The Monterey Bay Aquarium, on Monterey’s Historic Cannery Row, is rated #8 on Trip Advisor’s Top Ten list of all US attractions, #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.
The newest special exhibition “The Jellies Experience” has emerged as the aquarium’s most popular ever, bringing to life the mesmerizing world of jellies--graceful, dancing drifters that pulse and glow, flash colorful lights and often pack a powerful sting.
New this spring is a renovated sea otter exhibit offering a better experience for the exhibit animals and aquarium visitors alike. Also opening in spring is Cindy’s Waterfront, a stunning renovation of the aquarium’s ocean-view restaurant that will feature the 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 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.
All exhibits, activities and events other than Aquarium Adventures are included with admission. The aquarium is open daily. Information is available at www.montereybayaquarium.org or by calling (831) 648-4800. 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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