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Travel Tips

Shark Teeth in Venice Florida the shark tooth fossil capitol of the world

Have you always wanted to get a good look in the mouth of a shark but were afraid what you would find? Venice is your opportunity to get close to the shark’s mouth without having to actually face your fears of the shark itself. Venice has made a name on the map as more than just a beautiful place to swim in the ocean or relax on the beach, but also a great place to trawl for fossils of sharks’ teeth both on the shore and in the water.
Shark’s teeth are prominent in this area simply because Florida is believed to have been underneath water at a previous time in history. When shark’s die they float to the ocean’s bottom and eventually disintegrate leaving their teeth to fossilize. So as the landscape changed over time and Florida emerged from the ocean as a peninsula, many ancient sharks’ teeth were already buried in the sand. As well, sharks of all species are known to shed their teeth and grow new ones, producing an abundance of teeth in areas that are known to have high shark populations. Have no fear, though. The pursuit of shark fishing has drastically reduced the shark population in the area, so only the teeth are left as the memory that they once ruled the Gulf of Mexico waters near Venice.

It is also well known to the locals that there is an ancient shark burial ground a few miles off the coast of Venice. This makes for a great site to go snorkeling and diving for ancient shark’s teeth fossils! Charter boats like the Giant Stride offer snorkeling and scuba diving charters starting from $55 for one person. While you may find teeth up to 3 inches long on the beach, you are inclined to find even larger shark’s teeth by scuba diving or snorkeling beneath the water’s surface. If you don’t have the time for a scuba diving adventure for teeth during your visit to Venice, at least head to the South of Harbor Drive and enjoy the unspoiled beauty of Casperson Beach while you search for shark tooth fossils.

Venice has even made an event out of collecting sharks’ teeth! Venice hosts the Shark Tooth Festival, held in April in 2005, where shark tooth vendors can come out and show off their fossils and teeth and local residents and visitors can cruise by the beach festival and check things out. There are not just fossil vendors but lots of other arts, crafts, food and games for the entire family and even a shark tooth hunt. If you are lucky enough to arrive in Venice around the beginning of April, this is a highly anticipated yearly event that you won’t soon forget.

The Shark Tooth Festival is located near the Venice Fishing Pier. Bring the Venice Avenue or North Bridge over to Venice. Stay on Venice Avenue and you will find your way to Harbor Drive, which will take you all the way down to the Venice Fishing Pier and Sharky’s on the Pier. Won’t be in town during April? There are still plenty of opportunities to take part in finding your own fossils. Another popular shark tooth trawling area is located right next to the Venice Fishing Pier, at either South Brohard Park or at Venice Public Beach. Not interested in scouring the beach for your own souvenirs? Hit up one of the local gift shops on Venice, Tampa, or Miami Avenue right in the heart of Venice Mainstreet to take home your own shark teeth.


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