The holidays are coming! That means that kids and parents across Contra Costa County will be out of school and off work for Thanksgiving break, Christmas vacation and New Years. If your looking for something fun and amazing to do consider a visit to the gem of Monterey, the Monterey Bay Aquarium!
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is set right on the Pacific Ocean coast and draws in over two million visitors per year. The Aquarium features over 35,000 plants and more than 600 species of wildlife, from penguins and otters to crabs, sardines and fluorescent jellyfish. See the sea otter in the video below.
According to Touropia, this nationally recognized aquarium comes in at number 6 of the Top 10 Largest aquariums in the world! The Monterey Bay Aquarium features an array of exhibits one of them being a 33ft high (1.3 million liter) tank, which holds a number or large aquatic animals including sharks.
Here’s the scoop if your thinking about going:
Plan at least half a day to see it. In general no matter what day you visit, after 12pm be prepared for lots of kid activity. If you want to have the whole aquarium basically to yourself then plan for a morning visit. Also the aquarium has no public parking but there are spaces all around Cannery Row and two large public parking structures a couple of blocks away.
For a wheelchair traveler the aquarium has all the modern ADA upgrades to make your visit comfortable. There are elevators and accessible restrooms all over the aquarium’s two floors and there’s even a telescope at a level for a wheelchair user on the second floor look-out patio. The Monterey Bay Aquarium does have handicapped parking for those with a disabled placard or license plate but very limited (around 6 spots). The hidden parking lot is located off Cannery Row at the stop sign right before reaching the aquarium.
The aquarium has four bookstores including the largest bookstore in Monterey. They stocked with an extensive assortment of books on marine life, the California coast, ecology and biodiversity. A self-service cafe is open form 11:00 – 5:00 pm and the newly renovated Cindy’s Waterfront restaurant is open from 11:00 – 3:00 pm. Food can be a little pricey for those on a budget but being located so close to Cannery Row there are many great local places to eat as well.
The Aquarium displays 14 species of sharks and rays. The Sharks are a popular exhibit that draws crowds all day long and can be found in a number of tanks. Many are smaller sharks but a couple of massive tanks showcase the power of larger ones, like the Hammerhead Shark in the “Outer Bay” exhibit that is a 4.5 million liter tank.
The Jellyfish Exhibit is electrifyingly beautiful! These graceful neon creatures are a must see for this aquarium visit and are in their own right a living piece of art that makes you feel weightless.
The volunteers are friendly and informative. They can assist you with questions and many are bilingual as seen on their name tags. They can help you experience the soft, prickly and jelly like touch pond full of living sea creatures just waiting to be touched.
There were many kid friendly areas placed throughout the aquarium. This includes multiple kids play and discover areas as while as child photo stations. There’s even various learning centers like the one in the video below.
Feeding demonstrations take place daily at the sea otter, kelp forest and penguin exhibits. The staff gives an informing, entertaining presentation about various animals. Check out this clip from the penguin feeding presentation.
Make sure that you spent a tranquil moment in the wave room to hear the roar of the tide coming in over head and before you leave check out the outside patiowith breath-taking views of Monterey Bay.
The Monterey Bay Aquariums Ticket Prices:
- Child Admission (3–12, under 3 free)
- Adult Admission (18–64 and not in college) $34.95
- Senior Admission (65+) $21.95
- Student Admission (13–17 or college ID) $31.95
Aquarium Tickets or One Year Membership passes will excellent stocking stuffers. With the one year membership passes the excitement and learning can continue all year long! For more information on membership passes, click here. Plus each pass includes discounts at the bookstores and gift shop. Military can receive discount tickets, click here for more information. All in all this is an awesome way to spend the day! It’s beautiful, educational and an amazing adventure for adults, kids and even couples alike.
Tell us what you think? Have you ever been to the Monterey Bay Aquarium? Would you go again or like to go? Do you have any tips or suggestions for visitors? Got an amazing photo or video of your experience to share? Send it to Diabloreporter@hush.com and we will post it. Planning a trip to Monterey? Check back for our upcoming article, Monterey: The Beautiful, Historic & Full of Life.