Dive into the marine habitats of Monterey Bay at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is known for its regional focus on the marine habitats of Monterey Bay. The aquarium is one for firsts as they were the first to exhibit a living kelp forest, their biologists have pioneered the animal husbandry of jellyfish, and they were the first to successfully care for a great white shark from 2004 through 2011. They are also known for their research and organization efforts with a focus on otters, tunas, sea birds, and sustainable seafood. The Monterey Bay Aquarium helped create momentum for the establishment of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, which is one of the largest marine protected areas in the United States. The aquarium was built at the site of an old sardine cannery, and it has turned into a great architectural achievement. They have won numerous awards for their exhibitions of marine life, conservation efforts, and educational programs.
The main attractions of the aquarium feature a kelp forest exhibit, an open sea wing, and numerous other displays. The kelp forest exhibit is nearly three stories high, growing giant kelp at an impressive average of four inches a day. The exhibit contains indigenous species of fish from Monterey Bay including rockfish and leopard sharks. The open sea wing is the aquarium’s largest tank with 1.2 million gallons of water holding sea turtles, a large school of sardines, stingrays, hammerhead sharks, tunas, mahi-mahi, and barracudas among many others. Other displays include tanks with jellyfish, puffins, rescued sea otters, a coral reef community, and a shorebird aviary. The aquarium is open from 10 AM - 5 PM and 3:30 PM is the last entry time. Tickets are $35 for ages 5-12, $40 for ages 13-17, $50 for ages 18-64, and $40 for ages 65+.