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It's almost Shark Week! 5 cool places to see 'em up close

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Yes, Rob Lowe, we know it's Shark Week. 5 places to see them up close

If you haven't seen it yet, actor Rob Lowe plays a shark-riding, chum-flinging action figure in a hilarious ad for Discovery Channel's annual Shark Week TV blitz that starts Aug. 10. "So sharky," Lowe breathlessly intones as hammerheads and great whites reel overhead.

The ad is cheesy but maybe you want in on some of that jaw-dropping action? Here are five great places where you can have your own crazy shark moments -- and don't leave home without your Go-Pro.

--Watch sharks get fed and then gaze at their guts at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro. Species such as leopard and horn sharks eat lunch at 1:45 p.m. Aug. 9. An hour later, you can watch a shark dissection and check out specimens in the museum's collection.

Info: Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, 3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro; (310) 548-7562.

--Whale sharks, the biggest fish species on the planet, head into the bay of La Paz on Mexico's Baja Peninsula every October through February. You can book a trip to go snorkeling with scientists who are collecting data on the big guys and witness the sharks and their habitat firsthand. It's part of a longer trip called the La Paz Espiritu Santo Kayak Sojourn that costs $1,195 to $1,395 per person.

Info: Row Sea Kayak Adventures, (800) 616-1943.

--"Shark-tastic" is how one visitor describes a tour by Hawaii Shark Encounters in the waters off Haleiwa on Oahu. Folks are lowered into a floating cage close to the water surface to watch Galápagos and sandbar sharks whiz by. This is a snorkel and mask activity, no scuba skills necessary. You might also see whales and dolphins too. Cost is $75 for kids younger than 12, $105 for adults.

Info: Hawaii Shark Encounters, (808) 351-9373

--Shark sleepover at Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco invites you to bed down with leopard, dogfish and sevengill sharks on Aug. 9. OK, you're in a sleeping bag, and they're inside the watery tunnels of this small aquarium, but it's still a cool way to spend 12 hours with lots of fish. And where else can you find a place to stay on Fisherman's Wharf for $75 per person?

Info: Aquarium of the Bay, Embarcadero and Beach Street; (415) 623-5376

--Great white sharks scare people witless, and an IMAX 3-D movie may add to the hysteria -- or not. "Great White Shark" at the San Diego Natural History Museum through the end of the year was filmed in New Zealand, Mexico and South Africa, in an area sometimes called the great white capital of the world. Lots of closeups too of "the creature we love to fear," as the movie's website says.

Info: San Diego Natural History Museum, 1788 El Prado; (619) 232-3821

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