The Monterey Bay Aquarium, located on Monterey’s Historic Cannery Row, is rated by TripAdvisor as the #1 aquarium in the world, #3 on Zagat’s list of top-rated US family attractions and is the #1 kid-friendly aquarium according to Parents Magazine.
The wonders of California’s ocean life are the focus of the exhibits, galleries, shows and tours that explore the remarkable world hidden beneath the surface of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s cast of thousands features fierce predators like sharks, secretive ones like giant octopus, playful ones like sea otters and giant sea turtles, and even comical ones like tufted puffins and penguins. Major exhibits include the Open Sea, a one million gallon indoor ocean, and the Kelp Forest, a three-stories-tall living kelp forest community. Cannery Row’s centerpiece also remains the only place in the world to have exhibited great white sharks for long periods of time.
Other special exhibits include “Tentacles: The Astounding Lives of Octopuses, Squid and Cuttlefishes” and “The Jellies Experience”. The Tentacles exhibit is the largest, most diverse living exhibit ever created to showcase these amazing animals and has become one of the aquariums most popular exhibits. The Jellies exhibit brings to life the mesmerizing world of jellies--graceful, dancing drifters that pulse and glow, flash colorful lights and often pack a powerful sting.
Opening in 2014 is a newly renovated sea otter exhibit offering a better experience for the exhibit animals and aquarium visitors alike. Cindy’s Waterfront, the aquarium’s ocean-view restaurant, also went under a stunning renovation featuring local and sustainable cuisine of acclaimed Napa chef Cindy Pawlcyn.
While the animals and exhibits are center stage, other daily activities and programs add to the experience too. Feeding shows, auditorium programs, “Discovery Carts” with interpreters on hand and a host of other activities are all part of an Aquarium visit.
Guests looking to go even deeper can choose from an array of Aquarium Adventures. Behind-the-scenes tours, “morning rounds,” family sleepovers, summer SCUBA experiences for kids 8 to 13 years old (no experience required) and other Adventures can take your family behind, beyond and even inside the exhibits. Also during summer, “Evenings by the Bay” invites guests to stay until 8 PM on Friday and Saturday nights.
All exhibits, activities and events other than Aquarium Adventures are included with admission. The aquarium is open daily. If you’re staying overnight, many local hotels sell two-day tickets at one-day prices available only to their guests.
The mission of the non-profit Monterey Bay Aquarium is to inspire conservation of the oceans.
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