By Katie Rosenbrock
TheActiveTimes.com

Equal parts terrifying and exhilarating, sharks have long been some of the most intriguing creatures to cruise the deep, blue sea -- so much so that on TV, we've dedicated an entire week to every frightening and fascinating aspect of this fish for 28 years.

Of course, even more exciting than seeing these sharp-toothed ocean predators on the tube, is the chance to witness their captivating beauty up-close, in real life.

Some divers (typically those who are more experienced) are brave enough to literally "swim with the sharks," meaning they do so freely without the protection of a cage.

However, if you're curious but not quite ready to get that friendly with these large sea creatures, a cage dive will likely better suit your appetite for a shark-viewing adventure.

From South Africa to Las Vegas (yes, you can see sharks in the middle of the desert), the following destinations are some of the world’s most spectacular places for a face-to-face, but cage-protected view of these truly fascinating fish.

Where To See Sharks -- From Behind A Cage

Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas
 

Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

No one would expect to see a shark in the middle of a desert, yet the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas is home to a 1.3 million gallon Shark Reef Aquarium, offering visitors an up-close view of several different shark species, including sandtiger, sandbar and white tip reef sharks as well as many other varieties of underwater wildlife.

Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas
 

Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

And for certified SCUBA divers who want a truly magnified view, the aquarium offers a cage-free dive with sharks program as well.

Galapagos Islands
 

Galapagos Islands

With an extremely unique and diverse wildlife population, a dive into the waters of the Galapagos offers the chance to encounter several species of sharks, including hammerhead, Galapagos, dusky and whale sharks.

Galapagos Islands
 

Galapagos Islands

Plus, while you’re exploring beneath the sea, you may even have the opportunity to see other creatures like sea lions and large schools of tuna. Suggested Outfitter: Shark Diver

Tiger Beach, Bahamas
 

Tiger Beach, Bahamas

Aptly named, Tiger Beach off of Grand Bahama is one of the world's top spots for viewing, you guessed it, tiger sharks.

Tiger Beach, Bahamas
 

Tiger Beach, Bahamas

Most diving expeditions here guarantee an up-close sighting of these toothy creatures, which can grow up to about 16 feet in length. Suggested Outfitter: Cage Diver

Cocos Island, Costa Rica
 

Cocos Island, Costa Rica

According to Gear Patrol reporter Jason Heaton, Costa Rica's Cocos Island is the best place in the world to see hammerhead sharks.

Cocos Island, Costa Rica
 

Cocos Island, Costa Rica

During the summer months, it's not uncommon to come across large schools of these funny-faced fish and the area is also home to other species like white tip, Galapagos and whale sharks. Suggested Outfitter: Shark Diving International

Farallon Islands, California
 

Farallon Islands, California

Along with other marine wildlife, some of the world's largest great white sharks visit South East Farallon Island in the fall to feed on elephant seals before making a lengthy trans-pacific migration.

Farallon Islands, California
 

Farallon Islands, California

Divers here are almost always guaranteed a thrilling and theatrical encounter. Organizers at Shark Diving International say breach attacks often occur right in front of cages. Suggested Outfitter: Shark Diving International

Point Judith, Rhode Island
 

Point Judith, Rhode Island

Another popular spot for shark viewing in the Atlantic, Point Judith offers adventurous divers the opportunity to come face to face with both blue and mako sharks. Blue sharks are the most common, though, and according to organizers at Snappa Charters, they're also considered one of the most cooperative species when it comes to snapping photos.

Point Judith, Rhode Island
 

Point Judith, Rhode Island

Additionally, excursions in June and early July offer the chance to catch a glimpse of the lesser known and essentially un-harmful basking shark (pictured here). Suggested Outfitter: Snappa Charters

Osprey Reef, Australia
 

Osprey Reef, Australia

For experienced divers ready for an upgrade to a cage-free adventure, travel writer Charli Moore recommends a seven-day live-aboard dive exploring the islands of the Coral Sea, outer Great Barrier Reef and Osprey Reef, located about 217 miles off the coast of Cairns in Queensland.

Osprey Reef, Australia
 

Osprey Reef, Australia

"Famed for a shark feed dive -- no cage and a reef amphitheater looking out over a 1,000-meter drop off -- the bait brings in anywhere from 30 to 70 sharks,” Moore said. Suggested Outfitter: Mike Ball Dive Expeditions

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For the complete list of the Best Places To See Sharks ... From Behind A Cage, go to TheActiveTimes.com.

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-- The Most Dangerous SCUBA Dives in the World

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