Monterey Bay Aquarium
Monterey Bay Aquarium a Must see while in the Monterey Bay Area
During our recent visit to the Carmel/Monterey Bay area we planned a visit the aquarium since we had heard so many great things about it. It opened in 1984 and is quite an impressive building. If you are planning a trip up the coast it's one attraction not to miss.
Perched on the edge of Monterey Bay, the view decks offer up amazing views and opportunities to spot all sorts of marine wildlife. Keep your eyes open for sea otters as well as humpback whales. More than 30 species of marine mammals live in or pass through the bay and the harbor seals and sea otters are year round residents of Monterey Bay. Both can readily be seen from the aquarium decks.
All kinds of seabirds can be found locally, 94 to be exact, including the California brown pelican and the western gull.
Sandy Shore & Aviary Area
Enter the world of mud flats and marshes and see first hand how rich with life it is. Watch as long-legged birds scour the sands and flounders lie flat to keep from being seen in this indoor exhibit. See them as they are in nature within this beautiful enclosure. There is a beach area that has gentle waves that come upon the shore within the exhibit. Very tranquil area of the aquarium, so nice to bird watch from so close.
You can also get up close and personal with the bat rays or "Eagle Rays" as they are also called due to their flapping wing movements. The touch pool allows you to feel them as they skim along the bottom of their pool.
The Kelp Forest is 28 feet tall and is one of the tallest aquarium exhibits in the world. You'll get a diver's-eye view of shimmering sardines, leopard sharks and a host of other fishes as they glide around this massive installation. This exhibit is viewable from the bottom as well as upper deck, and check for feeding times as they vary daily. Tip: Download the App for the Aquarium to get alerts for all the live feedings and shows so you won't miss a thing while you are there.
New Exhibit to Open March 19th ‘¡Viva Baja! Life on the Edge’ Special Exhibition Explores Colorful Life Along Gulf of California
Consisting of five galleries, guests will be exposed to Baja’s arid deserts, lush coastal mangrove forests and colorful coral reefs. Get up close with fascinating marine creatures such as the Cortez round ray, Panamic green moray, Pacific seahorse and staghorn hermit crab.
¡Viva Baja! will also feature iconic desert animals native to baja, a first for the aquarium. See a desert tortoise, desert iguana, mountain kingsnake, hairy scorpion and Western desert tarantula all within the exhibit. learn about this habitat, local fishing practices and the conservation efforts happening with help both sides of the border.
Another amazing exhibit happening now at the aquarium is Tentacles. Featuring Octopuses, Squid and Cuttlefishes. Get a peek at these undersea marvels, masters of disguise and quick-change artists. This special exhibition is the largest, most diverse living exhibit ever created to house these amazing animals. They will leave you mesmerized!
This aquarium is very kid friendly and hands on. Not just within the sea life touching exhibits but throughout the aquarium. There are mini play areas that are geared for play and learning with lots of hands on sensory play that also offer up a great place to take a break.
Current and soon to open Exhibits:
- ¡Viva Baja! (Opens March 19)
- Giant Pacific Octopus
- Kelp Forest
- Life on the Bay
- Mission to the Deep
- Monterey Bay Habitats
- Open Sea
- Rocky Shore
- Sandy Shore & Aviary
- Sea Otters
- Splash Zone & Penguins
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is located at:
886 Cannery Row
Monterey, CA 93940 (831) 648-4800
Hours vary, see site for details
General Public: 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Members: 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Cafe: 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. (Hours may vary)
Cindy's Waterfront: 11 a.m.–3 p.m. (Hours may vary)
There is no parking at the aquarium so use one of the off site parking lots just north of the aquarium.
Plan on several hours to enjoy all the beautiful installations, hands on areas as well as demonstrations that happen through out the day.
Note: There is no flash photography allowed inside the aquarium.
Your ticket is good for all day entry in case you need to leave and return.
The observation decks has binoculars for some interesting ocean life viewing.
A Special thanks to the aquarium for having us, we attended as media and found it to be such a beautiful place with so many amazing exhibits.