NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The New York Aquarium’s new shark exhibit officially opened to the public Saturday in Coney Island.

As CBS2’s Marc Liverman reported, it’s about as close as you can get to a shark without getting your feet wet.

“I liked when that stingray was gliding in the water,” one little boy said.

Eighteen different types of sharks and rays are spread out across nine galleries. The exhibit lets visitors walk through and crawl around the display filled with nearly one million gallons of water.

“It makes you feel a little bit better, knowing this is what I’ll be doing in life, if I continue my career path,” said Brad Peske, of Long Island.

More: New York Aquarium To Debut New Sharks Exhibit

Everyone seemed to have a favorite.

“Because he was all white and had these little teeth coming out like fangs,” one boy said.

Visitors come incredibly close to more than 115 marine species.

There’s a coral tunnel that’s about 40 feet long and has at least three different types of sharks inside. You’re separated by about six inches of acrylic.

“The tunnel part, it was like the glass was barely visible, so all you could see was the water. That was cool,” said Nyhiem Royal, of Harlem.

Visitors can also take a trip beneath the water’s surface to a shipwreck – a chance to discover species for the first time, many of them native to our area.

“I think sharks are really important, and a lot of people are really scared of them, and I think this gives them a chance to sort of get used to them,” Kayla Moody, of Brooklyn, said.

It’s also a reminder these animals need your help – the importance of conservation and not over-fishing.

“We’re losing 100 million sharks a year. We want to stop that,” said Jon Forest Dohlin, director of the aquarium.

There are nearly 60,000 square feet of exhibits, with new discoveries at every twist and turn — wonders we often never see finally brought up above.

The largest shark at the exhibit is the sand tiger shark, stretching 10 feet long and weighing about 200 pounds.