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Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey, CA
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Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey California

Description

When I returned to Monterey Bay Aquarium this year, I was afraid that it couldn't possibly live up to the glorious memory that I had of it. But it was even better than I remembered! It was exhilarating!
One thing you need to know: arrive as early as you can, because when it gets crowded it's very unpleasant. Because it's such a famous aquarium, it gets crowded around lunchtime, so arrive right when it opens at 10am (with tickets already purchased).
It's quite a maze in there and you could end up missing some parts, so I want to tell you the four areas you should absolutely NOT miss:
The Rocky Shore is a lot of fun. It's a tank where a huge wave cascades down over you. Luckily you are sheltered by curved glass. The indoor area of the Rocky Shore is the best part. Stand here and look directly up at the wave. It makes your stomach soar like you're on a rollercoaster ride. Your kids will say, "Please, one more wave, mom!" That's ok, because you won't want to leave either!!
The second exhibit you don't want to miss is the Sea Otter exhibit. Here you can see sea otters close up, as they blow bubbles into their fur to make themselves float, or pry open their food as they float on their backs. They are literally face-to-face with you!
The third is the downstairs Jellyfish exhibit. You won't believe there are such wonderful creatures in the world! We just couldn't get over the jellies that light up in rainbow neon colors that flicker in a row. The Upside-Down Jellies are so cute- they sit upside down, and look more like seaweed on the ocean floor than jellies. Then there's the teensy tiny baby jellies that push with all their might to move around! There's the Sea Nettle jelly with its masses of long, long stingers. There's the huge tank of moon jellies, and mirrors that make it look like it goes on and on.
The fourth, my very favorite, is the Outer Bay exhibit, at the end, where there is a massive tank filled with bubbles that rise magically to the top, and the background is deep and dark. Here, yellow-fin tuna that are so big and hefty you won't believe your eyes, swim by. There's a large turtle, and a great white shark. The Sunfish looks like he's from outer space. The exhibit itself with its lovely bubbles will fill you with serenity as you stand and watch. Here, your kids can sit by the glass and unwind, which will be necessary after they've been dragged though the crowds.
The Kelp Forest is a gorgeous exhibit. It is so beautiful inside that tank! There are yellow starfish, pretty orange fish, and tall tall towers of kelp.
The Touch Pools are lovely. The Octopus exhibit is good at feeding time when he comes out for you to see him better. The Penguin exhibit was a bit sad to me- the penguins seem cramped and depressed. The SplashZone exhibit is nice for kids. The Sharks Myth and Mystery exhibit has some very nice cultural exhibits where stories about sharks from other lands are told. We really liked the Mother Stingray one with its lights and thunderstorm effects.
From the aquarium you can walk to Lovers Point Park- this is an intensely beautiful walk, and you will see seals in a little cove on the way. You can eat and shop at famous Cannery Row. Cool to explore is downtown Monterey, with its little Spanish arcades. It leads to Fisherman's Wharf, a touristy, fun spot with water every shade of green and blue. Beside Fisherman's Wharf is Del Monte Beach, which has the softest sand.
For a colorful playground in Monterey you'll never forget, check out famous Dennis the Menace Park.

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Photo Gallery

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Buy your tickets ahead of time by phone or on the internet or you'll be in this line!
Buy your tickets ahead of time by phone or on the internet or you'll be in this line!
The polka-dotted baby sting rays!
The polka-dotted baby sting rays!
The Kelp Forest, and yellow starfish.
The Kelp Forest, and yellow starfish.
A slightly ticked-off-looking fish!
A slightly ticked-off-looking fish!
The huge, bubbly tank at the Outer Bay Exhibit- not to be missed!
The huge, bubbly tank at the Outer Bay Exhibit- not to be missed!
A playful otter!
A playful otter!
Sea horse tank- so beautiful!
Sea horse tank- so beautiful!
Sea horses float about in the tank.
Sea horses float about in the tank.
Incredible camouflaged sea horse that looks like leafy seaweed.
Incredible camouflaged sea horse that looks like leafy seaweed.
A girl and her mom delight at the sea horse exhibit.
A girl and her mom delight at the sea horse exhibit.
The jellyfish exhibit- I could hardly believe it!
The jellyfish exhibit- I could hardly believe it!
Jellyfish at Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Jellyfish at Monterey Bay Aquarium.
A shark glides by in the Kelp Forest tank.
A shark glides by in the Kelp Forest tank.
School of small silver fish and wonderful swaying kelp in the Kelp Forest tank.
School of small silver fish and wonderful swaying kelp in the Kelp Forest tank.
I love this guy!
I love this guy!
Sea birds with long beaks that tilt up at the end! They stand right beside you at the exhibit and kids love it.
Sea birds with long beaks that tilt up at the end! They stand right beside you at the exhibit and kids love it.
A girl explores the sounds that elephant seals make.
A girl explores the sounds that elephant seals make.
 

Directions

The aquarium is located at 886 Cannery Row, Monterey CA 93940, on the corner of David Avenue and Cannery Row. There are several places you can park, along Foam Street, two blocks back parallel to Cannery Row. A parking lot is on David Avenue between Wave and Foam Street. There is also a parking lot on Wave Street (one block back, parallel to Cannery Row), between Hoffman and Prescott.
You can purchase tickets for the aquarium online and pick them up at the Will Call window. This saves you an enormous amount of time because there is no line at the Will Call window.
Open from 10am to 6pm, and from 9:30am to 6pm on holidays and during the Summer.
Cost is $35 for adults, $32 for teens and seniors, and $22 for children. Children under 3 are free. This is WAY worth it!

This is an interactive map, you can zoom and move it.

Visitor Ratings

Overall Visitor Rating:


Mary
01/15/2017 12:05
Miss my Monterey!

Jan
08/10/2010 08:33
The sea otters are too adorable

Marissa
12/22/2009 13:38
amaaaaaazing!!!!

Emma
11/05/2009 21:38
i needed to more about the aquarium. thank u

Janet
10/14/2009 20:01
I have vacationed in Monterey for the past 8 yrs along with many world class destinations and I can honestly say Monterey tops them all. Loved the aquarium and will be returning!

Jim
09/09/2009 13:39
A world-class facility. Great place to glimpse fish and habitats, steelhead, white sharks, beautiful spot. When the weather is clean and sunny, you can't beat it.

Last Updated Fri, 01 Mar 2013 18:47:43 GMT