'Scuba Santa' Swims With Sharks

Lots of people have had their pictures taken with Santa Claus at the mall. But in Kentucky, folks line up in a very different place for those photos: the Newport Aquarium.

Visitors of all ages cavort with sharks and other sea creatures in the aquarium's shark tank.

Many of the visitors back up against the tank's glass and have their picture taken as Scuba Santa comes up front, making it seem almost as if they're in the tank with him.

Floating alongside Scuba Santa is his fearless elf, Snowflake, whose job is to stop Denver, a 400-pound sea turtle, from stealing Santa's hat.

Five times a day, the unique St. Nick takes the plunge into the shark tank after reassuring youngsters that the sharks are all very nice.

The aquarium has been featuring the "Scuba Santa" during the holiday season for the past three years.

At first, he hiked attendance during an otherwise slow period but he's now becoming a
tradition.

Scuba Santa maintains a professional relationship with the sharks by ensuring that his arms and legs have no open cuts, he avoids sudden moves, and keeps his hands close to his sides as he swims.

Most importantly, Scuba Santa is certain the sharks have received their regular meals of green peas and pink squid before he gets inside the tank with them.
  • Brian Dakss

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