.com.
Celebrate local sharks
On Sunday, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium is celebrating Shark Week by encouraging locals to come learn about their resident nurse sharks, Thelma and Louise. A special $25 Shark Adoption gets you a tote bag, plush shark and a short bio on the nurse sharks. The aquarium is also holding a social media content on Facebook. The picture of a kid in a shark costume with the most likes on CMA's page will win a prize package.
Also starting this weekend, Dolphin Tale stars Nathan Gamble, Cozi Zuehlsdorff and Austin Highsmith will make appearances at the aquarium starting Saturday through July 29. For Shark Week, Zuehlsdorff and Highsmith will feed the sharks at 2 p.m. July 28.
Admission $21.95, $19.95 ages 60-older, $16.95 ages 3-12, 2 and younger are free. 249 Windward Passage, Clearwater.
Contact Chelsea Tatham at [email protected] @chelseatatham.