Last month we visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Since this aquarium is right on the ocean, it gives you a unique experience that you don’t get at most aquariums.
The center piece of the aquarium is the Kelp Forest exhibit, where they were the first in the world to grow live California Giant Kelp. Bay water is used for all tanks, a surge machine provides the constant water motion the kelp requires, and the top of the tank is open to maximize its exposure to sunlight.
This was especially cool to see after our kayak tour of Monterey Bay with Adventures by the Sea.
You can go out onto their deck in hopes to catch some of the wildlife in their natural habitat, like sea otters and even whales at certain times of the year. We spotted otters in the distance!
Their largest tank was introduced in 1996 and has housed some very special animals. Similar to the Georgia Aquarium in Altanta, it has a large single-paned window which really helps you feel like you’re in the water with all the different creatures. Although they no longer have any more on exhibit, the Monterey Bay Aquarium successfully kept the first great white shark on exhibit. Since then, they’ve housed a few more but due to the nature of the great whites, they’ve had to release them back into the wild.
In addition to their two largest exhibits, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is home to Black-Footed Penguins, Sea Otters, various birds, our favorite to photograph – jellyfish, and so much more!
The giant Pacific Octopus are interesting creatures. This is the first time we’ve seen an octopus out in the open. You can see below that it starts to change colors when it attaches to the rocks to blend in. The one at the aquarium is about 6 ft across from tentacle to tentacle, but many full grown species grow up to 50 pounds. The record for the largest one was 30 ft across, weighing 600 pounds.
On our visit they had a special jellies experience exhibit. Since I already spend most my time at aquariums photographing jellyfish, I’m posting all my jelly photos in Part 2 of the Monterey Bay Aquarium!
I’m so excited that See Monterey is giving away these tickets so you can experience more of what Monterey has to offer. The package includes:
- 4 tickets to the Monterey Bay Aquarium
- 4 tickets to the MY Museum
Fun Facts and Tips for Visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium:
- We spent 2 hours there, but if you want to go at a relaxed pace, we recommend at least 3 hours.
- They house over 600 species of plants and animals
- They were the first in world to grow live California Giant Kelp
- It is one of the few aquariums to hold the ocean sunfish in captivity
- Depending on how long you stay, there is a lot of metered street parking in the area that is a lot cheaper than parking in the deck. We parked on Wave Street near Irving Ave.
- Want to learn more about the area? Download the free visitor’s guide here (bottom of page).
What’s your favorite part of the aquarium?