Kern County will have what may seem like an unusual starring role in one of cable televisions most anticipated weeks of programming. The Discovery Channel's Shark Week kicks off with Sharkzilla Monday and features a giant piece of the area's prehistoric marine history.
It may be hard to believe, but millions of years ago, Bakersfield would have been considered beach front property on what would have been called the Tremblor Sea. One of its neighbors would have been the largest prehistoric shark that ever lived called the Megalodon.
The Buena Vista Museum in Bakersfield houses an extensive exhibit on the shark that helped attract the Discovery Channel to the area.
"It was really pretty cool to be part of that team and be able to see what's going on first hand and really behind the scenes sort of things," said Koral Hancharick, Executive Director of the Buena Vista Museum.
Discovery Channel crews spent two days filming at the museum and its exhibit on the massive Megalodon shark.
"We're excited we're going to be featured on Shark Week and this is not only national but international and that's just really something," Hancharick said.
The museum's exhibit on the prehistoric shark is far from coincidental.
About 15 miles north of Bakersfield lies Sharktooth Hill, an area that holds one of the largest collections of marine fossils in the world, including the remnants of the Megalodon.
"One of its kind of distant cousins is the Great White that everyone is familiar with from the movie Jaws and so forth. We always think of that as so big, about 25 feet long, but that guy was a guppy compared to this guy," said Repository Curator John Stegall.
Estimated to be more than 60 feet long, the Megalodon is nicknamed Sharkzilla by the Discovery Channel.
They're devoting an entire episode of Shark Week to the beast and for the museum, it's a once in a lifetime type of exposure.
"I'm just so excited about seeing the show. I've seen little clips of it and I'm really excited about seeing the whole show put together," Hancharick said.
The Sharkzilla episode of Shark Week will air Monday at 9 p.m. on the Discovery Channel.